Hi, my name is LuCinda Schwartz. I am the third youngest of twelve other siblings, I have a really big family. A little background of myself, I was born in the state of Indiana, I grew up Amish. We moved from Indiana to Florida when I was very young. We remained Amish until we moved from Florida to the state of Tennessee in 2007. When we moved from Florida, we left the Amish and went Mennonite. I then left the Mennonite community around the age of 15. My dad died in 2012 and a year later, my mom moved back to Indiana to marry another man, but she had to go back Amish because he was. I have been on my own since the young age of 15. My life has not been the easiest but if it was not for my family I would not be where I am today. 

I graduated high school in 2019. During my years of high school, we heard all about college, but I never knew much about it because none of my other family members ever went to college, I felt like since they did not go, I would not go to college. I was never big on school, I honestly never thought I would go, I always felt like college just was not my thing, my grades in high school were never good so in my head I automatically felt like I could not do college work. Before I graduated, I stressed so much on if I wanted to attend college, I really did not know what I wanted to do, I love children, I love working with children, but I knew for a good job I would need some sort of degree. After many breakdowns and I decided to give college a try. I signed up for the Tennessee promise and I got signed up for my classes. My major is Early Childhood Education. When I signed up for college, I was thinking about transferring to a four-year college, but I was then informed that I can simply do an AAS degree in Early Childhood Education and be done in two years and still have a degree that can help me succeed in my career that I want, I cannot do everything that I want but I still have a degree. Fast forward to this current second in my life, I am still in school, I have not regretted a single second, it is not always a great time but the amount information that I have learned is crazy. I am set to graduate in December of this year. 

When I graduate, I will be the first of twelve other siblings to ever even step foot in a college let alone get that degree. My biggest inspiration to keep going was my family, they always told me to keep, they told me to try it out, I get my first two years free so why not test the waters, they never discouraged me but simply encouraged me. I have a great fiancé that has been through it all with me from the second I signed up for the classes and I would be absolutely lost without him as well. Another reason I have stayed in college is simply because the information that I have learned has taught me that I did not know half the things I thought I knew just because I grew up with children all my life. My professors have had such an amazing impact on my college experience, and I know when I leave, I will miss them so much, but I am so excited to use all the information they have taught. It seems like December can not come soon enough but I know when that time comes, I will miss this whole college experience. I am simply proud of myself for never giving up and continuing on, even during the times that I never so down and discouraged. I am doing this for me, my dad, which I know if he were here, he would be so extremely proud of me, my family, but mostly my future career and the children that will get the knowledge that I have.

My advice to anyone that may be in the situation I was as a high school senior is, give it a try, test the waters and if you figure out that college is just not for you then find out what is for you and go for that career and always do your best. 

Thank you