Michele Mosley 15K Success Story
School: University of Louisville
Put in the work. It’s a simple sentiment, but it’s the backbone for Michele Mosley’s approach to both her life and education. “Sometimes I wondered, ‘Am I going to get there?’ ” she says of her educational voyage. “But I keep pushing.”
Success in school didn’t always come easily to Michele, 26. Setbacks in her grades, compounded by moving frequently, served only to discourage her in her academic journey. In fact, Michele didn’t initially believe attending college was an attainable goal. “You know in middle school they ask who wants to go to college, but I didn’t really ever raise my hand,” she explains. “I wanted to go… but my grades weren’t good, so I didn’t know how I was going to do that.”
Struggling through high school, Michele doubted herself. “I don’t even know if school is for me,” she recalls thinking. Michele realizes that her issues in school stemmed from not having access to educational resources. She was self-conscious about not having enough money to pay for a school uniform. She didn’t know the first thing about college preparation or the application process. And her unstable living situation only added to those anxieties.
But it was around this time that Michele found someone who would help her to unlock her potential, and in the process, a strong work ethic. She began attending an alternative school, Ahrens Educational Resource Center. It was there that Michele met Mr. Beauchamp, one of her teachers.
Her instructor became a resource for educational information as well as encouragement. He introduced her to the fact that grants and scholarships were available for her if she wanted to attend college, which she previously had not known. Knowing that, Michele was now resolved to begin her college career.
Her next step may not have been a typical route to postsecondary learning, but Michele’s newfound confidence drove her forward. She discovered Jefferson Community and Technical College would accept her with a general educational development (GED) certificate. “I thought about it for a week, and I was like, ‘I’m dropping out. I want to go to college.’ ”
Armed with her GED, Michele applied, was accepted, and entered courses at JCTC. She was now a college student.
Still, Michele’s situation remained uncertain. She continued to move frequently within her first year at JCTC, and the instability of her living situation began to take its toll on her performance. Something had to give. Michele decided she needed to drop out for the time being. “It was just overwhelming. I needed a break,” she said. “I moved out on my own. I stopped going to college, and then I just re-evaluated myself and my situation and what I wanted to do in life.”
Though she desired a four-year degree, the realities of the cost of a permanent place to live came first. So she decided to go to work full-time. She worked as a certified nursing assistant for several years, but she always kept her ultimate goal in mind. During her time away from school she worked long hours, often 60 to 70 hour weeks, in order to pay for a place to live as well as pay off her debts to JCTC.
Three years later, she returned to school, this time at Ivy Tech Community College.
Michele says it was at Ivy Tech where she really blossomed as a student. She found herself an educational home on the Sellersburg campus. “It was great,” she says of her time at Ivy Tech. “The teachers there are great because they’re more interpersonal.”
Michele said the smaller class sizes helped her to connect with her instructors and establish a sturdy platform from which to work. “They try to get to know us while they’re teaching us.”
Even after giving birth to her son, Jeremiah, while at Ivy Tech, Michele knew she had to keep going. During that time, she thought to herself, “I’ve got to finish, whatever it takes.” Though she was now caring for Jeremiah on top of attending classes, Michele continued to strive towards her educational goals. That same semester she had her son, she ended with two Bs and two Cs. “I was like, ‘Dang, I didn’t even know I could do all that,’,” she recounts now.
Eventually, she graduated with her associate degree in human sciences and was ready for her next challenge. Now a junior at the University of Louisville, Michele is nearing her degree in psychology. It’s been an up-and-down journey, but her hard work is paying off.
Looking back, Mr. Beauchamp had planted the seed for a confidence and work ethic that Michele continues to cultivate even now. It is that drive that motivates Michele to make time for others, even while she does school work and cares for Jeremiah. She has made it a priority to volunteer, with her personal experiences informing her as she assists children in need and gaining valuable experience and networks. “I just try to provide nurturing,” she says of her role. “I want to help any child in poverty.”
Michele was awarded a 15,000 Degrees scholarship as she was transferring to U of L. The award has given her flexibility financially and the ability to save for other expenses. “If I have money before the semester starts, I can go online and rent books or buy them cheaper so I can save some money,” she explains. Money she has saved as a result has helped improve her footing.
With her motivation and work ethic intact, a stable situation was the final, missing piece to her success. “That’s what I needed the whole time: stability,” Michele says. “I needed it so I could do (well) in school.”