Sarah Pappas - 1989 Honor AlumSecondary Education: English & Reading
I attended UN-L the second time around, from 1987 to 1989, and graduated in December 1989. I went three years full time, but this time as a single mother with two small children. (Like all my other siblings, I went straight to college after high school, but, I didn't finish my undergraduate degree the first time). The second go around I was extremely focused, and determined that nothing would stop me from getting my degree. MOTIVATION made all the difference! I was working three jobs trying to support myself and my kids, and one day came home and called Maggie Seavers (former teachers college adviser) and told her my plans. My GPA from 1974 to 1976 was so abysmally low (I think it was around 2.5) that I had to earn my way in to a college within the University of Nebraska. From 1987 to 1989 I carried a GPA around 3.9, so my GPA upon graduation was 3.5. My favorite part about (my second time around at) UN-L? Great teachers in the English department, connecting with other students during class discussions, and knowing that I was going to be able to support my family when I graduated!
Very briefly, I pursued a teaching career. There were no jobs to be had (teaching secondary English) in Lincoln Public Schools at the time. UN-L put on a job fair, I needed and wanted a job right away, so I took a job teaching in a high school in southern California. I flew to Ontario, California with my children in January 1990 and started as an English teacher in Cajon High School, in San Bernardino. Eventually, circumstances brought my children and me back to Lincoln, where I attended graduate school as an English major. I didn't finish my graduate degree, but I have been with Ameritas for the past 25 years, planning meetings.
Having a college degree, no matter the major, is so important! It shows the world you put the time in to developing your future potential. It demonstrates to others that you have the tenacity to see things through. The University of Nebraska is where my parents met, where most of my siblings got their undergraduate degrees, where I changed the course of my family's future, and where my daughter earned her undergraduate and law degrees. Although I didn't end up with a career in education, my degree from UN-L opened doors and enhanced my self confidence. Without all the connections I made as a graduate student at UN-L, I don't know that Ameritas would have given me the opportunity to interview for the position I've held for so long.
GO FOR IT! You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by pursuing an education! I was a broke single parent raising two little kids on my own, with an embarrassing GPA, when I started back as an undergraduate at UN-L. I had the will, and the University of Nebraska provided the way.