By Melissa Woodrow, College Transition Student
My name is Melissa Woodrow. I am 22 years old and live in Belfast, Maine. I am a single mother of two beautiful children, Seth age 4, and Braylee-Marie who is 2. I became pregnant with Seth my senior year of high school. Thanks to help from family I was able to graduate from high school.
I said from day one, “I am going to be a great mother, not great for a teenage mother, but great as a mother, period.” By the time I was 19, I was pregnant with my daughter, and as much as I didn’t want a broken family I realized that my children’s father wasn’t good for any of us.
I was lucky to have a good paying job at Bank of America as a priority account manager, but it was a miserable job. I had to be away from my kids often and none of us were happy. I eventually lost this job because my daughter, who was a newborn at the time, was very ill and I ran out of sick time.
I did find employment elsewhere, but wasn’t making a livable wage. I became depressed and felt like my life was always going to be a struggle for the next meal, and I had ruined my children’s lives by being born to a teenage mother unable to give them what they deserved. After a few months, I realized that this attitude was what was hurting us. Our situation could change. I could change it.
I went to our local site for University of Maine. There I spoke to an academic counselor who recommended a program at the Belfast Adult ED center called College Connections. College Connections is a semester long program that is all day once a week. It includes math, grammar, and college readiness. College Connections did not just teach me the academic skills needed in college, it also taught me all of the skills I would need to survive as a college student. For example, who to go to with different questions or problems, organization, and time management skills. These things that are so easily overlooked are really the keys to success in school.
After graduating the class with more confidence than ever, I applied to University of Maine in Augusta. I am currently at the University enrolled full-time and doing very well on my way to a Medical Laboratory Technician degree.
Even though things are still a struggle , my family and I are very happy because we know this is temporary. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are moving one step closer to it every day. I know I will be successful because this journey isn’t just about myself, it’s about my children’s futures and nothing is more motivating to a mother.