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Success Story: Ayan

Everyone has their own ideas about success and their own problems to overcome. Read and hear about a woman who has achieved a lot in a short period of time.

Listen to Ayan's Success Story

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Hello. My name is Ayan. I came to the United States about eight years ago from a refugee camp in Kenya. There was fighting in my country, so I had to leave. I was very unhappy because I had to leave my home and much of my family. I also had to quit high school. I was a good student and loved studying, so it was hard for me to stop.

Once I got to the United States, my first goal was to learn English well. I had studied some in school in my country, so I could get along, but I wanted to become fluent. I went to the adult education center and took classes every day for a year. I tried never to miss school. By the end of that first year, I was ready to move on to the GED program.

My relocation benefits were gone, so I had to get a job. Because my English was good, I got a job as a cashier at the large discount store near my school. I was able to use my speaking skills and my math skills. I was also able to continue going to school during the day because I could work in the afternoon and evening.

By studying very hard, I finished my GED in a year and a half. Then I applied to community college. They told me I was accepted, but I still had to take remedial English to improve my writing. I didn't want to pay for that class at the college, so I went back to the adult education school for another few months to work on writing.

The next time I took the Accuplacer test, I passed. Then I could go right into degree-seeking classes at the college. I decided to work on an associate degree in computer programming.

Because of my skills with people, I got a new job working at the adult education center at the front desk. I was able to help other students and make them feel at home. As my computer skills improved, my job expanded. I started to work in the computer lab, helping students learn how to find the programs they needed. Then I became part of the distance learning team. It was great being able to use my new skills on the job.

In my culture, it is very important for a woman to marry and have children. I didn't want to do that right away because I wanted to go to school. I finally found a man who was willing to let me continue my work and education, and we got married. Now I have a beautiful baby boy. I have had to put my degree on hold for a year until he is old enough for child care, but this fall I will go back.

I have continued to work in the evenings at the adult education center. Not only does it provide income, it also allows me to use my computer skills so I don't forget them. I want to be able to provide a good life for my son. I also want to have an interesting and fulfilling career for myself. I think it will all happen in the future if I continue to work hard.