Improving College Readiness: A Qualitative Analysis

November 3, 2015

Dear Potential Participant:

My name is Kourtney Igbo and I am a graduate student at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. I am in the Master of Science in Administration program with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. I am conducting research on college preparatory programs and the ways in which they increase college readiness. If you graduated from a high school in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area and participated in a college preparatory program (such as AVID, GEAR UP, EXCEL, Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, or dual enrollment) while you were in high school, I am inviting you to participate in this study.

Participation in this research includes an interview about your experiences in a college preparatory program. If you agree to participate, your total time commitment will be 30-45 minutes.

If you have further questions or would like to participate in this research, I can be reached at igbok@students.trinitydc.edu.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Kourtney Igbo

Day 30: I Made It!

I wasn’t sure if I could last through this writing challenge but I did! My writing wasn’t always as good as I would have liked, but it’s out there. I have new motivation to bring life to all these thoughts tumbling through my mind and I just hope I make good on it. Stay tuned!

Day 29: One Year Later

The following year found the friends in a completely different place during homecoming. Josh and Renee, proud new parents, decided to skip the festivities. Little Jason was not only the light of their lives, but a constant reminder of just how much was riding on the success of their marriage.

Mya was still dating her boss Rob. They were taking things slowly but things seemed promising. She was in no rush to repeat her past mistakes so she took the time to really understand the man she loved.

Reggie was walking through life as though his head was trapped in a black cloud of doom. He closed himself off from everything and everybody. He couldn’t stand their concerned words and eyes full of pity.

Crystal was dead.

The night after she broke things off with Reggie, she was in a fatal car accident. He didn’t know how to turn off his feelings so he drowned in them.

In their own ways, they were all learning just how fragile life is. And they determine if they’re going to enjoy it or put it on a shelf and ignore it.

Day 28: Get Ready

Crystal blinked, certain that her eyes were deceiving her. A job working at the White House. I am going to work at The White House. She had to repeat it, force the fact to sink into her mind.

She looked over at Reggie who was sleeping so peacefully. She knew she had to let him go. Crystal was in love with her career and, if she was completely honest, she didn’t exactly want to share get attention. And Reggie deserved a woman who thought the world revolved around their love. She would never stand in the way of that.

Meanwhile, miles and miles away, Renee’s hands were shaking. The pregnancy test was pink. Pink for baby. Things were a lot better between her and Josh (clearly they were able to reignite their sex life) but were they ready for parenthood?

“Babe, I’m home,” Josh called out.

She went into the hallway to greet him. Holding the test behind her back, Renee whispered into Josh’s ear, “I have a major surprise for you. Hope you are ready for this!”

Day 26: A Mess In The Making

Crystal’s grandmother often talked about something going from sugar to shit. She never totally knew what she meant she meant until she got back with Reggie.

Don’t misunderstand. She loved him dearly. But it was beginning to feel heavy, like they were married. She didn’t know exactly how to handle it so she focused on work and kept her words to a minimum.

But she knew that eventually she’d step in that shit and make a major mess. It was only a matter of time.

Day 25: Painful Reality

Had you asked them months ago, Mya and Reggie would have both scoffed at the idea of them ever being apart. Yet that was the reality of their situation. Mya was still dating her boss, Rob. Reggie moved back to DC so he could be closer to Crystal. Unfortunately for him, his perfect ending was so far removed from his dreams that he just wanted to fall into a million year sleep.

Day 24: Relationship Fix

“I had an affair with my trainer.”

“I lost my job and didn’t tell you.”

Josh and Renee sat in the office of Dr. Grant, a marriage counselor in Bethesda, Maryland. After a jarring end to homecoming, the couple decided that they valued their relationship enough to fight for its survival.

Dr. Grant peered at them, nodding occasionally. “Now does it make you feel to hear those words?”

“Hurt. I’m hurt that he would think, even for a second, that I wouldn’t handle that news well.”

“Pissed off. She’s screwing another man, in MY house, thinking today shit is okay?!”

Renee lowered her head and took the pain of every angry word that was hurled at her. “I was feeling….boxed in. Like marriage was this boring, never ending cycle.”

“Dr. Grant, if she was feeling that way then I also feel betrayed. Cuz if she doesn’t know that’d I’d move mountains to make her happy then she doesn’t know me very well. I’d do whatever it takes to make sure she felt happy and exited in our marriage,” Josh replied.

“Answer this. Why are you here? There is a lot of hurt in this room. Why work through that?”

“We watched a couple we love dearly let their relationship crumble and die,” Renee replied, tears building behind her eyes.

“We realized that we didn’t want that. We didn’t want to just throw in the towel,” said Josh.

“Yeah, I can’t imagine going into old age with anyone else but Josh. So I figured I’d better smart now.”

“Excellent. So what I’ll do is provide you two with the tools necessary to begin repairing your relationship. We’ll also work on your communication so that you don’t get in this position again.”

Renee reached out and took Josh’s hand. They smiled grimly, an unspoken rededication to their marriage passing between them.

Day 22: Tremendous Growth

Hey Everyone! I’m taking a little pause from my story for today (and perhaps the entire weekend). I’m participating in a very cool writing workshop this weekend that I hope will allow for tremendous growth. More details later!

If my posts this weekend are super short or depart from the story, you know why!