Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Price Of Education

While going back to college seems like a valiant endeavor, I have reality to thank for bringing me back to earth. The price of a college credit has doubled since I have graced the walls of such an institution. So I am doing what every poor, broke, college student should do, applying for every scholarship imaginable!! I have written an essay for one of the scholarships I am trying for. Since the essay is mostly about my grandmother I have decided to post it on my blog so I may preserve it for my posterity.

GCC Employees 40th Anniversary Scholarhip

“How a staff or faculty member at GCC empowered me
to succeed and continue with my educational goals.”

When I was a little girl, I used to visit my grandmother every summer. She worked at GCC as a secretary for many years. Every once in a while, she would have to go by her office on a weekend to pick something up or finish a project. She would let me tag along with her, and I would bring something to keep me busy. I remember that one time, I brought paper and I wrote a story for my cousin that was in the hospital. While Grandma worked around her office to finish something up, I drew pictures to go with the story and made it into a story book. Grandma was impressed with my efforts then she said, “Someday you can come to a college just like this one so you can become a famous author.” I told her I wanted to be lawyer, and she told me I could be whatever I wanted if I was willing to get the education for it. I asked if she would still be here, because I would love to go to school with grandma. She laughed and told me that by then I wouldn’t want my grandma at school with me. I of course, didn’t believe her, but the first seeds were sown in my early life for an education. I learned that with a college education, I could do anything.
In my last years of high school in CA, I realized that I wasn’t ready to go right into a four year college. My thoughts soon turned to going to a community college, and I immediately thought of GCC where my grandmother was still working. I moved to Glendale, AZ to live with my dad and continue my education at GCC. I got my childhood wish of being able to go to “Grandma’s School” as I had called it growing up. I was amazed as I started school, how many students would stop by to talk to my grandmother. They would tell me how helpful she was to them in getting the information they needed, or in guiding them to get help. I could tell that she was an inspiration to more than just me. Grandma introduced me to other staff and faculty at the school. Everyone who worked there was committed to helping students achieve their educational goals. It didn’t matter if that student was Jeanie Hogg’s granddaughter or not. There was a oneness about them all, as they would ask a passing student they knew, how the semester was going. I worked in the copy room during evening classes one semester, and every teacher that needed something done would always take the time to ask about my classes and how I was doing. I quickly learned that my grandmother wasn’t the only adult here that was committed to education, and GCC quickly became like home to me.
When I got married, my grandmother was immediately concerned with my education. She knew how hard it would be to continue my education as I started a family. I knew this would be true, but I also had another example that my grandmother gave me. As a child, she would talk to me about the latest college classes she was taking, I would tell her she was too old to go to school and she told me you are never too old to learn. So as I find myself re-entering college after 11 years, I can find my courage in her words and her example. It is also through her encouragement over the years, to go back to college that I find myself here. I would always protest and tell her it’s been too long, my credits probably don’t count anymore. She would just smile and say, “Well, it won’t hurt to find out.” My grandmother has long since retired from GCC, so I found myself entering the doors of the enrollment center nervous and disoriented. (The new Enrollment Center didn’t used to be there when I went to school all those many years ago.) I signed up to see an academic advisor and soon found myself face to face with someone who really did want to help me and believed that I could accomplish my academic goals. He showed me the same encouragement that I had come to love in my grandmother and the rest of the GCC staff over the years. It was like I had come home again.
As I write this essay, my grandmother lies in the hospital with breathing problems and other ailments that have plagued her throughout the years. I visited her there yesterday, and despite the tubes and the punctuated breathing, I could see through her frailties, and see the strong woman that I want to be. I know that education is one of the many factors that gave this great woman her strength and I want to make her proud. Completing my education and achieving my goals, will make me a woman she can be proud to call her granddaughter. To conclude, my grandmother, Jeanie Hogg, a retired GCC secretary, empowered me to succeed in my education. She planted the seeds of an education in my youth and continues to water and nurture those seeds even from her hospital bed. I will forever be grateful to her and to the rest of the staff and faculty of GCC, no matter the decade, who truly do want the students to succeed.


Merrimom said...

That is such a great essay! If I had the power to grant a scholarship, you'd get one. Good luck!

Tiffany & Annabella said...

I think that this is a great essay. What did grandma think?

Wilson Family said...

Grandma loved it and told me she was proud of me. Then she told me to double space in and spell out all my abbreviations. Point made!!

Davis family said...

awesome essay Nikki.