My name is Jaime and I could really use your help. I am a 36-year old college student who wants to obtain a doctorate degree. I graduate in June with my AA in General Studies and still have so long to go! I'm taking a gap year, but need to start paying off my loans now to reduce interest. Here are some key points about me and my educational goals:
- Have a 3.8 GPA, with all 4.0 course grades since returning to college in 2013
- Graduating with AA degree in June 2016
- Transferring to a 4-year college with the ultimate goal of obtaining doctorate in Audiology
- Member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
- Named to Dean's List for several semesters
- Inwardly motivated, driven, committed, ambitious student and administrative professional
- Learning American Sign Language
- Not qualified for Pell Grant and many scholarships/grants
- Total expected cost of education is at least $100,000, which does not include living expenses
I am an ambitious, non-traditional college student just 3 classes away from graduating with an AA degree. My next step is a bachelors and then a clinical doctorate in Audiology. I am also including coursework in American Sign Language and diversity. Currently, I have a 3.78 GPA, have been named to the dean's list several semesters, and am a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
My Educational Plan
I am three classes away from finishing my AA in General Studies. In the Fall of 2013, I went back to college to complete my AA, a necessary step to ensure my previously earned credits transfer to a four year university.
This is just the first step in a long journey. After graduation from community college, the next step is transfer to a four year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
The last step is the longest leg of my journey - a clinical doctorate in Audiology. I am looking at 6 to 8 more years of college, but am excited for and committed to the path before me.
Why Help Me?
Help me make a difference. Help me to change lives. Help me to graduate from college and become the only person in my immediate family to do so.
As an audiologist, I will be able to help a mother hear her baby say their first words, enable a husband to hear his wife of decades say "I love you” again, allow a child with hearing loss thrive in school, provide the means for a police officer to protect his hearing on the firing range, treat vertigo, or provide relief to a tinnitus sufferer. My focus will see outside of clinical practice to the political, legal, logistic, and societal challenges faced by audiologists and their patients.
Financially, this degree choice is an expensive undertaking. To date, I have not qualified for the Pell Grant or much in the way of institutional and private scholarships and grants. I have had to bridge the gap with student loans. This gap will be much larger when I become a graduate student.
Once I graduate with my doctorate, I will be heavily in student loan debt. Right now, I am working full time (I've been in my position for 8 years) and focusing on paying off my car and other bills and sending aside a rainy day fund in preparation for the inevitability of reduced income as I advance my education. Audiology doctorate programs are full time, demanding, and competitive. Working full time will not be an option.
My Aspirations for the Future
At 35 years old, this is a tremendous leap of faith; however, I am determined and focused. I'm older than Audiologists who have been practicing for 10 years, but I have finally found my calling. After several years working for an audiology practice, I know what I want to be when I grow up.
As an audiologist, I want to:
- Raise awareness about the social, emotional, and cognitive effects of hearing loss on the elderly
- Help those with tinnitus, dizziness, and adult onset hearing loss
- Advocate for proper hearing protection to prevent noise induced hearing loss
- Stress the importance of baseline and routine audiologic evaluations as part of a preventative health program
- Help musicians with their unique and demanding audiologic, noise protection, and listening needs
- Ensure that children with hearing loss succeed and thrive
- Be a resource for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, an audiologist they can trust to help with their specific needs and who understands that Deaf is an identity and a culture
- Give back to the profession through participation with national and local academies
- Do pro-bono audiologic care for at risk populations
I started my education after high school, taking one class per semester. My ex-husband and I were married when I was 23. Shortly thereafter, he was injured in an accident and I was forced to stop taking classes to care for him and work a part-time job. Eventually my ex returned to work and I planned to return to college to finish my business management degree. Before I had the chance, my marriage ended under sudden and traumatic circumstances and my life was thrown into financial and emotional turmoil.
I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and fought hard to dig myself out of the rubble that was left after my divorce. During that time, I was diagnosed with a chronic health condition that makes life a little interesting, but doesn’t slow me down. I know this isn't a unique tale, but I am proud of how far I have come in 5 short years. It was during that time that I made the decision to change my educational goals and pursue a career as an Audiologist.
My biggest cheerleader is my fiancé. He supports my educational and professional goals 100%. On July 5, 2014 he nearly died from severe bilateral pulmonary embolism, but together we made the decision that I should continue with my education. I started the Fall 2014 semester on time. There were times I was doing homework at a hospital bedside or in a doctor’s waiting room, but I never missed a single assignment deadline or class and achieved straight A’s.
I'm telling you about me and my journey so that you might understand how committed and motivated I am to my goal of becoming an Audiologist. I don't want pity, but rather to give you a glimpse of who you would be helping by donating to this campaign. I've had to overcome a lot to get where I am today and refuse to let myself down.
I am an optimistic realist who understands exactly what I have signed up for. I have a strong work ethic, passion for learning, and intense motivation to succeed. With or without assistance, my educational and professional goals
Thank you for your consideration. The generosity of donors like you make an astronomical difference for students like me. Rest assured that an investment in my future will be used to its maximum potential and is appreciated more than mere words could ever convey.