I am getting more and more excited about starting university in September.
I was a teenage mother; I had my first son when I was 18. By world standards that is probably not too young, but in Canada it is considered very young to be a mother. I was quite poor, and had trouble feeding myself and my son from day to day. It was difficult facing prejudice on the public transit system, and embarrassing to have to line up at food banks in order to eat. People thought nothing of insulting me to my face, and calling me horrible names. I was proud of my son, and proud to be a mother, but from day to day it could be very humbling. I lived on less than $9000 a year for six years.
I had left school to give birth to my child, but I was determined to go back to school. I tried three times, at three different schools to return, but they were not successful attempts. It is difficult to prioritize education when you are hungry, and need to find affordable shelter. I took pride in keeping my son well-fed and well-dressed, but I lost 30 pounds, and had trouble paying my rent. Finally, I decided to concentrate on working, and finding suitable child care for my son. I worked at 3 or 4 jobs simultaneously, and juggled my schedule accordingly. I was lucky to have friends who assisted me in finding a subsidized child care spot for my son at a government-run daycare near my home. It was very hard work, but I was proud of myself for persevering. I met my husband at a function for my trade union, and we were married when my son turned six.
My older son is now 18 years old, and is getting ready to attend college in September. The photo below is of he and I at his high school graduation, where he won a bursary. I am so proud of him. It is difficult as a parent to raise a child, but when one is poor, it is much more difficult. He is a good son; well-behaved, polite, hard-working and respectful. He has his life before him, and he has all of the tools to succeed. He encouraged me to apply as a Mature Student, and helped me fill out the numerous forms required to apply for the program that caught my interest.
I am starting the Conflict Studies Honours degree in September 2010, at St. Paul's University in Ottawa, Canada, after waiting 20 years to go to university. My area of focus is Gender Conflict and Labour Conflict, and I can't wait! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, and empowering women all over the world to do the same.