An Actress Follows A New Dream

Donna R. decided at a very young age that she wanted to be an actress. She put a lot of her life on hold, including high school, to pursue this dream. On the advice of her high school guidance counselor, Donna took and passed the GED in 11th grade, and she was pursuing her dream before most of her peers had completed their senior year.

While auditioning and acting in small roles in New York, she enrolled in Queens College's theater program and completed more than half of the credits toward her degree. But as is the case with many adult students, life got in the way and it would be 25 years before she returned to college.

Like many aspiring actresses, Donna ended up needing to make a living, and she left college to work for a check-cashing operation. “As I became more involved in working and making money, I even stopped doing theater,” Donna recalls. She worked for the check-cashing company for 15 years, and in those decades, got married and had a daughter.

Things began to change after her baby was born. First, Donna realized she had to leave the check cashing business. While lucrative, it was also dangerous work. She knew she wanted to finish her degree and advance her career. Also, watching her daughter grow up and start school made Donna realize how much she wanted to return to college.

Donna's biggest challenge was motivating herself to take the first step. She was uncertain if she would be able to succeed in school after so much time off, so she started by taking a one-credit class. This helped her build her confidence and be successful. By the time she was finished with her degree, she was taking 18 credits over a fifteen-week period and she had earned the highest GPA of all the students in her graduating class.

“Once I started, there was no way I was not going to finish,” she recalls.

What Donna learned in the classroom has increased her confidence in all the areas of her life. She also can offer great advice to her children about studying and working toward a goal. “If I had not gone back to school, I would not be the person I am today. I really believe that my confidence, my forthrightness, everything about me, it’s from finishing school.”

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commented 2013-12-23 03:03:38 -0500 · Flag
Thank you