My biggest impossibility: Becoming a college student

Keiser U student government event with PTK members

I am the head chemical and hematologic pathologist in one of the most innovative medical care facilities in the country. On alternate evenings, I am a clinical science lecturer at a local collage and I host seminars and workshops for high school students that focus on the obscure field of laboratory science. On weekends, I put in hours at a private clinic, as I am also one of the few technologists that specializes in reproductive science. During my spare hours, I continue to write my business plan for the reference laboratory that I will be opening.

Of course, this portion of my story has yet to unfold.

In the spring of 2010, I graduated high school with no hope of ever becoming a student athlete because of recurring injuries that plagued my senior year. This devastated my chances of getting a scholarship to attend college as a student athlete. Without a scholarship, I knew my chances of attending college was next to non-existent.

Stephanie Stubbs headshot

Stephanie Stubbs

In the spring of 2011, I threw myself wholeheartedly into an organization devoted to the disabled. After experiencing my hardships as an athlete, I recognized that what I went through as an athlete was woefully insignificant compared to what the disabled face every day in their normal lives. Their passion and positivity drove me to be an advocate for their plight for years.

In the spring of 2012, I expanded my outreach platform to include the youth. I love the potential kids possess and am passionate about cultivating their minds and helping them expand their outlook. To show my devotion to these kids, I became a certified coach, training athletes in the very club I grew up in, where my own character developed. My strong sense of self, positive morals and determination all blossomed while I was a member of this club, so I felt the need to instill the same values that I learned into my young athletes. Growing up on a small island in a small country, the mind can become so claustrophobic that we fail to see what our future could be. My role is to inspire these kids to aspire.

In the spring of 2013, I graduated as a phlebotomist because I realized I needed to practice what I preached. I stood by my own words of wisdom to the kids and look to what my future could be. I made a transition from my narrow-minded way of thinking and started concocting ways I could achieve my goal of attending college. The solution was to take as many baby steps as I possibly can until I got where I wanted to be.

In the spring of 2015, I progressed to taking giant leaps as I began my journey as a college student. What felt like the biggest impossibility since finishing high school was now happening, and in the spring of 2017, I will graduate with an Associates of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology.

Ronald McDonald house charities’ adopt-a-meal

Ronald McDonald house charities’ adopt-a-meal

When I think of my ‘story’, I don’t think of it as a story at all. All it is is a miasma of circumstances haphazardly strewn together to have gotten me to where I am today. Each circumstance begins with the word ‘despite’ and ends with ‘persevere’. My life has been a series of detours but along the way, each new route connects to the last and comes together to continue the map of my life thus far.

The Pearson scholarship has been a good motivational tool. It has pushed me into the definitive mindset of pursuing my Bachelor’s degree and has me dreaming of going even further than that. It has especially pushed me to strive for ‘extraordinary’ even in the most mundane areas of my life. What I like most about the scholarship is that it recognizes and celebrates my achievements for me. At times, I put so much pressure on myself to reach particular goals that I neglect to see the smaller achievements that I have made.

Mentorship, a huge component of the scholarship, is something that I will never take for granted. Throughout each phase of my life, I’ve been lucky to have someone in place willing to offer me advice and guidance. As I grew, I realized the impact that my life had on others just as others’ lives influenced mine. This symbiotic exchange is what I value in a mentor-mentee relationship. We all have experiences and advice to share with another that will help us make sage decisions. The support from a mentorship relationship is an invaluable one I appreciate greatly.

Stephanie is a recipient of the 2016 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. Each Pearson Scholar is paired with a Pearson professional mentor who provides support as Scholars progress toward degree completion. We are incredibly proud of all the Pearson Scholars. Please check back as we continue to highlight each scholar’s story!