My name is Kim. I was born into poverty to a mother who saw a bright future for me and a father who couldn’t care less. As I grew up I instinctively knew that getting an education was the only way for me to get out of the ‘hood and not repeat the mistakes that my mom made. So I made a choice to do my very best in school. When I entered high school I tried to fit in but for some reason or another, couldn’t. I was the “weird” girl—had always been.
In my junior year of high school I had some major drama in my family and earned 5 D’s and 4 F’s over the course of the year—a far cry from the A’s and B’s for which I’d earned a reputation for earning. It was about that time that I met a wonderful woman who sat down with me one day and helped me chart a course for my future—she saw in me what my mom had so many years ago.
Without my mother’s knowledge, I began applying to colleges early in my senior year. My mom thought with near absolute certainty that I was going to graduate and get a job, not go to college. I chose three schools—one close to home and two farther away but close enough. At the same time, I attended night school to make up the English class I’d failed and opted to re-take the math class I’d failed to get the credits I needed to graduate on time. I was determined to be better than my mom and be the first person in my family to go to college and I wanted to be the first to graduate.
On my 18th birthday I received the first of what would be three acceptance letters. What a birthday gift! I was elated, as was my mother. I ended my year on a high note—I walked the stage and spoke as Salutatorian of the Glenville Class of 1999 (Cleveland, Ohio).
When I began college I soon learned that I was ill-equipped to begin such a daunting journey. I tested into remedial-level classes and could not begin the coursework for my then-planned major—Biochemistry until I completed those classes. The same person who encouraged me to apply for college told me under no uncertain terms that my being in remedial classes was not an accident and that I had my chance to learn more. I took that with me as I managed to fail Freshman-level chemistry three times before passing; my real passion – Psychology – was discovered in the process.
I came home in 2001 after failing too many times. I applied at the local university and FINISHED one semester later than I anticipated, but I did it. I am now the proud owner of THREE degrees, all earned within two years of each other, and a School Psychologist with the desire to help other kids through their earliest years of school.