Thursday, June 6, 2013

How a college education became this fighter’s lifeline

PROUD: Antonia Abrams is graduating
with her bachelor's degree
With Commencement 2013 fast approaching, we’ve been hearing inspiring stories from some of our graduates about what their Peirce experience has been like and how earning their college degrees will change their lives. We wanted to share a few of their stories with our blog audience. Read on for Antonia Abrams, who has earned her bachelor’s degree in our Business Administration program, telling her college story in her own words.
“My journey at Peirce has been a bittersweet path. It has been filled with many joys, some sorrows, suffering, and growth. However, through much of this, I have had my Peirce family.
Upon first entering Peirce so many years ago (over a decade now), I was in the process of leaving an abusive relationship. I was a new young single mother. I didn’t really have an income but I knew continuing my education was paramount in my life—not only for myself, but for my son.
I was such a fragile being when I began my walk with Peirce College. I was told I was worthless and a screw up. The sad part is that I had begun to believe it and it showed. The Walker Center helped me to see that there was still a small spark inside of me, and they turned it into a roaring fire.
I soaked up all of the workshops. I learned how to be a better student, how to organize and prioritize. I began participating in the Leadership Retreats and the field trips. This literally saved my life and my academic career. It encouraged me to be a better student and a better person. Professionally I became a better employee because of the valuable lessons I learned and because of my coursework. 
Peirce College and the Walker Center provided me with the tools necessary for me to focus, do my best, and become successful. It still was not smooth sailing for me though. When I went to complete my final course nearly seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. 
It seemed like something harmless to me in the beginning. I thought I could take a pill and get back to my life. I had just started a great job, had my sights set on graduate school, and was already applying for upcoming promotions. However, I was wrong. I found myself in the hospital for two weeks and things only declined from there. 
My plan was to finish Peirce on a high note. I just did not anticipate the high would be so far off into the future. The saying “better late than never” truly applies to my academic career. I have spent much of the last three years in the hospital and my focus had to temporarily shift to focusing on my recovery—but I never lost sight of my academic and professional goals. 
Over the course of my journey at the College, there have been a few courses that I’ve had to repeat and without shame because I learned at Peirce to never give up on my personal, professional, and academic goals. Though I’ve been too ill over the last three years to secure gainful employment, I have completed my final courses and paid for them out of my pocket. I may have had many detours, but I’m proud of my accomplishments. 
I am currently enrolled in a graduate program in Marriage Family Counseling, concentrating on Trauma and Crisis counseling. God has brought me a mighty long way academically, personally, professionally, mentally, and physically. Dear God I’m here and I made it!!!!”
We’re so proud of you, Antonia! Keep your eyes on the blog for more graduate stories leading up to Commencement!