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Success: Education and Work
Making the Right Choices for Success in College
Success: Education and Work

Copyright 31 July 2003
Holly Sundstrom

         I am sure the young woman I sat with in college failed that semester. I am sorry that she chose to do other than accept my offer of friendship and be a study partner with me in Spanish. I believe I just passed Spanish because I took an evening class with adults who created a study group along with several Hispanic and bilingual friends helping me along. It will also help my job opportunities to speak and read Spanish besides meet the foreign language requirement but it is a very difficult language to learn and many people fail it including my friend who speaks Spanish who lived in Spain for about eight months.

         She had several problems going on in her life.

         It was this young woman’s first semester in college. She was recently divorced from a man who beat her severely and left her alone with a two year old child to support. She was living with her single mother on a limited income.

         It is a shame that her actions for whatever reason that she chose were not only destructive to me but also to herself because she lost a study partner for her difficult Spanish class and probably failed it. Such that she lost her Pell Grant if she did not drop the class in time to get a refund.

         Since she was attending college to give her skills so that she could better provide for herself and her child that means that her entire immediate family will suffer.

         This is information that may help her (if a person who can protect themselves from her problems and keep a safe distance emotionally and physically) advance in life. I went through college on my own without a great deal of social, educational, or parental help other than economically.

         Being successful in college requires dedication and devotion along with limitless patience, dedication, becoming use to severe and serious criticism, working until you are exhausted, and sacrifice of everything including personal relationships that are destructive to your success in the college environment (starting with friends who want to party and play more than advance in life).

         An education does not guarantee a good job it simply guarantees you are going to spend a great amount of time and money towards your future. But a good education has many applications in life beyond just a job.

         There are a great many educated people who went to school for something that was not career oriented who are working minimum wage jobs. There are a great many people who are well educated who have drug and alcohol problems who are homeless and living on the streets. There are a great many educated people who are too lazy or proud to work at anything manual such that they are homeless also. An education does not guarantee anything neither does a vocational certificate. I have two of both and do not work in any of the fields any longer but enjoyed them for a period of time in my life and supported myself with this education for a period of time. If I were healthy I could still obtain employment in such fields even if not extremely well paying they are suitable save job environments for the most part.

         If a person who has flunked out of school and owes money to the Pell Grant System takes one class at a time around a job to increase success they will eventually pay back the Pell Grant. For the foreign language requirement Sign Language will cover the requirement and is easier if one also has a study partner. My sisters who went to school together did and passed with A's. They did "Let's do the Time Warp Again" for their final from the Rocky Horror Picture Show while dressed in tophats with canes.

         There are a great many vocational programs available which can help improve job skills, competencies, and provide a paid vocation. Some vocational fields do not have many openings nor pay well. The vocational schools have a great many programs which help pay for single mothers and women to attend school. I went on such a program at one time before they found a lump in me and I started getting sick often. The only thing I had to do was provide my own food, shelter and transportation everything else was paid for by the scholarship because my income was low because I was working part time while in school. I may return to the program after all my medical procedures which were postponed for a year are completed.

         There is a vocational program nearby which trains for nurses aides. One can work in a facility, work independently or for an at home company who fills in home needs after passing the certification test. It is not an easy vocation but nothing that pays well usually is. It is a very short program also and not incredibly expensive.

         To begin school with a small child as a single parent is very demanding. It is better to begin slowly with one class to become accustomed to the college system which requires more independence than public school educations. The important lower level courses should usually be taken first as they are foundation classes for many other courses. Such as English and Math which are very demanding. As they are foundation classes they need to be learned well.

         The young woman can take classes until her Pell Grant classes she failed are made up for economically so that it can be reinstated. Many of people flunk out and retake classes the problems is the Pell Grant is not forgiving. The Pell Grant can be received at half time for half time classes. Half time is six credit hours.

         While attending college I took less academically demanding classes such as physical education in the shorter summer to get them out of the way and difficult ones on the longer fall and winter/spring semester. When I was on a quarter system I took no more than two classes a semester. For me the evening classes tend to be better as they are filled with adults but often it is more difficult to pass because they are more work oriented. This made getting a higher grade more difficult as college is all about applying yourself and working towards a goal one is committed to and working adults have all ready learned these skills.

         It would be a shame to never share what I have learned with anyone else to help their success and the world I live in. All of my family helps my niece with school and her children as much as possible because we are all educated and recognize its value in life.