Remember the story of the 48-year-old woman who took 19 years to get her bachelor’s in accounting? This is sort of like that except today’s protagonist was the family black sheep, a high school dropout, and lived out of her car.
29-year-old Jennifer Brown dropped out of Clackamas High (OR) her freshman year, spent some months in a group home and alternative school and spent the next several years working crappy jobs, alternating between her then-boyfriend’s house and sleeping in her car. By the time she was 25, she was working at a grocery store and realized she loved keeping the store’s books.
At 25, she got married and quit her job at the grocery store to pursue her educational dreams, enrolling full-time at a community college in San Diego. It took her three semesters before she could take math classes for credit, being placed in remedial math classes until she could be caught up.
Through the support of tutors and professors, she managed to maintain a 4.0 for two semesters before the family moved to Portland to be with her husband’s father, who was dying of bone cancer. From there, she attended Clackamas and Mt. Hood community colleges and Clark College in Vancouver to put together the classes required to transfer to the University of Portland’s accounting program. She kept up a 3.9 GPA, nailing “As” in classes like business calculus, statistics and decision modeling.
Brown will graduate from the University of Portland on May 8th with a bachelor’s in business administration. From there, she’s off to the University of Southern California, presumably for her Masters in accounting. She’s interned at Deloitte and mentored high school students like herself, at risk of dropping out or otherwise veering off the path.
Eventually, she wants to earn a doctorate degree and be a forensic and fraud auditor for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Commence to calling her an underachiever in the comments, as is your wont, dear Going Concern readers.