“E arly in my life, I was a little lost and didn’t know where to turn.

When I was 15-years-old, I was sexually assaulted by a friend, and from that, I had a daughter. It caused me to lose my self-respect, and I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to go to college and do other things because I had a baby early. I wasn’t getting anywhere in life, and I lived in a small town that didn’t have a lot of things. That put me deeper in a hole, mentally and physically.

After a while, I had my second child. I had lost touch with the reality of what I was supposed to do. After I could not go to college, I felt like I wasn’t going to be who I needed to be. I had hit a dead end. It seemed like I wasn’t getting jobs and I wasn’t progressing.

After my third child, I decided that since I am their role model, I have to show them what a woman is supposed to do. So, to be an example for my three daughters, I came to school to pursue a degree to put myself in a better position for advancement opportunities. When I came back, I worked full time and took night classes. It was hard to balance going to school at night and having three teenage daughters at home. But, they loved it. They would write me notes and tell me that I am their motivation. That has helped me to strive to be better in everything that I do and to help my daughters succeed in life. One of my daughters will be graduating from Jackson State next year. I am thankful that I have my three daughters and that their lives are on track. They saw how I struggled, and they wanted to be better.

I get so emotional when I try to explain the feelings that I had during my situation. It brings back memories of not knowing where my life was going. But, I kept the faith and had a praying grandmother. Now, I am completely dedicated to God. He saw me through all of that, and now, I am stronger than ever. Sometimes, I can’t even believe how strong I am. I give other people encouraging words because I’ve been through times where I didn’t know where in the world I was going to get money from.

Now, I’m just thankful. All of this was divine from the Lord. He knew the steps before I did. I do accept that I had my baby early. I don’t advise that for someone else, but that is what he had to take me through to get me to where I am at now. My teenage pregnancy hurt me, but it motivated me somewhere in between to be successful. I started my own business, and I am in the process of writing a book about those struggles that I had – being a teenage mom, losing my husband, and losing my grandmother who was my mentor who raised me from a baby. Through it all, I have learned that you have to be patient and be persistent in your goals. Although something may throw you off track, you have to be focused and have God as the head of your life to help you through those stumbling blocks.

– Genice, JSU Class of 2009 and administrative assistant in Institutional Advancement