Stories of Lives Changed
†ďHaving ChoicesĒ† -† Sharlene
To know that you can go out there and get that degree and you can,
You got something you can show the world.
ďLook, I did this and I did it well.Ē It does help your confidence.
††††††††††† I actually quit got married, quit in the ninth grade and got married and had Amelia and then I had Shane and then I got a divorce and started working in the factories and got re-married and had Angie and was still working in factories and uh, I didnít really thing anything about a GED cause the factories didnít require one, you could get a factory job without a GED but when Tennessee River shut, down they went to Mexico, so when it didnít leave you with any little jobs to go to itís pretty devastating, I mean you donít know where youíre going, you donít know what youíre gonna do, and you got kids here and you got a family and I think itís tougher to go to family than it is to go to like a state agency or something cause I never did ask family for help, we just toughed our way through it.† I just made the decision and did it.† [Silence] I had to do something, I mean, there was no more factories so, it was either go back to school or find something that was absolutely hard labor and I decided that I wanted to do something different so I needed a GED.† And I had actually went and taken my GED before I was approved to take my GED.† I had went on ahead and paid for it and took it and got it and uh, had actually signed up for college whenever they had told me they could pay for a GED and I was like I already got it.† That was okay, and then they went on ahead and helped me with mileage back and forth to college and it was a great big help.†
Well I was married at the time and he was working days so I had classes on Monday and Wednesday from eight in the morning till nine at night and Tuesday and Thursday I was just there at the college in the day time so I wasnít at home at night.† I was at home on weekends but they had two nights a week they had to eat daddyís cookiní so it was one of those little things.† They were happy they were like, ďmy momís going to college.Ē† But I think that what they learned if anything they learned to do it while theyíre young.† Before theyíre married and have kids I hope they learn that anyway cause maybe they saw how hard it was on me.
Going back to school after twelve years is a big obstacle.† You got a lot of adjustments so make.† I mean doing homework at 28 you know youíre sitting there at one oíclock in the morning doing algebra and youíre like what am I doing this for I could be asleep.† But you do it and you make your grades and you do the best you can.† I was more interested in it, it meant something to me, where when I was in ninth grade it was just something you have to do, get up and go to school.† But when I went back and got my GED I actually tried to make good grades.† I cared about whether or not I passed.† I cared about whether or not I got the information I needed.† Itís different.† Where my momma didnít really push homework and she didnít push school, they go to school and they get their homework done.† Hopefully they will do better than what I did, more differently.
When you get done with whatever training youíre taking, you get to that job and you know what youíre doing, and you are making a good living for your family, and youíre not having to depend on the state for anything, itís worth it.
I write business solutions for computers; Iím a computer programmer, my income, my income more than doubled.† I can provide my children with college if they want it, which I hope they will.† Provide them with a good living now.† I have a good job, I donít work at a labor job, and I work in an office environment, which helps me a lot.† But um, really it just helps your confidence, to know that you can go out there and get that degree, and you got sense and you can show the world look I did this, and I did it well, it does help your confidence.
The only person that can stop you is you.† If I need help, Iíll ask for it.† If you need help ask for it, if you donít ask you donít get helped.† Itís that simple.† If you donít ask anybody else when you need help.† When you ask somebody for help, you donít lessen your independence, youíre just getting another opinion even from a group like Families First.† Theyíll give you different choices, and you choose [silence].† If you choose to go back to school or if you choose to get your GED or if you choose to get some sort of intermediate job training, they give you the choices and you get to choose [silence], but itís not a you have to do this one particular thing.† You have choices.† Three years ago I never would have thought, you know, a week before the plant had shut down I never would have thought Iíd be here in three years.† I thought I was going to be married forever and raise my children and it doesnít always work out that way.† If I hadnít of gone to work at McDonalds they would have had extras but how would they get to college?† So I, I thought about the long run and they are going to have better because I thought about the long run.