Janni's Education Fund
My story - the very highly abridged version - is like this:
I went for most of my life with very severe, undiagnosed learning disabilities (ADHD, Dyslexia, etc...) as well as high functioning autism. I barely made it out of high school with a high D grade point average, BUT... I tried and failed many times at doing the university thing. SO many times I would try to go back to college and each time I would crash and burn. Each time, I became more and more convinced that I was merely just stupid. Each time, I also used up more and more of my lifetime allotment for US Financial Aid. Jump ahead a couple of decades to when I was finally diagnosed... then, armed with some great tools to help me succeed in my educational endeavours, I went back to school once more at a local community college and graduated SUMMA CUM LAUDE with an Associate of Arts degree in Theatre Arts! I wasn't stupid after all! My passion is Shakespeare, so I wanted to go to England and study in the place where Shakespeare lived. In doing my research for programmes of interest, I would find out, too, that university costs are lower in England than in the United States. Additionally, they offer "combination degrees" in the UK, so I could major in Drama and English Literature (my two loves...)
I applied to the University of Greenwich, London, UK after a lot of research, talking to the department head of my selected programme, etc... and was offered an unconditional place on the SECOND YEAR of the BA (Hons) Drama and English Literature course! (Bachelor's Degree programmes in the UK are three years long and they gave me credit for the first year since I had completed my Associates Degree already.)
My roadblocks to making it happen? Well, there are three, actually.
1.) I have hit my lifetime allotment for available US Financial Aid (in other words, I cannot get any help with funding from the US Government like most students can.)
2.) Because I had kidney cancer in 2009 (thankfully I beat it, and am doing well now) and was uninsured, my medical debt has ruined what was once good credit - and so I cannot take out a private loan for my education either. They all would require a co-signer and I just don't have anyone able to do that for me... and aside from that, it's a HUGE DEAL to ask someone to do it - such an imposition!
3.) Scholarships, you say? Yeah - looked into that, too. Because of my mature age, my chosen major, or where I am studying... there's just nothing for which I am eligible. I've applied for the ones I have found (I can count on one hand the ones I was eligible for) but was unsuccessful. Had I been majoring in Math, Science, Business, Medicine, etc... there would be an ocean of scholarships out there... but there's just no love for the Humanities, I'm afraid. It's sad, too... because the world needs people to teach these subjects! (That's what I actually want to do...)
However... I had worked too hard and I had come so far... I had to get past the roadblocks. Miraculously, for the FIRST year of study, with the help of very dear friends who basically donated the funds to see me through my innagural year - I was able to get myself to England to attend my 2015-2016 year at the University of Greenwich. I am eternally grateful to all who have donated towards making my dream a reality, and to all who have supported me by sharing my link, offering words of advice, prayers, and other supportive measures.
Sept. 21, 2015, I started in the BA (hons) Drama and English Literature programme at the university. I've just completed the year, and have done well! I just have ONE MORE YEAR LEFT and I will have my degree!
I am trying my best to find part-time work which will work around my school schedule (I am only allowed 20 hours per week on a student visa, or 35 hours out of term time - such as summer and holidays,) as well as be something for which I am suited. (Having autism, that makes some jobs more difficult than others.) I have found THREE part-time jobs working for the university, but they don't provide many hours, I'm afraid. I'm VERY thankful for them, however, because they will provide me with what I hope will be some amazing opportunities to build skills and to network. I am still seeking a fourth part-time job though.
So I WILL be working hard towards trying to fund my final year of my BA programme, but I know it will not be enough. That's why I am fundraising (yet again.)
I feel like such a beggar... but I have to do what I need to in order to finish what I've started. I've come SO far, and I just want to equip myself with the knowledge, credentials, and life experience to be able to support myself after I've finished my educational endeavors.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped me and who have been so supportive of me - in SO many ways (moneywise and everything else...) I appreciate you all like you'll probably never know.
Love and Hugs,
Meanwhile, I am still trying to raise the last bit towards my tuition for the upcoming year. I cannot believe the summer's flying past, with only a couple of months until the term begins. Please, everyone... I know many of you have shared my link and/or donated... and I really appreciate it more than you'll ever know. If you could continue to share with your networks, I would be ever so grateful. I feel like I'm so close. It's going to be tight this next year... with my accommodation not paid for, and me depending on a part time job to pay the rent, it will mean a lot of sleepless nights getting my schoolwork done... but this is my last year and then I will have my degree! It's been such a battle... but I'm SOOOOOO close. Please consider helping me get the word out?
