My name is Leah Maxwell and I’m a full-time student majoring in biology at a local community college. I am also working full-time as a veterinary assistant at an animal hospital. I’m 21 years old and my education path was set back about a year due to my father unexpectedly passing away. He was my sole provider and my best friend for my entire life leading to this point. He raised me as a single father. He had also never set up a life insurance policy. When my dad died, I was left homeless as I was unable to pay for the apartment we lived alone in. I was left dealing with PTSD when I had been the one to find him after he had gone missing. I had no stable housing for a little less than a year until I found a full-time job. If my dad had life insurance set up, I would have been able to avoid falling into homelessness, and I would have been able to commit to my studies during this time.
I had attempted to continue my education by moving around community colleges where I had to move during my housing insecurity, but the trauma I had faced had made it impossible to continue. That was until the semester that I found my job. I am now a full-time student and manage to work full-time to provide secure housing for myself. I’m trying my hardest to do it all but I’m constantly burning out under financial pressure. I have to pay my rent late this month because an unexpected car bill came up. I’m constantly terrified that I’ll end up homeless again.
I’m applying for this scholarship because my aspiration is to graduate with a major in biology and attend vet school. I’m doing everything I can to strive toward this goal, but I was dealt the worst experience in my life at the young age of 19. I am currently working 10-hour shifts at the hospital four days a week, and I am on campus from 7:30 am-9:50 pm during two other days of the week. I turned 21 less than a month ago, and I have no parents or guardians to help me. Sometimes I feel like a small helpless child and other times I feel like I was forced to skip 10 years ahead just to survive. I know my dad would want to see me thrive. It can be extremely hard to ask for help, but sometimes you really need to. This is one of those times.