Voted most likely to not succeed in junior high school, I was always messing up. Academically I was pretty sound, but I was always stirring up conflict as a young girl. It was probably because I was going through such a hard time with my parents being divorced and my father remarrying–I was caught in the middle. I was sent away to live with my older sister in Ohio, who instilled consequences for my actions and it helped turn me around.
I moved back to Colorado in my senior year of high school where I was introduced to computer programming for high school seniors. I had a natural comprehension and a desire to learn more.
I always had worked for great companies but never had a great job. As a single mother I was working three jobs and decided that I had enough when I turned 26 and enrolled at Arapahoe Community College. I did really well in all of my classes, but albeit my chaotic life moved me to Aurora where I had to transfer to the Community College of Aurora. It was there that I found out how much I loved learning, but I was only able to take on one or two classes each semester while raising my son and working two other jobs.
I was a state of Colorado employee and moved up the ranks quickly but I still wasn’t satisfied. I decided to go to work at Metro State University of Denver as an admin assistant. I enrolled at Metro and decided to major in Business with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems. After taking several classes I decided to enroll at the Community College of Denver so I could finish an Associate’s degree. I still continued my path towards my Bachelor’s degree but I wanted to get something showing I had completed a degree. My life was hectic again and I was remarried with another child on the way. My husband had 5 children and I had 1 so we became a really big family with a lot of responsibilities. My mother fell ill and moved in with us. It was way more than I could handle so I took off a semester while I helped her transition but still worked my two jobs. She eventually moved out and into an assisted senior center due to her dementia.
After my youngest son turned three I got divorced again. This time it was harder because I had two boys to look after and worked two jobs while going to school. I didn’t detour off my path because I had a goal and I never believed in giving up. I started taking my math classes and actually fell in love with them so much that I changed my major to math. I took all the way up through Calculus III when I decided I was just tired of school. It had been 10 years and I was only two classes away from my CIS degree versus 30 more credits of math.
After my mother passed away, I decided to go ahead and get my CIS degree. I graduated in December 2002 Magna Cum Laude and was invited to join Golden Key and Sigma Beta Delta. One thing I live by is to never give up because life happens and you have to learn how to roll with the punches. I wanted to be a doctor but didn’t want to go to school for 8 years, but then it took me 11 years to get my Bachelor’s degree. I should have stuck with my first choice but I was being impatient.
You can do anything you put your mind to do, even if it takes dropping down to one or two classes a semester, it will be ok because you will succeed. You don’t get a chance in life, you have to take a chance, and that’s the creed that I live with in my life. Every day you get a new chance. I quit trying to find myself once I realized I had to create myself.
Alysyn Harvey Middleton, MPS | Faculty
First Year Success Program