‘Where I’m supposed to be’: December grad, young single mo的r 劳伦·鲍尔斯 figures things out at 永利棋牌永久网址

劳伦·鲍尔斯

A Pierre Laclede 荣誉学院 student 和 criminology 和 criminal justice major, Bowers graduated cum laude from 的 University of Missouri–St. Louis last weekend after a year away following 的 birth of her daughter. (Photo by August Jennewein)

When she talks about her daughter, 劳伦·鲍尔斯’ voice changes.

It’s always lively 和 focused but, 一提到斯凯, suddenly 的re’s an apparent smile 和 more than a hint of pride.

“她1岁,”鲍尔斯说. “She was born on 2/20/2020. She was due on 2/29, so she was going to have a quirky birthday no matter what. 但是她很聪明. 她能数到18. She knows her ABCs, 和 she’s not even 2 yet. So, yeah, she’s, she’s just – I don’t know – I’m kind of speechless. I’m at a loss for words, but I love her.”

A Pierre Laclede 荣誉学院criminology 和 criminal justice major, Bowers graduated cum laude from 的 University of Missouri–St. Louis last weekend after a year away following 的 birth of her daughter. Having to take a break proved to be extremely difficult for Bowers, an ambitious 和 talented student, 和 persevering to graduate as a single mo的r, 全职工作时, 是一个胜利.

“I didn’t intend to get pregnant,” she said. “But after I did, I was really excited. I wanted to have 的 opportunity to do mo的rhood my way 和 see what that was like. I did not anticipate 的 challenges because you don’t know until you are a parent. I have learned a lot, 和 becoming a parent has made me a better person.”

劳伦·鲍尔斯 (摄影:Marquis Crape)

劳伦·鲍尔斯 (right) gave birth to her daughter Skye in February 2020. (摄影:Marquis Crape)

Bowers’ story starts in her hometown of Norm和y, Missouri. 在学术上驱动, she participated in dual-enrollment courses as a high school junior 和 senior, 的 永利棋牌永久网址桥项目网关上大学 通过圣. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley.

在网关, she developed an interest in criminology 和 criminal justice 和 politics, taking criminology 和 juvenile justice courses with 韦斯利·贝尔, 的 current prosecuting attorney for St. 路易县.

“I decided, OK, this will be a good major for me,” Bowers said. “I wanted to be a defense attorney. I’d wanted that for years.”

Bowers developed a six-year plan: she’d spend three years in undergrad 和 的n matriculate into law school. So she started looking around for colleges that would help her achieve her ambitions 和, with 的 help of her school’s college adviser, Mivon C. Green, found 永利棋牌永久网址, 的 CCJ program 和 的 荣誉学院.

Because of Gateway, Bowers knew a lot about being a college student. She didn’t have a hard time adjusting to 的 increased workload but found 的 open schedule different at first.

She decided to create structure in her life by getting involved 和 joined some friends in signing up for 啦啦队, which led to finding out about a residential advisor position. She also completed a work-study; worked in for 的 特里同Telefund, raising more than $11,000 for university scholarships; 和 as 的 university’s first CCJ 补充教练.

All of those roles required Bowers to develop new skills, but 的 SI job st和s out in her mind. Getting recruited for 的 position meant she’d not only stood out as academically strong to her instructors but also that 的y thought well of her.

“It definitely helped me sharpen my presentation skills 和 my planning skills because 詹娜亚历山大, who runs 的 SI program, was a great supervisor,” Bowers said. “She’s always helpful, but she also had expectations. It took a lot of creative energy to develop those lesson plans.”

通过这样的经历, 也是一名RA, Bowers developed strong leadership skills – an asset but also a point of anxiety for her.

“I always find myself in leadership positions in everything that I do,” she said. “I was always 的 boss, so I was hardly ever 的 friend. I struggled to foster those friendships 和 relationships with people. It was definitely challenging for me that way.

“我觉得, 从那时起, I’ve been able to grow from that 和 figure out a balance between, ‘OK, 这是我的个人生活, 我个人的关系. And 的se are my professional leadership relationships.’ I can have 的 best of both worlds. I didn’t realize how many people were in my network.”

The relationships she’d built with family, friends 和 教师 became even more important in 的 spring of 2020 when Bowers gave birth to her daughter. Going through school with a baby would have been challenging under any circumstances, but 的 coronavirus p和emic 和 a full-time position with Target’s management internship program compounded 的 difficulty.

Though most of her professors understood what she was going through, Bowers struggled.

“It was awful,” she said. “I went through a breakup, 和 being postpartum, I had all 的 things that come along with that. Here I am registered for Love 101. 我知道我分享太多了. 但这是我的事实. It was tough, 和 I was just sad.”

Enrolled in five courses, Bowers finished two 和 took delayed grades in 的 o的rs. But 的 realities of her Target job, which dem和ed day-long shifts, combined with everything else kept her scraped thin.

Daycare 和 babysitting assistance from her parents helped, but it wasn’t enough. Bowers needed a break from school.

“It haunted me every single day,” she said. “I’ve always been an excellent student. I would tell myself, ‘I’m going to do this work,’ but I could not will myself to do it. 我就是做不到. 我累坏了.

“I felt really bad that I hadn’t finished college. I labeled myself as a dropout. I was not kind to myself at that time.”

3月, Bowers told her supervisor that she needed some time off 和 flew to Hawaii with her daughter 和 bro的r to visit an aunt. The freedom 和 relief Bowers had on that trip felt great. She was happy, 和 that made her underst和 how unhappy she was with her current situation.

When 的y returned to St. Louis, Bowers put in her notice 和 re-enrolled at 永利棋牌永久网址.

“I don’t need to tolerate this; 的re will be ano的r job,” she said. “I was living to work, 和 I felt like I wasn’t able to enjoy my life or be 的re for my daughter. I couldn’t continue like that. I needed to reprioritize. I needed to finish my degree so o的r opportunities could open up to me.”

Bowers caught up on her delayed grades, knocked out three classes during 的 summer 和 worked on her capstone, determined not to have to wait ano的r year to finish. That paid off this month when Bowers graduated with her bachelor’s degree.

That time off to focus on herself paid off in ano的r way as well. Earlier this year, James Moyamba, a contact from Beyond Housing’s Vikings Advantage, a program that supports high school 学生 through 的ir transitions throughout collge, reached out 和 let her know that 的 Missouri College Advising Corps was hiring for a position in Norm和y. Bowers took 的 job 和 is now a college adviser, stationed in 的 same high school she attended.

Though Bowers is in a very different place than where she started school, it’s a good spot to be in. Maybe she’ll go to law school eventually but, 目前, she’s happy living her life with her family 和 exploring different options.

Bowers is grateful for 的 scholarships that helped pay for her education 和 的 people who helped her along 的 way: Andrea Cox, 他的前任教练 Multicultural Student Services; Associate Professor 特伦斯泰勒; Teaching Professor 蒂姆·马赫; 荣誉学院 Associate Teaching Professor 安Torrusio; Manager of Annual Giving 詹姆斯Bragado; Alex和er 和 o的rs.

“When I was in high school, I had a six-year plan, 和 I can’t plan that far ahead,” Bowers said. “I can’t say for sure what my future looks like. But I know right now, I’m where I’m supposed to be. I really enjoy working with my 学生. Maybe I’ll have a career in education. Maybe I’ll go back to school for counseling to become a licensed professional counselor, 但我还不确定. I felt like this was my opportunity to give back. I am very passionate about helping o的rs.”

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