Meet Giovanni

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Grades

“I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.”

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Grades

“When I was a junior, I was expelled.”

I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I didn't know what I wanted to do.”

I don’t really put myself out there a lot.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I don’t really put myself out there a lot.”

I’m proud to say that I’m doing very well.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I’m very proud to say that I’m doing very well.”

I went to school for practically nothing.

Cost

“I went to school for practically nothing.”

Money is out there to help you—just look.

Cost

“Money is out there to help you—just look.”

It was stressful but rewarding in the end.

Cost

“It was stressful but rewarding in the end.”

I wanted to be a teacher.

Cost

“I wanted to be a teacher.”

I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.

Cost

“I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.”

It hits you at once.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“It hits you at once.”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Cost

“I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Everything was in fine print.

Cost

“Everything was in fine print.”

I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.”

I had to deal with a lot all at once.

Responsibilities

“I had to deal with a lot all at once.”

I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.”

It pretty much gave me a full ride.

Cost

“It pretty much gave me a full ride.”

People are willing to help if you ask them.

Cost

“People are willing to help if you ask them.”

I was intimidated since I was undocumented.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was intimidated since I was undocumented.”

My father did not want to help me.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“My father did not want to help me.”

I have a good chance of becoming more stable.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I have a good chance of becoming more stable.”

Leaving the reservation is a huge step.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”

Meet Giovanni

 

I wasn’t sure what to do.
Giovanni talks about getting financial aid advice at his community college.
I wasn’t sure what to do. (00:54)
Giovanni talks about getting financial aid advice at his community college.
I wasn’t sure what to do.
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I was more into hanging out with my friends. (00:39)
Giovanni’s attitude changed when he started college.
I was more into hanging out with my friends.
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I wasn’t sure how to go to school and work. (00:54)
Giovanni finds strength in knowing others who are going through the same thing.
I wasn’t sure how to go to school and work.
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It’s nice to be able to set my own schedule. (00:35)
Giovanni compares high school and college.
It’s nice to be able to set my own schedule.
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Snapshot

Year in college
Freshman
Intended major
Psychology
Income
$10,000–$20,000
College
Public two-year college
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$3,108
Financial aid received
Federal subsidized Stafford Loan
Favorite TV network
History Channel
Giovanni was overwhelmed by the idea of having to hold down a day job while taking college classes.
His obstacle 

When Giovanni was in high school, he wasn’t motivated academically. “I was into hanging out with my friends rather than going to school or getting schoolwork done,” he says. “I was there because I had to be there.”

Once he graduated from high school, he got a part-time job and moved out of his parents’ house. The realities of supporting himself made the road to college rockier. Now it was harder to manage the application process, and he had to finance his education on a small salary.

How he overcame it 

Giovanni decided to attend a community college. The smaller class sizes and lower tuition were two selling points. “I saw that community college would be [a better fit] for my lifestyle,” he says.

With the help of his mother and the college’s financial aid office, he applied for financial aid. “I had them put me in the right direction, [telling me] exactly what I needed to put down on the form, and who I needed to turn it in to, and how or when I would get approved,” he says.

Giovanni qualified for a subsidized Stafford Loan to help pay for his tuition and books. His parents pitched in, too.

Life at college 

Giovanni works as a clerk for a law firm during the day. It’s demanding, but the job has benefits beyond a paycheck. “I meet new people every day,” he says. “I’ve expanded my social skills and gained a lot of other skills while working here.

After he leaves work in the evening, he attends class. His days are long, but he finds inspiration by reaching out to others who are in the same situation.

Giovanni meets regularly with his college adviser to make sure he stays on track to transfer to a four-year college. He plans to major in psychology before earning his Ph.D. in the field. “Working at a law office really opened my eyes to just how far college can take you,” he says.

Giovanni's typical day

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His days are long, but Giovanni finds inspiration from other college students who, like him, are living on their own and supporting themselves.

AM / PM

9am Day Begins: Giovanni wakes up, eats breakfast and gets ready for his job at a law firm.

10am Arrive at Work: Filing and helping the receptionist are some of Giovanni’s duties. “Working at a law office really opened my eyes to just how far college can take you,” he says.

6pm Work Day Ends: Giovanni drives to his classes at the community college.

7pm Class Time: His favorite class right now is English, but he hopes to major in psychology at a four-year college.

10pm Arrive Home: If there’s a test coming up, Giovanni studies. Otherwise, he relaxes before going to bed.

If you're like Giovanni

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