Changing Lives, Transforming Communities
The tnAchieves Blog

#FindYourWhyTN: Creating Opportunity
By: Ellie Sieverman, tnAchieves COMPLETE Coach

March 18, 2021

I went to college because I knew I wanted a career that would one day support me and my family. Growing up, my mom was a stay-at-home mom. She did not have the opportunity to attend college and she worked full-time right after high school until I was born while my dad continued to work.

After not working for 17 years, everything changed when my dad passed away during my junior year of high school. As one can imagine, we went through a lot that year. What I remember most now looking back was how much my mom struggled to re-enter the work force after such a long break – and with no college degree. Many of the jobs she could have applied for 17 years ago now required a college degree for consideration. Some of the jobs she was considering applying for were jobs that I could apply for as a high school student. I couldn’t believe that my mom, a smart, outgoing and hardworking woman, was in this position. As we sat together at the kitchen table reading through job descriptions and sending out her resume, she would always remind me, “This is why I want you to go to college.”

It was that year that I truly understood the impact that a college degree could have on my life. Not only could a college degree give me a career, but it could also give me security, confidence in the job market, and the means to support myself and my family. I knew that I wanted to go to college for the career opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have and to make my mom proud. After a while, our time spent at the kitchen table applying for jobs transitioned into my mom sitting with me while I applied to colleges. We eventually we sat there together while I opened my acceptance letter to The University of Tennessee.

Now I work as a coach at tnAchieves to support students while they achieve their goals of graduating from college and to help show them the value that a post-secondary credential can have on their future.