Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

I have grown up in poverty and was abused all of my life. I was expected to graduate high school, get a job at a nearby store or fast food restaurant and live in a trailer park like everyone else I grew up with. Instead, I decided to go to college because I’m trying to break the cycle. A college education would change my life because I want better for myself and my future children. I refuse to let them go through the kinds of struggles I did as a child. Some examples include being bullied at school for wearing clothes that were obviously from the thrift store and not knowing when I would get to eat outside of school.
I’m in college full time, work two jobs and I’m even in a sorority. I’ve done everything I can thus far to change my quality of life. The only problem is that I’ve been carrying a secret around with me since I transferred from community college. I’m homeless. My dad was severely abusive, so I eventually left. I bounced around from shelter to shelter until I found more stable temporary housing. I’ve been in various programs for youth and abused women ever since to help keep me afloat. I’m saving as much money as I can, but school is expensive, especially when you are in a sorority. I knew it was going to be expensive, but I was craving that family feeling that I never had growing up. I was on my own and I wanted to surround myself with people who don’t think getting a fast food job was a success. It was also the opportunity to surround myself with people who have the same goals as I do. Those women gave me good role models to look up to, something I have gone my whole life without, and they remind me that even though I have had an unfortunate past, I can overcome it and always strive for better. I don’t regret joining a sorority at all, but it has put an additional financial strain on me. Monthly dues are expensive and you have to have the proper wardrobe for events.
The counseling and trauma therapy is also expensive. I also have medical bills that have been piling up from when I got the flu. I know the flu shot is only about sixty dollars but when you are in my financial state that is a lot of money. I had to take my chances and it backfired. I was hospitalized. I’ll be paying that off for years to come.
It’s frustrating because I know the way out of my situation is education. Education is considered a necessity for a good life, but priced as a luxury. I chose the education field because I believe that is where I could make the most difference. I was abused growing up and no one saw it. I could do social work or counseling, but I have to figure out how to come to terms with my own traumas before I help kids with theirs. My strengths are best suited to teaching. Please consider me for this scholarship. It would be life changing for me.

Tiffany from Missouri
College Junior
University of Missouri-St. Louis