I'm the only person in my immediate family to obtain a college degree--neither of my parents has a degree, and none of my three siblings chose the four-year degree route in their careers.
HOWEVER, my mother attended university for a time, with an eye toward earning a bachelor's in Education. A year away from graduating, she chose to marry my father and commit herself to stay-at-home motherhood instead of finishing. You could make that choice back in the early 70s, even on enlisted military pay.
But that college experience stayed with my mother, and I sensed early on that she regretted not snagging the BA. She talked about life at the university often, and she instilled in me the desire to go to college myself. To earn that degree.
Not everyone has the privilege of a mother's influence toward college. While some families take a university education as a given, for many, it's a foreign concept, and especially with the astronomical cost of tuition these days, it can seem as remote as a distant planet.
It's that distance that the organization College Bound works to bridge.
"Just one adult with a college degree can change the cycle of poverty in a family forever," say the folks at CB. They function as coaches, guides, and tutors in the effort to help students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds achieve bachelor's degrees and fulfilling careers.
I know a lot about the organization because my husband, a former-game-industry-brand-manager-turned-grant-manager, works there. And because he does, they found out about me and my work as a visiting professor of game design at Webster University. They invited me to speak to students on a panel for Career Night. Here I am, talking with my hands, as usual.
The students asked fantastic questions, and we had a lively discussion that got real, if you know what I mean. There were two CB alums on the panel with me, and they were a study in contrasts. One chose to become an accountant, and while he doesn't "love" his job, he loves being able to live comfortably and even travel. His counterpoint was a young woman who took a job teaching at a school in a disadvantaged neighborhood where some of her students struggle with simply getting enough to eat. She loves what she does.
It wasn't planned this way, but it turned out that every single person on the panel was the first one in our families to get a bachelor's degree. Fortunately, two of them had College Bound.
The students apparently thought I was a riot, or so says my husband, Anthony, who was the only guy in the room wearing a tie.
If you're local and looking to get involved with College Bound, check out their Trivia Night fundraiser on August 25. Of course, you can support them even if you don't live in the Lou.
So what's your education story? Did you go to college? Skip it and climb to wild success by other means? And who helped you along the way? Tell me in the comments below. Stories are my religion.
And have a Happy 4th of July!