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What's Your Story?: Victoria College helped mother be example

By BY ALMA MEDRANO
May 26, 2014 at 12:26 a.m.

Alma Medrano

The Victoria Advocate will be publishing student essays from the Victoria College "What's Your Story?" scholarship competition during the next few weeks. Students were asked to write an essay answering the question, "How has Victoria College changed your life?" The following essay was written by one of the winners of the contest, who will receive a $1,000 scholarship funded by the Victoria College Foundation. We welcome letters and columns from all students.

Victoria College brings more purpose to my life, but it has been a long road. Twenty-four years ago, I dropped out of school because I was only 16 years old, and school did not seem important at that point in my life. I loved school, but I thought I had a responsibility as a mom first, and school just had to wait. A year after my daughter was born, I met the most amazing man and started a family with him. We have five children altogether, and he has been my strongest supporter throughout all these years.

I had decided that school was no longer feasible; my job was to support our family. It was not until a conversation with my oldest daughter, Crystal, in February 2000 that I had to think about coming back to school and set a good example for my children. Her exact words pierced my heart when she said: "Mom, I do not want to go to school. I hate school, and I know it is not that important, anyway. You dropped out in the ninth grade, and you are doing just fine. What's the point, anyway?" Sandy, my second oldest, echoed her sister by saying, "That's true, Mom. School is boring and hard."

The old saying of "Do as I say, not as I do" did not seem to move my two younger daughters. I promised them that I would go back to school, get my GED and become a professional if they promised to stay in school and never give up on their dreams. That same year, I enrolled in a brand new program offered through a special grant approved by VISD for adults who sought to earn a GED. I am proud to say that, with two months of hard work, I became their first graduate.

I tried to enroll in college classes to pursue a degree in nursing, but for reasons outside of my control, I was not able to do so right away. I finally enrolled in 2010, but when I wrote my very first essay, I was told my writing skills were pretty bad. My instructor suggested I take a fundamental course for English since my primary language was Spanish, and she did not foresee me passing her class. I went home and asked myself: "What in the world was I thinking, going back to college?" I felt inadequate and humiliated at the same time, but then it hit me: "Remember your children." I wiped my tears, got out of my pity party and decided to stay in that class and not give up. I went back to class and told my instructor that I was not only going to pass her class, but I was going to ace it. She smiled at me and said, "If you really believe you can do this, then I believe you can, too."

I began attending tutoring classes, and proudly finished my first semester with a 4.0 GPA. I was so proud of myself for not giving up when things got hard for me, and from that point on, I have worked really hard to achieve each goal. I am overwhelmed with joy because I'm so close to my goal, but my experience at VC is not over yet. I will enroll in more classes in fall of 2014 to continue my nursing degree at VC. I hope my story inspires other adults to return to school and look into the wonderful career plans VC has to offer.

I know that my sacrifices have paid off because my two oldest children, now 21 and 23 years old, did not quit school and are currently working toward a college degree themselves. My son, who is only 16 years old, will begin attending dual credit classes at Victoria College this summer. My twins, Anahi and Isaiah, are only 8 years old, but I know that they, too, will do great when their time comes to choose a career. I have to first thank God and all who have helped me find my purpose in life.

Alma Medrano is a Victoria College Associate of Nursing Degree graduate and a winner of VC's "What's Your Story?" scholarship. She lives in Victoria.

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