Meet Stephanie

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 Stephanie

 

It was easier than I thought it would be.
Stephanie explains the value of the FAFSA.
My father did not want to help me. (00:31)
Stephanie talks about the lack of support from her father.
My father did not want to help me.
Now Playing
It was easier than I thought it would be. (00:37)
Stephanie explains the value of the FAFSA.
It was easier than I thought it would be.
Now Playing
I wasn’t tired but I’d sleep in class. (00:52)
Stephanie regrets dropping out of high school.
I wasn’t tired but I’d sleep in class.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Junior
Major
Nutrition
Family income
$20,000–$40,000
College path
Transferred from a two-year college to a four-year university
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$8,690
Financial aid received
State academic scholarship, Federal Pell Grant
Favorite book
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Stephanie had trouble with academics and lacked focus in high school. Things looked up after she started applying herself at an alternative school, but then she was confronted with the cost of college.
Her obstacle 

In tenth grade, Stephanie was unhappy; she was dissatisfied with her friends and doing poorly in class. She decided to drop out of school and move to Hollywood to become an actress. Her mother did not take the news well. “It turned into a very volatile argument,” Stephanie remembers. “I left the house for a while.”

Once she was on her own, Stephanie began to think dropping out was a mistake. “It was weird, it was lonely and it was scary,” she says, “because I realized I had just done something that could affect me for the rest of my life.”

How she overcame it 

After two months, she and her mother settled on a solution: Stephanie would take classes at an alternative high school, with her sights set on going to college. First, she needed to concentrate on her schoolwork. She had not been challenged at her old school, but the new setting made a difference.

“When I started the alternative school, I gained a sense of pride about taking control of my education,” Stephanie says. “I was there because I wanted to be there. I formed relationships with many of my teachers and felt a sense of belonging. School wasn’t such a chore; I enjoyed going and I became really attentive.” By the time she graduated, Stephanie had a 3.3 GPA — good enough to get into a number of colleges.

When it came time to choose a school, she decided to attend a community college her first two years since it was less expensive. Because she'd improved her grades, she received an academic scholarship that covered her tuition. She lived at home with her mother and worked full time to pay for additional expenses like books.

Life at college 

After completing her degree at community college, Stephanie applied to a four-year university that boasted a respected nutrition program. She credits community college with “broadening her horizons,” by helping her to see a greater variety of opportunities and inspiring her interest in nutrition.

About her major, Stephanie says, “It’s the most fascinating thing I’ve ever done. It interests me that people don’t know how they’re fueling their bodies, and I want to help them with that.”

Stephanie’s timeline

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