By Alexandria Montoya

I have always wanted to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. When I was as senior in high school and first deciding where to go to college I never thought it would be an option because of the cost of tuition at ASU. I’m from New Mexico and out of state tuition was way too much for my middle-class family to afford. It wasn’t until the day that I got a letter in the mail stating that they were going to give me a $50,000 scholarship that I thought it was a possibility for me. The decision wasn’t made right away because money was always an issue for my family in some way. So, after a lot of decision making we came to a solid conclusion. I would be able to use my scholarship and my dad would take out a loan to pay for the remaining balance of my first year. I would need to get a job right out of the gate to start saving for my last three years which I would pay on my own.

Within a month of moving into the dorms I had found a job as a hostess at a restaurant in downtown Phoenix. I spent the rest of the year working and missing most of the events that all my friends went to. At times, it was really hard, but I knew what I was working for. So, my second year comes around and I enroll with no problem. I finally get promoted to a server position at the same restaurant and I am making significantly more money which was great. I also moved into my own apartment where I was paying rent, utilities, all my food costs, plus books and all the other stuff you need to survive as a college student. I was finally on my own working 40+ hours a week plus being a full-time student and it felt like I was thriving.

Then came my fourth semester and I had a hold on my ASU account because my tuition wasn’t paid for the previous semester. I couldn’t pull the money together in time and ended up taking a semester off to pay it back. I picked up a second job within the same company I started in and was working 7 days a week to pay off the $4,000 I owed. I finally paid it all off in May just in time to enroll in the semester that I am in now. A week into school and I find out because I took that semester off and didn’t file a deferment form that I lost my scholarship and would be able to get it back in a year after proving that I have been enrolled full time and have the grades required. I can’t wait to keep working hard and earn that scholarship back. I just hope that other students can look at my story and maybe learn from it and have their lives as college students be a little bit easier.

Alexandria Montoya is a student at Arizona State University.