Sometimes, the best stories for us to share with the UConn community are those closest to home! With fall classes in full swing, and the economy still greatly impacting some families, private support is fulfilling the dream of a college degree for students like Kim. This note really touched me and reinforced the importance of what we do.
This past year has been a constant roller-coaster ride for everyone in my family. I have never felt the financial strains that my parents have to deal with until just recently. My parents were always good with making sure I had everything I needed and sometimes wanted regardless of financial circumstances. However, when my mom and sister moved to North Carolina so my mom can have a steady job, things went downhill. When my dad finally joined my mom in North Carolina, the financial stress became so apparent because my dad could not find a job. I lost my fabulous health care and dental insurance, and while I had a part-time job here in Connecticut, it was becoming hard to keep up with cell phone payments, gas, and full-priced prescription drugs. Needless to say, things were getting hard for me. I was working maybe 8 hours a week at my retail job and it was never enough to be able to help my mom until my dad could find a job. So there would be months my phone account would get suspended because of failure to pay, credit card companies calling for payments, car maintenance and no gas in my car to get to my little job off-campus. It broke my heart to take money from my mom because I knew how much she needed it for bills. I recall a time when my mom called me and told me her direct deposit was soaked up by an overdraft fee and she had no money, so I gave her my whole $150 retail check. My life seriously became the classic “living paycheck to paycheck” kind of deal.
However, this year was definitely a blessing for me and my family. I got a receptionist job on campus at the UConn Foundation (no gas, no commuting) that I always wanted; I was able to pay all my bills alone and even pocket some money to save and help my parents. But then I found out I would not be receiving my last loan and my world turned completely upside down. I loved being a Husky and worked very hard to maintain good academics through everything I was going through; I didn’t want it to end before I even got started. I was afraid that because I could not meet my tuition for my last semester I would not be able to finish my UConn education. My mom and I tried every alternative to get more money for school, but it wasn’t looking good.
THANK GOD for the people I work with here at the Foundation. I honestly have not met more genuine people in all my life. Through a conversation with my supervisor, I discovered that the Foundation and the Division of Student Affairs had created a fund for donors to support students in situations similar to mine. Through an online application, I was able to nominate myself for an award from the “Students First Fund.” I was also nominated by my supervisor for this award. The same week of my application, I was told I had received a scholarship that would cover the balance owed on my tuition. Not only did I receive this award, I also found out my dad got a full-time job. Things are definitely looking up for me now. I am so relieved to still be at school for my last semester and I really want to make Lynda Waldron, Becky McEnery and my Foundation family proud!