Well, we’re still plugging away at getting this thing launched. It’s funny how paperwork always takes so much longer than expected. I was hoping to start fundraising beginning of May and now it’s mid-July. I guess dreams don’t come true overnight and I have the rest of my life to keep chipping away at this.
We’re Still Here
When I was in college in San Diego, I couldn’t apply for Financial Aid without having my parents fill out a section of the application. The system considers the parents responsible for their child’s education until they’re 24 (or until they’re married or have children). My decision to leave the Amish and go to college was obviously not what my parents had wished for me and I did not want to disrespect them by asking them to fill out the paperwork, so for the first three years I did not get any financial help. I know there is special paperwork you can fill out to try to become exempt from that rule, but my financial aid counselor told me that is usually for students who simply do not see their parents anymore, which did not apply to me. I encourage you to give it a shot if you are in that situation and I hope we can raise awareness of a flaw in the system in this case.
During this time I had many friends who were quite upset that I couldn’t get any financial help since I did not have the opportunity to finish high school and didn’t have parental support. They assured me that there must be scholarship funds available for people like me and I spent a lot of time searching for them, but I never found any. I would like to ask all of you Amish people who struggled financially through college, did you spend time googling “Amish Scholarships”? I sure did.
But it wasn’t till my graduation day that it really hit me. I was sitting with my classmates; the gym had been converted for the Economics department’s graduation ceremony and I felt a little lost in the sea of caps and gowns. It felt so strange knowing that my time at SDSU was over and every time I looked up at the seats holding my loved ones; my boyfriend who flew in all the way from London, my dear cousins from Missouri and many wonderful friends from San Diego, I was filled with love, but also sadness because I saw all the families together and mine wasn’t there. It was probably the most bittersweet day of my life.
Anyway, I thought back over my years studying and how much I grew and found myself during my time there and I was so indescribably grateful that I had been given that opportunity. I promised myself that day that I would start a scholarship fund for others who grew up Amish and had the dream of going to college. I had felt frustrated before that out of all the scholarships available in America, the Amish had been completely overlooked but on my graduation day I realized that it is our responsibility to create it. And I know that once we do, the rest of the world will join in and help support it.
So, even though this has been dragging on for a while, we’re still here and we have every intention of sticking with it. I had hoped to launch earlier but I’m very happy with our progress and still excited about the end goal. Thanks for being patient.