“I was 16 when I heard through the grapevine that I had ruined my life.” My best friend delivered the message…


(My best friend delivered the message, which had apparently originated with another friend’s mother.) I was a pregnant teenager, yes, but I was still struck by the perverse joy this mother clearly took in seeing what she perceived as the social demise of a popular, straight-A, Christian student who was a cheerleader.

In some ways, my friend’s mother wasn’t so far off. I ran for vice president of the student government and lost. (Silly me—my mother always told me to shoot for the top. What was I thinking?) And then I failed to land a spot on the homecoming court (my older sister had been crowned queen, and everyone had expected me to follow in her footsteps—at least before I got pregnant.). So yes, my high school life had, indeed, been ruined.

But my friend’s mother’s words served as all the motivation I needed to rebel against people’s assumptions about me and what my pregnancy would do to my life.

School had always come easily to me, so after my daughter was born, I focused on minimizing my time in class, getting great grades and ensuring my daughter had the richest, most loving environment possible.

I took one day at a time and got lots of help from the women around me (my mother, my best friend’s mother, my grandmother and a woman I knew from church all helped watch my daughter while I was at school). Meanwhile, I stuck with (almost) all of my AP classes—and graduated second in my high school class.

At that point, I decided to ignore the established route to success—I was no longer welcome on it anyway—and forge my own path. This became a lens that, to this day, shapes my world view.

After graduation, I fully embraced the mentality of doing everything differently. I got married at the age of 18. I accepted a full scholarship at an unknown college, and I graduated in two years at the top of my class. Because I loved school, I applied for Ph.D. programs and accepted an assistantship at Auburn University. I didn’t really know what I would do with the degree, but I didn’t let that bother me.

READ MORE Here: http://motto.time.com/4273894/achieve-dreams-motivation/