As always - thank you, and loads of love to all...
My plan is to find another part time job. One in which I can get an assured 20 hours per week making at least 8 pounds an hour. If I can DO that, then I can pay for my accommodation monthly, provided I can work it out with the accommodation people here - which I think I can probably do.
I don't want people to think that I am not doing anything towards raising the money on my own. Just so everyone knows - I currently have THREE part-time jobs. I work as a student ambassador, and I am also employed in the university's casual pool. Those two jobs do not provide me with a regular schedule of hours though. My other job is just for the summer, and I am working as a Domestic Assistant at one of our other campuses. Basically, I am deep cleaning student rooms all summer. It's grueling and dirty work, every day (no days off at the moment) and I am in pain (I have a bad back) and exhausted every day, but I'm ever so thankful for it because it means that my summer accommodation is paid for.
So I'm working very hard, but I feel like a little duckie who is paddling incredibly hard to swim upstream in a tidal wave. I'm doing everything in my power, trust me, but if you could all be so kind as to share my link... or donate a little bit if you could... I would be ever so appreciative!!
Thanks so much,
What does this mean? Well, it means things just got a lot more complicated. :-( I have got to find a job in which I can work an assured 20 hours per week in order to make enough money to pay for my accommodation myself. I've raised a little over half of the money for my tuition (I have updated the GoFundMe campaign to reflect the total tuition cost and the money raised offline as well,) and I can go ahead and start classes in September with that... but I still need to raise the other bit towards tuition (about $7000 USD) and then if I get a job paying me enough, I can cover the housing fees myself. It will be a challenge, as this is my third, final, and most intense year coming up, but I don't back away from a challenge. I will have three classes and a dissertation to write... but I will have to manage it all if I want to succeed in finishing my degree programme. I have come TOO far to give up now.
Please, if you could all be so kind as to share the link to my GoFundMe page far and wide within your social networks, I would greatly appreciate it. Any and all donations are SO greatly appreciated as well, of course! Thank you!
I've also managed to maintain good grades. For someone coming to an entirely different country and learning different ways of grammar, pronunciation, and spelling (yes, even though we all speak English, it's very different in many ways) as well as a different type of grading system, maintaining a 2.1 is considered very good. (It's like a high B in the States.)
As the school year comes to a close, I am reaching out to everyone once more to see if you all might consider sharing my GoFundMe link. I have managed to raise about half of the money for next year's tuition, so that's one positive thing I have going on... but I still need to come up with the other half!
I have secured a full-time summer job, but it will pretty much only pay for my summer accommodation. I'm going to try and get a 2nd part-time job if I can, in order to raise more money towards my education, but my student visa is very specific about the number of hours it will allow me to work, so I have to be careful there. (It's 35 hours per week out of term time, and 20 hours in term time.)
I have also applied for a job as a Resident Assistant for the Student Halls. It's HIGHLY competitive though, and there's no guarantee I will get one of the open positions. IF I get the job for next year, it will mean my accommodation will be paid for by the university! In other words - it will mean the difference of me getting to stay and finish my degree, OR me having to go back to the United States unsuccessful. I don't even want to think about the latter, with as hard as I have worked to get this far.
I am trying to raise as much money as possible towards my tuition, and, in the event that I do not get the RA job, towards my accommodation as well. I wish I were joking when I say this, but if I do not get the RA job for next year, I will likely be scoping out local park benches. I will do whatever it takes to stay here and finish!
I HATE asking for help. I want to do it ALL on my own, but the reality is... I just can't. So I am reaching out to ask for help. I know there will be those people who judge me for "begging" online, and I cannot change how they feel about that. I won't even try. I just tell myself that they cannot possibly understand how degrading it is to even have to be in this position, and I just have to try not to be too upset with them for their opinions. For those of you who DO try to understand my plight, I do "beg" of you to please consider either giving to this fund (if you can... and I fully understand if you can't) or sharing this link to my campaign. ANY amount helps, and ALL shares help as well! I truly do appreciate all of you.
My plans, if I get to complete my programme next year and graduate, are to go into a teaching programme over here which provides employment in underprivileged schools for two years in exchange for a salary as well as them paying for me to get my teaching certification (PGCE.) I still want to do a Masters in Shakespeare Studies and I hope that being able to be gainfully employed whilst working on my PGCE would help me to save money towards that goal.
I'm not flying by the seat of my pants on all of this - I do have very solid plans and goals... ;-) But I need a bit of help in order to get there. Just a hand up (not a handout.)
Thanks for reading.