Folasade Sabitu / The Paisano

This is Jude Jones. She is a junior and an English major. She overcame the obstacles life threw at her which turned her into the person that she is today. This is her story.

 

“I grew up a military/preacher’s kid. I was born in Florida on MacDill Air Force base and [I was an] only child, always was, until not too long ago. But I’ll get to that.

I grew up in a really sheltered home. I wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter when it first came out because it was witchcraft. I wasn’t allowed to watch anything but G-rated movies or listen to anything but Christian music. My home life was really sheltered. My dad worked, my mom stayed home with me, so we had a pretty close relationship, but I was definitely a daddy’s girl.

That’s pretty much how life went. My dad moved us back to Texas for a short time, so I really got to spend a lot of time with my family until I was about 10 and then my dad decided to rejoin the military, but this time in the Navy as a chaplain.

We actually ended up on our very first assignment in Okinawa, Japan which is really cool, and this was back when Pokémon was big, it was first coming out, it was huge, I was all excited because it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I get to go see where Pokémon came from.’ Okinawa is a small island off the coast of the mainland which is pretty cool because every direction you look since it’s pretty small, you see the ocean. It [was] really neat.

I was homeschooled for most of that time, and while we were in Japan, my dad had the epitome of a mid-life crisis, but 10 times worse. He decided that he no longer [had] love for my mother and he cheated on her and had an affair with her best friend, and my mom was not willing to let go of the marriage. She wanted to work on it and he didn’t, so he tried to commit suicide and take himself out of the picture, since she wouldn’t really let him go in a sense, I guess. It didn’t work but he did end up in a mental ward, and I feel like that was the pivotal moment for me and a pivotal turning point. Alright, childhood is over. It is time to be an adult. And really, my life shifted, the day that I saw my dad in a mental hospital. Things kind of went from zero to a 100 at that point.

My mom flew us back home to the U.S. [and] my dad stayed in Japan for another year while he was being court-martialed. I think if you were any other branch of the military, maybe cheating on your spouse, wouldn’t have been such a big deal; but because it was a chapel it was a big deal, and because he tried to take his own life, it became a major deal. He was discharged from the military and from that point, became an alcoholic and a drug addict and really changed his life, and mine in the process. It was just me and my mom. My parents married really young, so my mom became the teenager and I became the mom in a lot of senses. I tried to stay in school, and I made it all the way to my freshman year [of high school, but] I dropped out because I ended up taking on two jobs to help my mom pay the bills. She had lost her job at that point and things were just really, really rough. We had to move in with my grandparents, which was not fun for me, but we made it work; and so I just kind of reserved myself like, ‘Okay well, I’m not gonna go finish school ever, I’ll just end up working at McDonald’s forever ’cause it’s where I worked at the time.’ I was always really intelligent when I was in school: I was always in AP classes, made straight A’s. I had a really good school experience. So I decided at 21 [that] I really don’t like the food industry, even though they were putting me on a fast track to be a manager working at Starbucks. It’s not really what I wanted. I wanted something better. I wanted something different, not to say that being in the food industry is a bad thing, it just wasn’t for me. I decided to get my GED, and then immediately started attending Alamo community college, and got my associates in English.

That’s what put me on the track of ‘I’m gonna change my life, I’m gonna change what I wanna do.’ And around this time, my little brother was born, and I was 21.

And so that’s another thing that kinda made me feel like I want to set a good example for him. He’s not my kid; I still am very close in his life and I wanted to set that example for him and for myself to show myself that I could do it and that I could be successful. And so after graduating with my associates, I got married and had every intention of immediately jumping right back in enrolling in another college, whether it be UTSA or UT, or whatever; but marriage, kind of took over my life and I just didn’t go immediately back so I had been out of school for probably close to five years and then I just came back last fall. That was my first semester back for a while, and I just found [out] that I actually made the honor roll. All of these things that I was able to accomplish being on the honor roll.

So every struggle that I’ve been through, everything that I’ve gone through has really helped shape me into who I am and showed me that nothing is out of reach; nothing is un-accomplishable. [It] doesn’t matter what my background was or what my circumstance was. I can overcome it.”

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