Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm Part of the 2% But I'm Not All That Proud

The lives of teenage parents are framed as only statistics. Society, researchers,  family,  friends, and sometimes ourselves are fixated on the statistics that are presented as the blueprint for our lives.
I know that I used to live my life in a cycle of purposefully "defying stereotypes" I thought defying these stereotypes would provide me with an overwhelming amount of joy and " I told you so" pride. 

However, if I'm being perfectly honest, when I graduated from college I didn't feel this way at all. Yes, I was proud, excited, joyful, and relieved but as the questions of how my degree "made me different from other teen moms" started being asked I became increasing uncomfortable and sad.
One of the most heard statistic about teenage mothers is about only 50% of us graduate high school and of that approximate 50% only 2% of us will obtain a college degree before the age of 30.

After coming down from the natural high my college graduation provided me with I began to think about this "elite" group of stereotype defying teen moms I had become part of, The 2%.As I thought about it more, the more I realize this 2% group I am now a part of has several different stories to tell.

To me the 2% is reflective of the lack of help, resources,  support, and information teenage mother recieve in order to both complete high school and obtain higher education in the form of a college degree. This 2% tells me that of the millions of teenage mothers out there only 2% of us who want to obtain a college degree (not everyone aspires for college and that's fine) get the adequate help we need and want to do it. 

Between the approximate 50% of teen mom high school graduates and 2% of teen mom college graduates 48% of us are left without a way to bridge the gap between high school graduate and college gradate. 

Sure, I "defied" a stereotype but I'm more interested in providing and finding  answers as to why so few teenage mothers complete our education and what needs to be done to help increase these statistics.