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Lengthy surgical recovery leads this Danville student to career inspiration
BryAnna Goslant became interested in criminal justice when she was recovering from extensive hip surgery her sophomore year in high school. “I was on bed rest for six weeks, and I had lots of time to watch crime shows,” she laughs.
BryAnna’s favorite crime drama was “NCIS,” and she particularly liked Abby Sciuto, the spirited and highly skilled forensic scientist on the show. The only problem? “I am horrible at science,” BryAnna admits.
So just after she started as a freshman at Husson University, she met with the head of the criminal justice and legal studies department. “He said if I wasn’t good at science but liked forensics, I should consider a criminal justice major.”
BryAnna took that advice, and a corrections studies class this past fall introduced her to a possible career path within the field. “We heard from a guest speaker who worked as a probation officer, and she had some great things to say about the job. While she said there are times when she sees some bad things, she says she’s able to help a lot of people. That’s what sold it for me.”
This summer, BryAnna will formally audition that career interest through an internship with the Vermont Department of Corrections, in the probation and parole office in Newport. Her assignment will give her experience meeting with individual offenders as well as going to court.
“I would really like to see this career in action before I start applying for jobs,” BryAnna says. This internship will help me determine if this is really what I want to do.”
As the first in her family to go to college, BryAnna didn’t have any higher-ed expectations growing up. But she did have a lot of support and encouragement from her tight-knit family. She’s the second-oldest child in a large, blended family of eight children, and she’s especially close with her mom, her sister Cheyenne, and her stepsister Odaiya. In fact, she says, not being able to see her mom and sisters every day has been the hardest part of going to college. And the fact that Bangor, Maine, was just four hours away from her home in Waterford factored into her decision to attend Husson University instead of other schools that were farther away.
“Everyone in my family always encouraged me to make the choices I wanted,” BryAnna says. She also credits her teachers at Danville High School for encouraging her to think about college. “It was just a matter of my figuring out where I could see myself in the future.”
Which, of course, is not a quick or easy decision — but it’s one where VSAC proved helpful. BryAnna started working with VSAC’s GEAR UP program in the seventh grade and began meeting with counselor Patricia Turner during her sophomore year.
“Trish was very helpful as I was trying to decide which schools to apply to, and she gave me a lot of guidance on the application process in general, as well as applying for scholarships. Even after high school, there have been many times I’ve talked to her about classes and financial aid,” says BryAnna, noting that Trish was instrumental in helping her secure a scholarship that covered half the cost of an online ethics course she’ll take this summer. “And she checks in on me from time to time. It shows she cares and wants her students to succeed.”
For BryAnna, the essay was the hardest part of the college application process. “I really struggled to figure out what I could write about that would make an impact.” She eventually decided to tell the story of her hip dysplasia.
While it’s usually a congenital condition, BryAnna says, “I wasn’t born with it. I had a rare bacterial infection at 10 months old that was a bit of a medical mystery. I was really sick, and I spent 10 weeks in the hospital at Dartmouth. My body kept getting re-contaminated, and I had to have lots of hip drainings.”
As a result of that infection, one of BryAnna’s legs has always been shorter than the other, and she has experienced a lot of pain throughout her life. But that has never stopped her from being active in sports, especially soccer and softball. “I took a lot of Advil and did a lot of PT,” she jokes.
However, after two hip dislocations during soccer pre-season her sophomore year, her “grin and bear it” attitude couldn’t take her any further, and that’s when she went into surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital for a nine-hour hip reconstruction.
As far as her college essay, it was Patricia who encouraged BryAnna to open up about her medical history. “I don’t want people to see the weak side of me, so writing about it was a challenge,” she says. “But meeting with Trish made me realize that it was a story worth telling.”
“What I went through at 10 months old … technically I’m not supposed to be here, living the life that I am,” she adds.
Being aware of that fact has given BryAnna a perspective that most of us take far longer than 21 years to embrace. BryAnna says, she has learned to push herself for her own satisfaction, rather than to please others. It’s an outlook that has led her to great success in college; her grades are top-notch, and she made the President’s List for this past semester.
BryAnna hopes that her summer internship will give her the answers she’s looking for about her future career. Whatever that path ends up being, if she approaches her next steps with that same determination and personal clarity, there’s no telling how far she’ll go.
For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to www.vsac.org/FAFSAfirst and check out our online workshops and events. You can also give us a call at 800-642-3177, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story is produced by Vermont Student Assistance Corp., created by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 as a public nonprofit agency, to advocate for Vermont students and their families to ensure that they achieve their education goals. Our vision is to create opportunities for all Vermont students, but particularly for those—of any age—who believe that the doors to higher education are closed to them. We begin by helping families save for education with Vermont’s state-sponsored 529 savings program. To help Vermonters plan and pay for college or career training, our counselors work with students in nearly every Vermont middle school and high school, and again as adults. Our grant and scholarship programs attract national recognition, and our loan programs and loan forgiveness programs are saving Vermont families thousands of dollars in interest.