I started out as the good girl in school, but things changed when I was a freshman in high school. I fell in with the wrong crowd, started to skip classes and abused alcohol. I saw my mother cry and could hear her praying for me every night. That started to sink in. It was my wake up call to start a new life.
Sophomore year, I decided to push myself every day. I took two advanced placement courses and my grades started to improve. I graduated on time with a 3.8 GPA and got accepted into Western Washington University. I could not have been any prouder of myself. I was planning on majoring in Psychology at WWU and felt like I was building a bright future for myself. Then, because of financial issues, I could not attend. This didn’t discourage me. I started to look for alternatives when someone told me about Year Up. I had nothing to lose. I met all of the requirements and I was ready for another challenge.
During Year Up, I gained skills that are essential to building a career. I learned how to fix computers and be an effective communicator. The hardest part of the program was trying to wrap my head around my IT class, but I paid close attention and studied hard until it all made sense. My advisor’s positive attitude helped me to keep on going. He made me feel that nothing could stop me from reaching my full potential.
When I started my internship at Liberty Mutual I knew the people I was going to work with had much more experience than I had. It wasn’t the work that made me nervous, but being in an environment where everyone was older than me was intimidating. I was surprised to learn that the people on my floor were extremely supportive. I got along with everyone, and soon started to get nice emails from people I hadn’t even met. The most important thing I learned is to always come in with a positive attitude and understand that things will go wrong, but there is always a solution.
After graduating from Year Up, I got hired at Liberty Mutual Surety and felt like a professional who had just finished a five-year college career. Who would ever know that I gained professional skills and got hired at a huge company thanks to a one-year program? I couldn’t even believe it, but it felt great being able to complete the program.
One thing I would tell other young adults is that our past does not define who we are or who we will become. That no matter how you think of yourself now, this program can turn your life around in just one year. Opportunities come and go, but if you have one now you should take it. Year Up was a one-time opportunity that I will never regret taking.