Short and Sweet
Hello all. My name is Ray Belcher. I'm a 30 year old Chicagoan. I have always enjoyed going to school and participating in a classroom environment. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, I could not pay my tuition. My desire is to go back to school but I need your help.
I need to raise $6,500.00 ($6,499.67) to be exact for past tuition, that I owe UIC. Paying this is the only way to get the financial hold off at my school. Which in turn will allow me to continue my studies. So I am asking those that can to contribute. I will be eternally grateful and forever in your debt. Your contribution will help me on my journey to be the first from my family to graduate from college and to show that it is never too late to go back to school. Thank you!
The Unabridged Version
For the past few years it seems my life has been in limbo. Like I have just been going through the motions. Working dead end jobs, not living up to my potential, and barely making ends meet. I had grown accustomed to this lifestyle and that in turn made me bitter, angry, and a shell of my former self. It wasn't always this way. I used to be the happiest guy in the room. I had the biggest smile and the loudest laugh. I was surrounded by family and friends. The sky was the limit for me. I was enrolled at University of Illinios at Chicago (UIC). Everything was fine until my finacial aid ran out. I was stuck with a tuition bill of about $9,000.00. That halted my educational progress as I worked to pay my tuition off. I paid it down to $4,554.28, when circumstance again smacked me in the face, and I lost my job. I got behind on the payments and the interest shot the payments up to $6,500. During this time I became bitter and depressed. However, there was one person who didn't give up on me. Even when I gave up on myself. My dad encouraged me and told me everything would work out for the best. He told me he was proud of me, of the man I became. Still with my college life on pause, my life trajectory was thrown off, and I found myself digress from living, to existing, to surviving. I could have kept on going down this road of despair. Living a purposeless life but in February of 2011, my father was taking from me. His death hit me like a ton of bricks. I wish I could say that that was the turning point. That his passing made me get my act together. But it didn't. The pain of having lost my father and the stress of having to help my mother pushed me deeper into depression and confusion. My breakthrough came when I was looking through some old photo albums and I saw me and my dad. His smile while he was holding me as a baby. His smile as I took my first steps, recited my first christmas poem, graduated from grammer school, got my liscence, prom, high school graudation, and going off to college. That warm geniune smile. It was then that I finally heard and processed the words he had spoken to me. " I am proud of you son. Proud of the man you have become". It was then that I recieved my clarity. I would live life to the fullest and ride it until the wheels fall off. Starting by aggresively attacking the situation that put me in my funk... Getting back in school.
The Bigger Picture
I realize I can't do this alone. I need the support of the people. I work part time and I help my mom out. I just can't tackle this tuition alone. But I know with your asistance I can be back in school on the fast track to a career where I can take care of my mom the way that I should. Keep in mind that this is about much more than getting back in school. Much, much more. This is about my mother and grandmother getting to see me walk across the stage. This is about making my father proud and becoming the man he raised me to be. This is about being an example to my younger brother. This is about showing others that it can be done. This is about me unlocking my potential and becoming the best me that I can be. Getting back in school is only one of the many things that I want to do this year (more on that later).
Other Ways You Can Participate
I understand that there are those who cannot give money and that is perfectly alright. Anyway that you can help me on my journey is both encouraged and appreciated. I will be grateful for any advice, help, words of encouragement or inspiration, tools, or programs. I am also looking for mentors and those that went through the same thing that I am going through, and came out on top. Thank you for your time and your assistance.