CarolynMERGE is celebrating the graduation of Carolyn Allen, the first student to receive our services! Carolyn attended Wharton High School and she met us for an individual consultation during her senior year. Our Executive Director, LaDessa Mitchell, was introduced to her while collaborating with Crystal Bailes of Girls Empowered Mentally for Success (GEMS). And now, Carolyn is graduating from the University of South Florida (USF) with a Bachelor of Arts in History.Carolyn started college in the fall of 2010 at USF but she faced some challenges. She was academically suspended in 2011. She then attended Tallahassee Community College to obtain her Associate’s degree. Her plan was to be readmitted into USF, a goal she accomplished in 2013. After a long road, Carolyn will receive her Bachelor’s degree from USF on May 6th, 2016.

As a first generation student, relying solely on herself to pay for college expenses,
Carolyn has overcome many obstacles. What’s next for Carolyn? She definitely wants to go to graduate school out-of-state but she isn’t sure of the major yet. Her preference is to attend an out-of-state college where she can get away from distractions and expand her horizons. Her long-term goals is to own a home and a business. She already has ideas for a mobile fashion app-her passion! Carolyn also plans to give back to the community and to the non-profit organizations that helped her.

Carolyn’s advice for high schoolers and college freshmen is:
“Keep up your momentum after high school to overcome all obstacles and strive to achieve all your goals. There are going to be people who don’t believe in you. I had people who said I wasn’t going to college, and now I am graduating. Also, don’t procrastinate—it was my biggest obstacle in my college career!”

Thank you for the advice Carolyn! MERGE wishes you luck in your future endeavors!