School is something that comes really naturally to me. I think it’s because I lived in such a turbulent household. I learned to really read people, read emotions, read what people wanted. School was how I got attention at home. When I was a kid, getting A’s and blue ribbons was how I got my love and affection and attention, so I was very good in school.

Even though I was dropping out of school, it wasn’t because I wasn’t good at it. I was just a really lost kid.

Despite my academic talent, I really didn’t have any intention of going to college, since I was out of high school for a few years and barely graduated in the first place. After living on my own for a while and not making much progress in my life or being very productive, I luckily got back in contact with my grandma who gave me the chance to go back to school. My grandma paid off my car, my first semester tuition, and my first year room and bored and she literally enrolled me in college. She was like “you’re going to school,” so I went to University of Texas at El Paso.

After that, my grandma could no longer support me financially and I had to figure it out. I was so afraid to let her down, that I studied my brains out. Even though I hadn’t been in school for two years and really didn’t have a high school education, I pulled out a four point GPA that semester. My grandmother then took me into the scholUTEParship office and told the director, Dr. Tom Chism, that I was a lost child worthy of an investment. Dr. Chism told us that they didn’t give out scholarships mid-year, but since somebody lost their scholarship at the end of the fall, I was able to get one semester paid for right there. But in order to receive this money, I had to not only keep my grades up, but also become involved in the fabric of the school. Dr. Chism literally wrote me out a list of various things to get involved with, like the public programs office, the honor society, and all this other stuff. I did everything he told me to do and did really well in school so I eventually received a scholarship for the rest of my education. In addition to school, I was also working to pay for the rest of my expenses. I’ve always had a couple of jobs, but school was always something that came very naturally to me and was a way to keep myself on the right path. I was only able to get by on my own because I had people like my grandma who stepped in when I needed them most and reminded me of the importance of education.