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When asked about her “goals for the future,” Alexis Lape pauses. “Right now, it's up in the air given the state of the economy … and the pandemic … and my living situation … but I'd like to maybe pursue real estate as well as music. I'm a business major so I don't have set plans.”
Born in Brandon, Alexis has always wanted to be a singer. She participated in her high school chorus and performed in musicals like West Side Story and Cinderella. Knowing that the best vocal cords in the world couldn’t help her if she couldn’t market herself, she decided that the best way to pursue her dream would be to go to college for a business degree.
But Alexis knew that step wouldn’t be easy. She would be the first in her family to go to college, and she’d have to do it on her own. Her family members struggled with addiction. “My life was unstable,” she said. “I had to move around a lot. And financially I would not have been able to afford college.”
Alexis knew she wouldn’t be able to count on her parents for financial help or guidance in applying. Fortunately, she heard about an organization that could help her with both of these needs. Through outreach counselor Monda Kelley, Alexis began her relationship with VSAC.
“She was very helpful in terms of making me aware of what scholarships were available to me. Every one that I was eligible for, I applied for. She gave me vouchers to take my SATs and fill out my Common Application,” Alexis explains.
With Monda’s help, Alexis applied for over a dozen scholarships and received many of them. Monda also nominated Alexis for “two fairly large scholarships that were renewable and that really changed [her] whole life.”
Alexis chose Castleton University because it was close to home. “I have three younger sisters. And I just wanted to try to make it as affordable as possible. So, since it was an in-state school, tuition was cheaper and I could commute that way.”
Alexis’s cost-saving measures have paid off. Thanks to the many scholarships as well as working to support herself, she is graduating completely debt-free this May. Of course, this year, graduation will be a bit different than in past years, as will applying for jobs post-graduation, which can be hard to navigate even under normal circumstances. So, she’s keeping her options open.
“I would like to try and pursue real estate. My boyfriend's an electrician, so we've talked about maybe flipping houses together,” she mused. “But I don't want to be confined to one thing. It'd be really awesome to be an entrepreneur and just have a bunch of different things going. I don’t feel like I need to rush into the workforce to pay off debt, which most students have to do. So, I have the time to figure out exactly the career path I want to take. I’m very grateful to be in that position because not many people are.”
“I guess it’s reassuring to know that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You can take the time to discover the path that you would like to follow.” Whatever her future holds, she knows it wouldn’t have been possible without help.
“Where you come from shouldn't limit your success, because there are plenty of people that are there to help you. Your high school -- if you ask questions, they'll direct you to people that you need to help you achieve your dreams.”
Need help with pursuing your career goals and education needs? VSAC is here to help you. Serving our community is at the heart of all we do. During this ever-changing time, we remain available and committed to help you navigate all your career and education needs. No question or worry is too small or too big to reach out to us and ask for help.
For information on college and career planning and decisions, go to www.vsac.org/decision and also check out our online workshops and resources and online events. For an update of how we can help during the COVID-19 crisis, click here. 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.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay in touch. We’re here for you.