I'll be the first to admit that I haven't done things the conventional way. I come from a family of college grads - the kind who live on campus right out of high school, depending on allowance money from parents to buy that case of beer. So you can imagine that it was an unwelcome surprise to everyone when I moved out at the age of 17 to discover life for myself. For years I worked at least 3 jobs just to make ends meet, but I never seemed to get ahead and it got tiring very quickly. Finally, something clicked for me, and I realized that (gulp) my parents were RIGHT. I needed to get an education to have success down the road so I wouldn't become a 50 year old burger flipper. Money still being an issue, it took a while for me to save up for application fees and such. In the meantime I took an entry level position in the banking industry, where I hoped to build a career for myself. Over the past 3 years I have worked my way up within my company, as far as I could go without a college degree. And finally last summer I was able to get back in school. I have taken 58 credits in the past 12 months while working full time, and I've earned a 4.0 GPA. I may be low on sleep, but I'm high on pride. I am determined to build the best possible future for myself now that I know what it truly means to struggle, and I will do whatever it takes to get there. Thomas Edison State College offers adult students like myself the flexibility and affordability to keep our educations moving forward without holding our careers or family lives back.