Foster Care Stories: Bianca's College Success

Stay the Course

At 21, Bianca isn't following a typical college girl schedule. She doesn't have classes that begin in the afternoon to accommodate her sleep schedule. She isn't blowing off her Friday classes to accommodate a long weekend of social events. No, Bianca follows a rigorous schedule that rivals the most responsible of adults. At 6:30a.m., while most are still sleeping, Bianca wakes and prepares for her day. At 7:30a.m., she walks the two blocks to her bus stop. During her one hour bus commute to school, she studies, browses the internet, or listens to music. At 8:30a.m., her classes begin and last until 2:30p.m. When most college students would be finished for the day, Bianca heads into work as a food service employee for the Northern Kentucky University. She works until 8:15p.m. At 9:15p.m., she gets on the bus for her hour commute back home. At, 10:15p.m., she is settling into her pajamas trying to get a good night's rest so she will be prepared for another busy day.
Bianca is disciplined. It's her own doing. She is committed to seeing her education and degree come to fruition. But moreover, it keeps her busy and focused. Bianca says that when she is idle, things don't go well for her. By self-disclosure, Bianca says that things have not always been stable for her. It has taken her three years to be the success that she is today. Her former case manager, Megan Neal, can testify to every bump in that road.
Megan shared that Bianca experienced a variety of setbacks within the past three years. She lost her mother unexpectedly, entered into new foster homes, was hospitalized and even spent some time in a homeless shelter. Still, her education was always a priority. 
"College was difficult for Bianca in the beginning. She didn't want to meet new people and would sometimes suffer from panic attacks", Megan reported. Bianca laughed, remembering that awkward time in her life, almost as if it were different person Megan was describing. "Megan sat in the hallway outside of my classroom so I would go to class. She wasn't right in there with me, but I knew she was just outside the door if I needed her", she stated.
Then, in 2015, things began to look up for Bianca. Her mother's cousin, "Aunt Tina" invited her to come live in their home.  Aunt Tina taught her how to cook and clean. Bianca reports, "I am able to make it to all my mental health appointments and I got my first job. Since I have been living with them, I have been happier”. Megan added, "She has been solid with staying on medication, doing her homework, and following her work schedule".
This year, Bianca was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success. When asked if Bianca saw herself at this point three years ago, she shook her head no. And when asked what she credits to her success, Bianca grinned and pointed to her case manager and long-time friend, Megan. "She stays on me.  I need that".
Megan is proud of Bianca's ability to overcome despite the obstacles she has faced. “Bianca has been strong. She keeps a nice sense of humor and learns from what happens. She’s good company. She has a very genuine heart. She would do anything for anyone before she would do it for herself”.

When asked if she had any advice for others who may be facing similar obstacles, Bianca responded, "When one door closes, it may hurt your hand, but you have to be ready to open the next door".