As a winner of the Bonnie Lynn Scholarship, UWW student Alexandra Maldonado of Blackstone, MA shares a little with us about her academic journey, balancing school, work and motherhood, and how this award has made it all a little easier. This May, Alex becomes the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her concentration? Journalism. Her Advisor: Shekhar Regmi.
How long have you been a UWW student?
Since January 2010.
What do you do for work?
I work as a cashier/barrista in a bookstore café (part time), a breakfast hostess in a hotel (part time), and as a receptionist at a hair salon (part time).
What did winning this scholarship mean to you?
This scholarship meant so much to me because it will help pay for classes and books.
Why did you decide to go back to school?
I decided to go back to school because I was miserable; working jobs that made me miserable.
Why did you choose UWW?
I chose UWW so I still be able to work while I took classes online.
What was the best part about being a UWW student for you?
The best part of being a UWW student was not traveling to school. I could be a mom, work, and then come home to work on my classwork.
What's been your favorite class at UMass Amherst so far?
I love all my journalism classes. I have outstanding journalism teachers.
If you've written a prior learning portfolio, what's been the best part of that process for you?
I think writing the prior learning portfolio helped me to realize that my work and life experience shaped me into the person I am today.
What have been the benefits of taking your classes online?
Taking the classes online helps save me time (no traveling) and money (no gas).
How do you balance work, school and family?
I try to balance work, school, and family by taking each day at a time. If I think about tomorrow, I get overwhelmed with everything I have to do. So I just focus on what I have to get done today and accomplish that. Then I start over the next day.
What advice do you have for other students finishing their degrees?
My advice is to persevere. Don't quit even when it would be so easy to do it. We can do this. It's in us to be great.
What are your future plans professionally and personally?
I want to work as a freelance journalist and work in the marketing/public relations field.
Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you?
I think I have a weird sense of humor, love to laugh, and gravitate to funny people.
Please add anything else you want people to know about you, your family, and your story.
- I write poetry and am writing a book on conquering my fears.
- I have a twin sister who has twins and I was married to a twin.
- My mother is my hero. If I didn't have her as an example in my life, I don't think I would be the strong woman I am today.
- Obtaining my bachelor's degree will be a dream come true for me.
One thing I have to mention is that we need to make the right decisions even if it is the harder thing to do. Don't take the path that will be easier. We all struggle and it doesn't matter who has it harder or who has it easier because we shouldn't compare our struggles to each other. What matters is how we help one another. What matters is how we encourage each other. Pay someone a compliment. Give someone a lending hand. Do it with a smile on your face. We can change someone's destiny with one act of kindness. I read this Maya Angelou quote years ago that really affected me. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." It is so true. It is amazing how changing someone's day, changes you. We are in this world together. Let's make it a better world.