Meet the Scholars

Five Minutes with Sarah

College: Baylor University
Major: Social Work
Scholar Year: 2015

What was your journey to college at Xavier University (in New Orleans) like?
My siblings and I faced abuse from a very young age and this led to feelings that I would never amount to anything. After we were separated from our older sisters in foster care, it often seemed to my younger sister and me like it was the two of us against the world. I struggled to fit in, not only at my new school, but also with my foster family. Nevertheless, school was my sole outlet, so I joined as many organizations as I could and excelled academically. I had always dreamed of attending Baylor University, but I followed my foster family’s direction to attend Xavier.

What was your time like at Xavier and what led you to transfer to McLennan Community College (MCC) in Waco?
I did very well my first semester, but during my second semester, I was experiencing anxiety and insomnia, leading to a very deep depression. I remember the day my older sister called me worried and after telling her everything, she said two words that inspired me to start over. “Come home.”

And so I did, moving back to Waco to live with my sister. At the time I had no intention of going back to school, but my sister encouraged me to start small, so I enrolled in community college. My life slowly began to come back together and I found a job and maintained a high GPA. In time, I was introduced to the Baylor Bound program at McLennan Community College (MCC) and was encouraged to apply and transfer. At MCC, I learned the discipline of managing both a job and going to school full time. With that patience, hard work, and resilience, I was finally accepted into Baylor, my dream school, for the 2019-20 academic year.

Now that you are at Baylor, what are your goals?
My top goal is to graduate. I want to take it semester by semester and utilize the rich education Baylor has to offer to the best of my ability as I major in social work! (Yay!)

Do you feel like your major is in line with your career interests now?
Very much so. I have been working at the Salvation Army for more than two years and I deal with people on a daily basis who look to us for help. It brings me happiness when I can assist so many people at my job. Whether it be with food, bills or providing them a place to sleep, it is so rewarding for me. I absolutely love what I do.

You’ve been through so much, yet you keep driving forward.
There have been so many people who have walked out of my life when things got difficult – yet after everything, the hurt, pain, loss, and suffering, here I stand. You may be basking in the sun one day and shattered among the rocks the next, but what makes you who you are is what you do when the storm comes. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. People may fail you, but never fail yourself. And most importantly, if you need help, go and get it.

That’s such a poignant remark. Building off that, everyone needs support, who do you turn to?
As far as family goes, all I have are my sisters. I also go to a coworker, Diana, who has kept me under her wing and supported me in so many ways for which I am truly thankful. I am so thankful for them because they have never left my side.

If you could share one last piece of advice with your fellow Scholars, what would it be?
In terms of school, I would encourage everyone to network. Not only have I met so many people, but I have made such strong relationships with many of my coworkers, creating another family for me! The value in networking is all intertwined in a very resourceful way.

But more generally, I would say life can be so hard, but that is what makes our story unique. Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what is to come.