Author: Ashley Aguilar, TCU Student, Fall 2014
I believe in not being a statistic, and overcoming those stereotypes that are placed upon oneself because of those statistics.
The statistic I face is the one that says “fewer than 2 percent of young mothers will finish college by age 30.” Or, the one that says “young women who give birth while attending a community college are 65 percent less likely to complete their degree than women who do not have children during that time.”
I am a young mother. I have a son named Nolan who is absolutely everything in my life. He was unplanned, unexpected, and unwelcomed by many people in my family. I was constantly being told how difficult it would be to finish school with a baby, and how I would never be able to achieve my dreams. At that time, I was enrolled in a local community college, unsure of what my next move would be. I tried to put on a brave face and say that I had a plan. However, the truth was that I did not know what I wanted to be, where I wanted to go, and how I was going to achieve my goals while also being a mother. Its like once you become a mother, you are only allowed to be a mother. You cannot have goals and dreams, and if you do they will be placed on the backburner. However, I refused to believe that. I wanted to be a mother, and a student. I still had dreams, and goals, and a future in my mind that I knew I still wanted to live. The only difference was that my future was no longer solely my own, but also my son’s. What really pushed and motivated me though, was the idea that my decisions no longer affected only me but also affected my son, because now not only am I a statistic but he is too. His statistics state that “only about two-thirds of children born to young mothers earn a high school diploma, compared to 81 percent of their peers with older parents,” or “children of young mothers perform worse on many measures of school readiness, and are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade.” I refuse to allow society to pre-determine my son’s and my future. However, the only way I can overcome those statistics is by working hard, completing my degree, and creating a life for us that has, up until I had come to TCU, seemed unimaginable.
I want my son to see that our future’s may be pre-determined by society and the data they have collected, but that does not mean that we have to coincide to those numbers. I want him to see that success is achieved through hard work, and perseverance, and that he too can overcome any difficulties.