Great Stories · Reflections

Great Stories Part VI: Guardian Angel

T is a student that I believe embodies the traits of a College Possible student: she is motivated, hard-working, and perseveres no matter what. She has been one of my students for both of my terms of service. The entire time I have worked with her she has not been enrolled, but is constantly taking steps to do so, most of the time without me even prompting her to do something. T is a highly independent student, but what strikes me is that she appreciates College Possible to no end.

Over the past year and a half, T has been working to get into UWM to study sonography. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, her plan to enroll this past fall was thwarted by unforeseen financial aid issues, which are still being worked out. When she broke the news to me, I asked her how she was feeling about everything. She hated the situation, but I was taken aback by how collected she was and brushed it off seemingly without effort. She simply knew that she would have to wait, but in no way did the roadblock affect her determination to go to college. This in addition to constant family pressures to stay and support them made her life seem so complicated, at least from my perspective. However, T has an amazing way of taking everything that is thrown at her and diverting that energy into her own goals and using it as motivation, as strange as that might sound.

Despite all of these incredible traits, T still knows she needs College Possible in her life. She didn’t give me many details, but I got the vibe that her family is not as supportive of her goals as they could be, meaning she has limited people she can lean on. Even as she tells me these incredible plans and things she has overcome, T still needs moral support, and it has been my job over the past year or so to listen to her and tell her that I know she can accomplish whatever she wants, because I know she can. Even today she was talking to me about how terrified she is of starting school again due to fear of failure and seeing how long her father has been in school. Telling her that everyone is scared at some point during college and that she has what it takes to succeed. I felt she really needed to hear that, and she appreciated it.

When T found out I would be her college coach for a second year, she was excited. She described me as a “guardian angel” for her studies, a title that I certainly wasn’t expecting, but absolutely felt meaningful. I think it most significantly shows that students just like her might not be able to succeed in college, even though they have what it takes to do so. Sometimes it takes a little push or just a shoulder to lean on in order for them to accomplish what they want in life. That’s what College Possible is about, an entity that watches over students who have more promise than they realize.

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