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Katherine Hollie

BA General Studies, Class of 2016

"I thank the SNHU staff for the awesome support system."

I’m amazed at how I arrived at this place in my life! At the ripe age of 39, I’m finally finishing school 20-plus years later, and pursuing my first and lifelong love: writing. Growing up as the eldest child of six initiated an enormous responsibility of caring for my siblings. My mother was a homemaker, and my father the primary provider of the house. The only thing that was expected of and emphasized to us was that we graduate from high school without getting pregnant or going to jail, and aim at getting a good job. There was not much pressure or conversation regarding post-secondary education. But I had other ideas, and was supported by many teachers and counselors for my writing all through school.

I’ve always envisioned far and beyond for my life, but found it frustrating not getting that support and environment needed at home to nurture what was so profound in me. When I graduated from high school in ‘92 at the age of 17, I was told that I was not going to college. This news disheartened me, and my passion as a writer lay dormant for years to follow. I decided at that point to go into the medical field, and worked to pay for school and buy a car.

By 21, I was married and soon expecting my first child. In 2000, I reluctantly sold my home in Oakland, Calif., and relocated to Arkansas where I attended school for practical nursing. A year later I transitioned into a new role as a single mother of two children, which presented new challenges. The years following saw continued abuse, exhausted real estate investments, reunions with lost family members, deaths, joblessness, homelessness and eventual brokenness. I moved back to California in 2006 to be closer to family, and joined Harvest Church Ministries, in Stockton, in 2009. Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck, and made the decision to recommit my life to Christ, which brought spiritual restoration and emotional healing from all the painful things I’d realized were blocking my gift.

I was able to start focusing on my lost passion again. Since then, I’ve had a poem published by Renegade in Glass Warriors Anthology in 2012. I’ve also done minor fashion articles, and have shared a few poems on the mic locally. Although I began my journey at SNHU this year, to my surprise, I will be graduating a lot sooner than expected. Once I’ve completed my BA in General Studies, with a concentration in creative writing, I will continue on to my master’s in creative writing, with a concentration in nonfiction/fiction.

My genre of interest is memoir and short story. Is there a book in the making? You bet!! Will I get rich off of it? Probably not.! But there’s a greater reward in accomplishing something you truly love. No doubt, I’ve had my share of tears, blood and sweat along the way. But I persevere, with school and being a full-time working mom of two high schoolers. I want to encourage those that think you’re too old, can’t afford it or don’t have time: Stop with the excuses. There’s always a way if you really want to do it. No matter the past, or what you experienced, you have the ability to make choices to make a difference in your life and in this world. Parents, learn who your children are as individuals, and find a way to support them in their interests. You may not always know what you’re doing half the time, but your presence says more than enough.

There are so many I want to thank for keeping me going when the tough got going. :) But I especially want to thank my spiritual family at Harvest Church Ministries for their uncompromising and unconditional love, encouragement and for my fresh start in life. Karyn Collins, you are an exceptional counselor, and I thank you for all the times I probably worried you to death, but still you kept your cool. You’ve displayed much patience and diligence in making sure everything was in order academically. In addition, I thank the SNHU staff for the awesome support system since I've started. And to my biggest fans and critics: my children Hadiyah and Solomon. You two literally keep me on my toes. Know that I do this for you.