Austin Peterson

School has always been a refuge for me. My mother, who worked very hard, never had much money and home life was very stressful as economic situations like ours can be. But school was always a safe area to excel in, where hard work was consistently awarded and praised. It has been an area for me to focus on through the hardships of low income, single parenthood, and losing that parent. 

Attending Wayne State has been a rich and incredible experience. It has continued to allow me to focus on amazing studies at an incredible academic institution. However things have not always been easy, as I have no one able to support me, and as I put classes first, work did not bring in a fantastic amount of income in my first years. Recently, my systems of support have one by one fallen short and when I was attempting to get a new lease for an apartment, I and my roommate were unable to come up with three months rent. There was nowhere I could turn, no one I could ask for help or refuge, those around me had their own problems to attend to. I prepared myself for homelessness, but was in despair that I might lose my pet, the last creature around for me. 

However, with the help of Wayne State's CAPS program, I was informed of the HIGH program and assistance they might be able to provide. I received ready and immediate responses, which reassured me and gave me strength to continue going to work in the CFPCA every day and attend my classes, with hope. The program pursued every option possible to give me a place to lay my head at night, and got me into a temporary dorm as an apartment was prepared for me. This meant not only could I continue an independent lifestyle, I could keep my pet; the program clearly cared in a real way for my safety and happiness. Even when I had no one else to depend on. 

I am hoping to go into counseling in graduate school, and the HIGH program not only solidifies my loyalty to Wayne State, it gives me inspiration and persistence to go forward with my plans faithfully. I have been through hard times, without food and without a bed, but when I was looking for a single sign that when things are bad something good will turn up: the HIGH program showed up. And they went far above and beyond any hope or expectation I dreamed of. There is no hope of me succeeding even one more year without the safety of a roof to study under. These are the kinds of things in my life that reinforce that my life's calling is to help others no matter what, just as these people have so selflessly done for me. 


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