In college, student housing can be notoriously expensive, but most people don’t have to deal with homelessness while trying to earn their education.
Mary from Philadelphia gives us an inside look at what it’s like to be a young person living on the streets and trying to finish her degree at the same time.
Not only is this a burden on her academic career but also in her budding hip-hop aspirations as well.
Mary was in the foster care system in Philadelphia starting at the age 11, and was in the system until she was 17-years-old.
At age 17, Mary was dropped off at Penn State with no real guidance and just a trash bag full of clothes.
Eventually, she had a run-in with the law for dealing small amounts of weed as well as becoming pregnant while away at school.
This first crack at academia could have been considered an ultimate failure, but she has turned her fortune around and is being blessed with a second chance.
Mary moved back to Philadelphia and pursued her degree again this time at the community college of Philadelphia.
After 6 1/2 years of battling with her landlord over upkeep disputes, Mary realized that her housing grievances were becoming unbearable.
The house that she was living in gave way to water and so anytime it would rain the roof leaked and entire swamps would develop in her living room.
After years of moisture developing inside her dwelling mold started to form and the rental unit became uninhabitable.
Ever since moving Mary has been couch surfing with her son. However, she is now only five credits away from a degree and looking forward to furthering her education upon graduation.
Ultimately, Mary would like to become qualified for a position within a local Youth Servicing Organization.
When asked what it’s like balancing being a homeless student/mother?:
“Sometimes it makes it hard to focus, but I’m driven so I sometimes put that in the back of my mind, you just have to move forward, but it’s extremely tough.”