This past semester, one of our scholarship receipents, MaKayla, went through some major changes that brought with them some adversity.
First, she changed schools and enrolled in classes full-time at UMSL (University of Missouri - St. Louis) due to financial constraints. This was a significant move because she was just getting settled in at SLU (Saint Louis University) and having to start all over again somewhere new is always a challenge.
She subsequently failed her first college class during her initial semester at UMSL, something not even I can claim has never happened to me…
But college isn’t supposed to be the “perfect” experience, is it? It’s a time when we are given the freedom to fail and learn from those missteps while the consequences may not be as irreparable as they are once we enter the workforce. And that’s what I see as the most important aspect of this: that she understands what actions lead to the failure and makes the necessary adjustments to hopefully avoid any future bruises to her academic career.
On a lighter note, MaKayla has somehow found the time between classes and TWO full time jobs to build new relationships with those she’s meeting at UMSL.
“I was afraid that I wouldn’t be helpful, and I was even more afraid that she wouldn’t like me. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be for Mary.” - MaKayla S.
Read her full essay below about the impact MaKayla felt from this new individual and how it’s helping her along the I Do It For Her path to become someone better than you ever though possible , all thanks to your donations!
This semester, I was given the opportunity to be a personal assistant to someone (let’s call her Mary) who has autism. When I was first asked to help Mary, I was a bit apprehensive, because I have always preferred to work with small children, but my excitement for a new opportunity overthrew my hesitation. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be helpful, and I was even more afraid that she wouldn’t like me. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be for Mary. Some of my responsibilities included reminding her to take her meds, helping/reminding her to keep her hygiene together, helping her wash clothes and clean her room, and making sure she was overall taking care of herself in the best way she knew how.
Throughout the semester I slipped up, sometimes I would forget to remind her of her meds. Other times I would be tired from working and push back the date we set to wash her clothes or clean her room. I even went a few days this semester without checking on her at all. During midterms, I was under so much stress, but not once did I have the idea to stop being Mary’s personal assistant. I wanted to continue to help and make sure she had all of the necessary resources she needed to be the best student possible while attending UMSL. I didn’t think about it at the time, but my willingness to stay with Mary is the only confirmation I needed to continue my college career as a social work major.
Since I started college, I’ve been 70% about what I want to do with my future: I loved the course work related to social work and sociology, and I love volunteering. But I was never given the opportunity to put myself in an exact situation that models a social worker’s career. Being a personal assistant isn’t the best model, but it does give me a better idea of what it’s like to be needed and how demanding certain needs can be. I am able to say that I believe I can handle this demand very well and it only solidified my goals and aspirations for the future. Mary doesn’t know it but being my roommate and allowing me to be her personal assistant has helped me be more confident in my studies and step out of my comfort zone to learn more about the teenage demographic.