"I can honestly say SNHU has really helped turn my life around."
I suppose my SNHU story began back in 2008. I graduated from my high school a semester early with good grades, A's and B's; my future looked bright. As I've come to learn over the years, since then, I was just like the majority of newly graduated students. I had no clue what I wanted to do/study in college; all I knew was that I had always planned on going. Feeling lost in a sea of new territory, overflowing with unfamiliar forms and terms, I found myself applying to two schools. One, a state university my friend was applying to, and the other being my sister's school. The state university sent me an acceptance letter almost immediately—still one of my most rewarding achievements to this day. I decided not to go there because the friend I was applying with decided to attend a university in Chicago. As for the other school, I received a call from the dean of admissions explaining how excited he was to have me become a part of his school. There was only one problem. To sugar coat it, my admissions essay wasn't quite "appropriate." Honestly, I had no idea how to explain my greatest challenge in 500 words. I was only 18 and confused beyond belief. Feeling this way, I sent in a paper I wrote for my high school English class. It was about my personal struggle with "self-medicating.” The dean at the school was more than delighted to offer me scholarships, and if I remember correctly, even a full-ride. All I had to do was re-submit my essay on a more appropriate subject. So, I did. I wrote about what I was honestly interested in academically: quantum physics and organic chemistry. Weeks went by and I never heard from him again. I just wrote it off as a loss, took a year off from school, and spiraled deeper into my "medicating.” After a year goes by of taking general education classes at the local community college, I decided to take a stand and just do something with my life/time.
I enrolled into culinary school. I figured, "Why not?" I did my research, made my visits, completed the paperwork, and was officially a student at an art institute. August 2009 was my start date, and I soon found myself living in the greatest city in the world, working off the greatest street in the world, The Magnificent Mile - Michigan Avenue. I was having the time of my life. But, another year went by, now August 2010, and I was having too much fun. I dropped out of culinary school, a year shy of graduating. Once again, I was lost, dazed, overwhelmed, and rejected. Feeling sorry for myself, I hit rock bottom. Three years went by, and I soon saw how easy it was to fall into "the system.” During these three years, I faced legal trouble, financial difficulties, and interpersonal struggles. I was lost. Everyone around was soon giving up on me, and the "potential I wasted.” Still, I thought all would work out. I held a steady job as a co-head cook, working 50-60 hours a week, of which I worked from the bottom as a delivery driver to the top position. "What could go wrong?" I thought. To keep it short, my restaurant was sold to new owners. Within less than a year, the place had closed. I was now on unemployment, making not even a quarter of what I was before, only to find out the new owners weren't paying me overtime, or taxes from my check. Of course, that responsibility landed on my shoulders. Again, I felt like I just wasn't meant to become something of worth. I justified it as, "some lives are lived to show others how not to."
I went to Craigslist and local restaurants trying to find work. It didn't take long before I found two new jobs. They weren't much, but at least I could say I was working. After a few months, I quit one job as a dog bather, which I felt was a complete embarrassment—being 23 and having the same job as a 16 year old. I was not where I should have been in life, obviously. This was made even clearer by my parents who would describe me as an 18-year-old in a 23-year-old's body. There ain't nothing like the support of your parents to work more hours at the restaurant I was also working at. This proved to be a mistake. I was misled into thinking I would receive more hours than given. Not too long after, I was hardly working at all. The shifts I was scheduled for I was being called off of due to slow business. And I was also hired as a cook, but was employed as a dishwasher and bartender working nine hours a week. I had had enough. During the prior three years, I had tried to go back to several schools. But due to my legal troubles I was unable to drive, thus unable to get to classes. I tossed the idea of online schools around for a few months before I decided, "Bite the bullet! What's another loan to worry about?" I had to do something.
After some research, I came into contact with Jeff, here at SNHU. I had tried applying at other schools, but Jeff was the most proactive, informative, and went way beyond the definition of helpful. The choice seemed to make itself. I would apply and become an online student at SNHU. After my time with Jeff, I was introduced to my academic advisor, Chantel Freeman. She, too, was and still is extremely helpful in whatever it is I have to talk to her about. The faculty at Southern New Hampshire University genuinely seems to care about you, not only as a student or a check, but also as a person with real goals and real aspirations.
Today, I'm enrolled in my second term for online classes majoring in business administration with a concentration in small business management. My first term, I earned a 100%. This term seems to be on track for that, as well, if I keep it up, of course. I'm finally going for my four-year degree! With that, I obviously want to own my own business. What exactly? Well, I'll figure that out when I see the bridge coming over the horizon. On top of all that, I also started working at a "real" job—thanks to a little help from my sister. I can honestly say SNHU has really helped turn my life around. I know the work is all up to me, but it's nice to know there is a staff of warm, smiling faces to help me with whatever it is I may need help with. I have yet to meet a faculty member that did not go above and beyond their job description. You can tell everyone here really cares about each student individually, giving them the personal time needed and being totally understanding that life sometimes causes delays in communication. I just want to take these last couple sentences and personally thank Jeff and Chantel. The two of you have helped me overcome personal obstacles you'll never fully understand. I am forever grateful, and forever thankful!