Sawvel: Life in the REAL world, Part 1

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Sawvel: Life in the REAL world, Part 1

Our very own Jamie Sawvel

Our very own Jamie Sawvel

Matthew McWilliams

Our very own Jamie Sawvel

Matthew McWilliams

Matthew McWilliams

Our very own Jamie Sawvel

Jamie Sawvel, Staff Writer

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As a returning education adult learner (REAL), I have already been through a lot more in my life than the average teenage freshman that is entering college for the first time. I am a 43-year-old divorced mother of three, step-mother of two, and grandmother to five. I go to school full-time, work as a tutor in the TRiO lab, and also have another job on the weekends as a karaoke dj and bartender. Over the next few months I will be writing installments about my life and how it really is for someone in my shoes.

I have worked hard all of my life to get what I have today. It may not be much to some people, but I am proud of what I have accomplished. I have had some help when I needed it, but it did not mean that I was or am lazy and wanted a hand out.

Yes, I am attending school because I get a Pell grant; I am not ashamed of that. Because if it was not for the help I am getting now I would be in a low paying hourly job struggling to make ends meet and not seeing a way out. At least that is the way I felt before I came back to school. I have worked at many jobs. I have been a road worker, spot welder, office assistant, home health assistant, donut maker, gas station attendant, cashier at a grocery store, and also a medical transcriptionist. But with each of those jobs I always wanted more but I felt that I could not make it in school if I did not have a job to take care of my kids.

So I told myself that when my children became teenagers and were old enough to take care of themselves at home, I would go back to school. I did attend college for one semester here at Frank Phillips in 1990, but I really don’t think that my heart was in it. I was an eighteen-year-old who wanted to have fun and not worry about school, and looking back on that now I wish I would have stayed in school because I would not have had to struggle the way I did and go from job to job.

I returned to college in spring of 2014. I had been out of school for 24 years and thought that I was going to stick out like a sore thumb along with the teenagers who are attending, but I soon found out that I had a lot of classmates that were closer to my age than I realized, and that made it so much easier to transition into the life of a REAL student.

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Sawvel: Life in the REAL world, Part 1