“For about 4 years, I was ‘Super Woman’ for my mom and brother.”- Brandi Durkins

School: Florida State University

House: La Verne Weddle Pilot Scholarship House

Year: Fall 2013 – Summer 2016

Thinking back over my life experiences, I have overcome a lot to be the person I am today. Coming from a low income, single parent family has taught me various things about being responsible and independent. For many years, I have watched my mom deal with domestic violence and substance abuse from my stepdad, and I’ve also watched her come out of it. It took many years for my family to move on from such issues, but leaving one situation only placed us in a completely new one. All throughout my years of high school, I experienced a rapid growth of independence and responsibility to take care of my family. I remember working as a part-time worker at Publix, while maintaining exceptional grades in school and also involved in many extra-curricular activities.

For about 4 years, I was “Super Woman” for my mom and brother.

The money I was making at Publix actually helped in a lot ways, little did I know. There were many times when my family and I didn’t know what to eat for dinner or even have food to do so. Luckily, living Tallahassee helped us because all of our family members lived in an approximately 30 minutes or less driving distance from us.

Maintaining my youth while balancing out the adult life that was cultivating for me was a little hard, but not as hard as it is currently, now that I am 20 year old junior at Florida State University. I remember watching my mom starve just so my brother and I could eat, as well as using bill money just to satisfy us. We didn’t have much but my mom made sure we were always satisfied. I commend my mother for the many deeds she’s done for our family. It has made a very huge impact in who I am today. Now that I having substantial living and a nice paying job, I am able to return the favor to my mother and my brother.

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In many ways, SSF has contributed to this. Moving into SSF assisted me in receiving the “true college experience” of living away from home, even though I’m originally from Tallahassee. It has taught me a lot about myself, as well as help financially with assistance whenever my mom and I couldn’t pay for my housing for the next semester on time. I’ve always struggled with my attitude and living in SSF has helped a lot, especially with living with more than just 3 people. It has also given me patience and a cultural understanding of everyone that lives with me. It’s definitely a humbling experience and I’m grateful for it! I created many, MANY friends, its how I met my current boyfriend, as well as a great friendship with my current best friend that I have matching Pilot House tattoo with that I still talk to on a regular basis.

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When it comes down to Education for Life, I always make sure that I am an effective player within my house each spring semester. Education for Life means a lot because it gives residents like myself the opportunity to express such appreciation for SSF and how much it truly means to us. I am always an active member that runs in the 5k, and I look forward to doing so again for my 4th time this upcoming spring semester. Before I graduate next summer, I hope to accomplish many goals that I’ve created since my freshman year of college. In hopes graduating early and getting accepted into grad school next Fall of 2016.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for you to be a part of Brandi’s, and many others, Education for Life journey.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/SSFSponsorship

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