National Payday Scholarship 2012 Official Entry SealBy: Alyssa Thompson

I am a person who has parents that depend on others to survive. My mother quit high school, and my dad (even though he graduated high school) never attended college. They have to work twice as hard for little to nothing to survive on. I refuse to be like my parents. If it was not for dreams and financing I would not have attempted to go to college. There would have been no way, and when I got approved for financial aid there was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. Yes, I have received my AA degree, but that was only through financial aid. If I was not eligible for any help I would not have a higher education than my parents. I am still striving to go after my dream to become a psychologist. I want that major degree so I don’t have to strive every single day of my life just to provide for my family. I know that nothing in life comes easy, but not being able to provide for yourself let alone a family is twice as hard facing than working hard for a degree to go into a field you love.

I was always taught that if I want independence, I would have to go to college to obtain that dream. I had no idea how I was going to get started, where to go, or who to run to. The responsibilities built up, and the main responsibility that weighs the heaviest is the financial burden. As a fresh student before I attended SFCC, I kept thinking how am I going to pay for tuition and books when my own parents can’t afford to pay bills? How am I going to be able to do this without any financial help? When the community college’s financial services told me that my grants and scholarships covered everything I was so relieved. It gave me hope that I can pursue my dreams; I can become a psychologist to help those who fight with depression, and so many other things such as myself. Just having that relief opened doors that I never thought could happen.

Now that I am attending a University instead of a community college in Orlando, those financial worries are twice as heavy. Not only do I think about how in the world am I going to pay for tuition and books, I am thinking how am I going to pay for housing, how am I going to pay my every day bills in one of the most expensive cities without a job and little to no work experience? I had a job with the community college and lost it the day I graduated. I wasn’t able to save up because I had to help my family survive. How could I not have any savings? Why did I not save? These are the questions that have been running through my mind ever since I found out I was accepted into UCF. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming I feel like giving up, but then I find strength that tells me I can do this, not to give up on my dreams. I know nothing is easy, and everything you have to work for. I want to earn a degree high enough where I can be a successful psychologist and start a college fund for my own family when I have children some day! I don’t want my children to have to face the same burdens, situations, and questions I find myself facing right now!

I understand it is not just me that needs financial assistance. There are thousands of students that never received any type of help, and therefore never went after their dreams. Imagine the number of what ifs they ask themselves. It would be great that if one day there will be opportunities large enough to pay for their necessities that they need to help them pursue their dreams. Just imagine who they could be if they had the financial assistance. On the other hand, imagine how many vets, doctors, psychologists, lawyers, psychologists, and teachers that would not be here if it wasn’t for financial assistance.

Financial assistance helps those who do not have resources such as their parents to pursue their dreams. It helps open up doors, and makes them realize that it is possible. It makes that first step of pursuing dreams easier. Transitioning from high school to community college is scary, but transitioning from a community college (in a small town) to a university (in a huge city) without financial assistance is even more frightening. With financial assistance it would provide relief, I would be able to pursue my dreams. I would be able to be a psychologist helping children and teens that face abusive homes realize that they are not to blame. I would be able to help them face problems and resolve them, because that is my dream, it is my drive to go after my own independence. Imagine all the lives I could help and save with a little bit of financial assistance. Being able to financially pursue my dreams would help me see that anything is possible and nothing is impossible.

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