My Path to College

My pathway to college was not the smooth path I had always anticipated. My family planned on having my education funded through my father’s G.I. Bill since he had no intention of using it. While I was in high school, my father retired, my parents separated and we began to financially struggle, but I was not worried. I was going to have my tuition paid for and get the heck out of TEXAS! I was accepted to Florida International University, and I was so excited! I started filling out my housing paperwork to live on campus and day dreaming about going to the beach every weekend. I was so ready and I just needed to file my paperwork to get the G.I. Bill connected with my college.

***I would like to note that by this point I felt that I had no need to worry about getting scholarships since I was privileged with getting my tuition paid for, that I felt selfish to try to take it from someone with more need.***

So my mother helped me call the Veterans Affairs office to get everything setup since I was still only 17 and was not able to officially speak to them about my financial aid. The whole conversation is really blurry in my memory, but I just remember this overwhelming feeling of insecurity, like all my dreams were washing away.

I was not getting the G.I. Bill.

When my father called them 3 years prior to transfer it to me, something went wrong and now that he was retired, there was nothing we could do about it. There was no plan B. I could not afford to go to a 4-year university, regardless of the fact that I had been in advanced classes since the 7th grade. My mother suggested the local community college in our small town… and I felt wounded by that statement! Was I really a “community college” girl? Did I somehow not deserve to be among the higher intellects at a 4-year university?! How dare she think that I would not handle working at a UNIVERSITY level when I was in the International Baccalaureate Program! I begged to take a gap year! I didn’t want to face the feeling of not being equal with my peers that were heading off to UT – Austin and A&M College Station. To no avail, my mother pushed me along into enrolling as well as registering for my first classes.

Long story short! I transferred to Northwest Vista College after my first semester. I got involved on campus in a research group with Dr.Lucas, presented at a conference, found my passion in educational psychology and started my pathway that has now led me to being a published scholar with A&M-SA’s Dr.Weatherford! All it took was disregarding the stigma of community college and taking initiative to network with the professors.

 

Salvador Acosta

College Access & Success Advisor, Road to Success

 



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