Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Thank you for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself'


Anita Newhouse of Culpeper didn't believe she was smart enough. She was wrong ...

I came up with every excuse I could think of:

“I have a child.

“I work full time.

“I wasn’t a good student in high school.”

The truth is, my self esteem and confidence were so low that I honestly didn’t think I would be successful in college. I thank God I listened to a friend who pushed me to enroll at Germanna Community College in 2000. She suggested taking one class at a time until I was used to that, and then later taking more than one class each semester. As each semester passed, my confidence increased and I held my head a little higher.

I couldn’t believe that I was going to college and that I was working towards an associate’s degree! No one in my family had ever attended college, and now I was. It felt amazing.

One of my professors at GCC, Randy Martin, encouraged me to check with the University of Mary Washington to find out what classes that I had already taken would transfer as well as what other classes I could take at Germanna that would transfer. I humored him, still not believing it was realistic. Mr. Martin checked with me periodically to see where I was in the process. He even said that he was not going to let me stop at an associate’s degree.
One day I realized that if he believed in me and he thought I could do it, maybe I should pursue it. But I didn’t have the money to continue my education. And though my self esteem had increased during my time at Germanna, I was still not confident enough in myself to believe that I could also be successful at a university. I simply thought I was not smart enough.

I met with an advisor at UMW and was able to take a lot of classes at GCC that would transfer. Germanna provided me with educational assistance for tuition for these classes as well as for the books.

In addition to working full time and attending school, my husband and I are small business owners, and this takes a lot of my time. I was only able to take one class a semester at UMW. I didn’t really have the time or money to devote to any more than that.

In April of 2009, an email about a fellowship program was sent to all state employees. I quickly closed the email without really reading it because at the time I didn’t realize what it was. Later that day my wonderful supervisor, Sarah Somerville, came to me and asked if I had read the email. I told her I looked at it briefly but that I didn’t really know what it was or if it even pertained to me. She explained to me that it was the Chancellor’s Fellowship scholarship and she encouraged me to apply for it. If she hadn’t brought it to my attention, I would never have applied. I did, and I was awarded the scholarship which provided me the opportunity to be a full-time student for the first time ever.

Not only could I be a full-time student and not have to balance work, but I also had no worries about the cost of attending the university as my salary and tuition would be taken care of during the academic year in which I was attending school. Dr. David Sam, Germanna’s president, called to tell me that I was awarded the scholarship and when I hung up with phone with him, I cried. I cried because I was so grateful for the opportunity and I couldn’t believe that I was going to be receiving my Bachelor’s degree.

As a full-time student, I was able to network and build relationships. This was something I was never able to do before while balancing other things in my life. When I finished classes at Germanna, I would always rush home to my family. As a full-time student, I was able to stay after class to discuss my thoughts on various things and build relationships that I will continue to maintain.

On May 8, 2010, I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with my Bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management. I am forever grateful to so many people for supporting me through this journey and providing me with this opportunity.
Thank you, Chancellor Glenn DuBois, for providing such a scholarship. Thank you Sarah Somerville, for being such a wonderful and selfless person and encouraging me to take advantage of this opportunity though it would mean I would have to leave the counseling office. Thank you Randy Martin for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Also, thank you Pam Frederick for being so supportive of me at all times.
I can’t tell you how much it means to have such wonderful supervisors who encourage growth and want the best for their employees. Joan Fischer, Kelly Wolfe, Katey Denner, and Dean Rowe, thank you all for always believing in me! Dr. Sam and Victoria Waldron, you both were willing, without hesitation, to write letters of reference for me and I am so grateful for that as your opinions and insight are extremely valued.

Thank you as well to every single employee at Germanna who has believed in me, and shared in my exciting journey.

God bless you all!

--Anita Newhouse

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am truly happy for you Anita. I too, know what it's like to doubt yourself due to a low self-esteem and confidence level. Going to Germanna has helped me so much to realize that I CAN do it. I have had many teachers here that have been so supportive. I have just finished my first year of nursing in the RN program here.
I want to thank you for always being very kind and helpful. I could always trust that I could come in the counseling office with any question and receive a friendly answer. I just knew you truly cared and you would genuinely try your best to help. This has meant so much to me especially since life was devastating for me at times.
I ran into you at Central Park and I found myself excited to say hi. So, even though we don't know each other much personally, know that you have made a difference just by being the way you are naturally. So thank you for spreading the inspiration around and many blessings on your journey of higher education.
Sincerely,
Brigitte Reineck

Germanna publications said...

Passing this comment on...

What an awesome narrative and how inspiring. Yoru story is a beautiful illustration of talents being multiplied. Congrats we are all so proud of you.
Sunithi Gnanadoss

rgyijdc said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

geraldine rose said...

I am so glad that this wonderful wise young lady is being written about. I recently met her and she is everything you would want your child to have as an advisor.I have sent others to her an they agree she is great.Her story is wonderful and she is truly paying it forward. I didn't expect the remarkable words she gave me in her office or how patience she was because sometimes when seniors like myself meet young people they don't take us serious. Yet at almost 60 she told me I could do anything and her smile said she meant it. Thanks Germanna for having her on campus for us students , you made a wise choice in Anita Newhouse. G,Rose