(continued from home page): .  I also worked as a baby sitter on the weekends and I would use my car as a taxi on my days off.  I was making minimum wage and barely getting by.   My father was an immigrant from Guatemala and always scolded me about the opportunities I was missing out on and one day I applied to John Jay College. .

College Mom: Natalie Johnson

In the parking lot while I had about five minutes to myself I saw the letter with the John Jay letter head and was so excited, I nearly ripped the letter inside.  I was accepted!  I hopped out of my car and started jumping up and down and fist pumping in the air… I know I looked crazy but I didn’t care.  I knew that getting my degree would be a struggle but if I could handle two to three jobs and a child; I can handle college.

 At first I was going to school Tuesday through Friday, still working all of my jobs and  hardly ever sleeping.  After about a year in school it was as if my battery was dying and I had to quit but I made a promise to myself that I would go back.  I was and will be walking down that graduation aisle no matter what.  Since I wasn’t in school and I felt guilty about it I went to work more and more jobs.  But the more I worked the more I had to pay- more gas, more toll, more daycare, more clothes because my daughter kept growing.

When I came back to school I switched my major to English because I wanted to become a teacher, then a professor and maybe even a writer. Being in college I have noticed how much I have grown mentally and I noticed my daughter’s bond with me grow stronger than ever.  I have made friends who have a positive outlook on life, some who are younger and have done so much, giving me motivation to continue to do better things. I also met people who were older and made me feel like I am not the only one that took a while to get here, but we are here and we will thrive.  To think of myself going backwards, to working just-over-broke (“job”-s) and still not being able to provide  is what keeps me going.  I was taking up Arabic (I am a native Spanish speaker) and I started to teach my daughter what I learned.  I have not even graduated yet and my daughter is proud of me, if that does not motivate me, then I do not know what will!  ----Natalie Johnson