Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Welcome to 'She's Got Grit', this space is for me to share my experience persisting through obstacles I have had in my life balancing going to school, working 20 hrs per week, and parenting a young child. My story begins at 17 years old, with the birth of my daughter Kayla. She is the reason I am so passionate about achieving my goals. I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan studying Gender + Health, and wanted to share my experience with others to address common stigmas associated with student parents. My plan is showing her (and anyone else who needs it) that earning an education is possible no matter the obstacles in your way. I am a first-generation college student that has gone to school and worked part-time all while raising a child. It has obviously not been easy, and I want to share that with the people who need to hear it. My educational journey has been unbearably slow, but thankfully consistent. This semester I am going to be working on a project to create a scholarship for young moms in the state of Michigan working towards their high school diplomas. This was a dream of mine I have had in my back pocket but haven't acted on til now when my Nonprofit Management, Community Engagement, & Feminist Practice course gave me the perfect opportunity. I am excited to share a sneak peak of my life and background as a teen mom while working on this project. Let's get started!
For Now A Little About Me...
My name is Kristie Wilcox and I am currently 22 years old attending the University of Michigan. It has been a long journey to get here with many bumps along the road, but am grateful to be where I am. I found out I was pregnant with my daughter my junior year of high school at 17 years old. I made the decision to continue on with my pregnancy and worked with my high school administration to create a plan to graduate high school. I started working over the summer into my senior year at my local Meijer as a greeter and took summer courses in preparation to take 7 weeks off when my daughter Kayla arrived. When school started back-up in September it realized it was a lot to juggle. I was fortunate enough to attend a school with resources like having online classes, cop-op, and other courses created to have a light homework load and flexible attendance requirements. When I retuned from maternity leave I worked diligently to complete my schooling and work after school to support my daughter, I would have online classes in the morning so I had a later start time, leave during lunch to feed my daughter, and return for a couple hours before leaving for co-op. I would have never made it to graduation if it wasn't for the flexibility and support of my family and school provided. With the support from my family and school administration I was able to graduate on-time with my class with cum laude honors in June of 2017.
I started at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) the summer I graduated high school. I attend part-time while working. While at WCC I found where my interests were and the career path I wanted to follow. I was writing a paper for an English class when I realized my passion for teen parent advocacy and idea for a scholarship took off from there. I put this idea in my back pocket and kept working towards my associates degree in science with my major being a health program prep program. It was here I decided I wanted to pursue women's health and be apart of the medical field. There were times I had to take Kayla with me to campus to take exams or attend class (pictured right), and I was grateful to be met with open arms and support from my peers. I would stay at WCC for nearly 3 years before transferring to where I am now at UM.
January 2020 I transferred to University of Michigan, and will be here for the foreseeable future completing my bachelors degree in Gender + Health. I am having been working 20 hours a week at my current job at a healthcare clinic for the past 3.5 years along with juggling school. With Kayla now starting Junior-Kindergarten this fall, I was able to take 12 credits and still work. This has already been challenging, but I am doing it. I want to share with others that it is doable! I have many projects planned for my time here that I am excited for and hope you will stick around for my journey. If you want to follow my Tik Tok (@kristiewilcox5) where I will be posting little vlogs about my days on and off campus and my instagram (wilcox_kristi) for other updates!