By Anna Parrish

screen-shot-2018-04-26-at-10-17-44-amDeciding to get my GED wasn’t something that was planned for but it ended up being very beneficial. When I was growing up, there were certain assumptions and stigmas associated with receiving a GED rather than a high school diploma, but I didn’t fit any of those. I was actually very smart and had already passed all of my graduation exams but I hated high school and I hated mornings.

One day I just decided I was going to homeschool to finish out my high school courses. We contacted a homeschool group and they said that with their program I would have to take my GED anyway and that I should just go do that based on my scores. So that’s what I did.

I went to two GED classes and they told me I was smart and to go take it. I took the test, passed and began college at Wallace State before my high school classmates had even graduated high school.

I loved Wallace State. I loved having the freedom to choose my class times (I have now become more tolerable to early mornings). I loved that no one knew me. I loved being on the school paper and getting to do design work. It was a clean slate for me with endless opportunities.

While at Wallace State I took Visual Communications. I knew before starting school that I liked working with computers and being able to design things so I chose that path. But then, while working on the school paper, I learned that I also like to write and that design and writing went hand in hand. That is when I decided to take additional classes to work toward a degree journalism. I graduated Wallace State in spring of 2013 and started at The University of Alabama the following fall for journalism, but since I had taken so many arts classes I was able to double major.

I graduated from UA in spring of 2015 and began working at a paper as a copy editor, laying out pages. As my journey continued I ended back up at Wallace State working in the Communications & Marketing Department, which is located inside of the Evelyn Burrow Museum. So I get to use all of my degrees within my current position in the same department that I once loved so much. That is where I am at today.

Through various sets of events while in college at UA, I discovered that I really like to help people and I am intrigued by mental illness. Once I graduated I planned to one day go back and get my master’s in some form of counseling and maybe open up a non-profit that helps people get their life back on track.

Fast forward to today. I am currently participating in the Leadership Wallace State program and we took a tour of the Alabama Community College System in Montgomery. While we were there we met with the representatives from the state’s adult education program. I found out that they have a program that helps inmates get back on track once they are out of jail/prison and I just really loved that. It fell in perfectly with what I had set my mind to.

I decided at that point that I wanted to go back to school and get my master’s so that I can one day be the Director of Adult Education. I will begin my master’s in August for Career and Technical Education and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me. It would be an honor to one day direct a program that I once participated in.