My name is Jennifer. I am a first generation college student. My family came to the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1980s. In Fall 2012, I enrolled at the University of California, Irvine. However, in 2013, I slipped into a deep depression. I failed to recognize it as depression; I never told anyone (except my boyfriend) and just put on a happy face in front of everyone. I always told myself that I was just in "bad mood" and I would get over it. I thought I would just wake up one day and be happy again. Failing to deal with my depression cause me to perform poorly at school and lead to me leaving the university.... by force. Yes, I got kicked out of school. I didn't tell a soul. I led my family and friends to believe I was still taking classes and everything was fine. I eventually had to tell my family since my student financial aid was now gone and had no money and no place to live. To become considered for re-admission as a student, after being dismissed, you must take 2 quarters of college courses taking at least eight units in each quarter. After being kicked out and revealing it to my family, I persuaded my mother to co-sign very high interest private loans to pay for classes. Since I was kicked out, I had to come up with the payment on my own, I did not have a right to financial aid anymore.
Even at this point I didn't see my depression as something I had to deal with. Of course, I still did horrible in class. I still didn't get the grades I needed to re-apply so I finally stopped. I stopped trying to take classes and fix everything. I never I would never even have a chance until I stopped and focused on fixing myself first but this kind of backfired. I wasted years. Not weeks or even months but years, years of feeling sorry for myself, years of being in a black hole and believing I would never see light again. Plus I racked up about $24,000 in loan debt. I worked at a dead end part-time job just so I would feel like I wasn't a complete waste of space, to feel like I was doing something.
I woke up one day (in 2016) and realized what I had become and decided it wasn't to late to change my life. I spoke with family and friends who helped me overcome my depression. My mother saved her income tax refund and part of her paychecks to pay for my classes so we wouldn't have to take out another loan. I am more focused and determined than ever! I still work part-time in retail but I am still earning the grades I need, no more F's for me! However, there is no money left to pay for classes but I still need 1 more quarter of to go and then I can reapply and hopefully be a student again and graduate. My goal of $3,000 will cover the cost of classes. I appreciate any donation you give and promise your money will not go to waste. If my goal is not met then I, unfortunately, will have to give up on my dreams and try to obtain another job somewhere. The quarters have to be taken consecutively in order for me to reapply and missing this next quarter means I would have to start all over again in the Fall, and that means coming up with $6,000. That's not possible for me and family to pay right now and is inconceivable that we would be able to pay this much money within the next year. I am pursing a degree in Social Policy and Public Service. I hope to go on and obtain a Master's degree in Organizational Management and open a foundation to aid small business by providing design or legal help. I want to give people the resources to obtain their dreams. Thank you for your time.
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