I have a secret. For about three years now, I've been writing a book, and in April I finally self-published it! As you can imagine, writing a book has been a challenge with my little one. Sometimes days and even weeks would go by where I would get nothing accomplished. But, little by little, I kept plugging away, and as I got closer to my goal, the motivation was there to stay up all night long to accomplish it. (Yes, there were many, many days when I was functioning off of only a few hours a sleep the night before. I don't recommend it, but sometimes the night is the only time us mothers have to ourselves...)
My book, The College Success Plan, is a young adult book filled with lessons and exercises to help teens navigate the college planning and application process. Thinking back on my own high school experience, I was very lucky to have an aunt that helped me with the process; she was a guidance counselor at another school, and she made it her mission to make sure I chose a college that was a good fit for me both emotionally and financially.
Unfortunately, lots of teens don't have the good fortune to have their own private school counselor like I did. Sure high school guidance offices do their best to reach out to all their students, but many do get lost in the process. In the end, these "lost" students may find themselves either choosing a college that's too expensive (and taking out too many student loans), choosing a college that is not a good fit, or going to college without having any official career goals in place. This is especially evident by today's statistics: only 36% of today's college students will graduate with their bachelor's degree in four years. The vast majority take about six years if they even graduate at all.
I knew this statistic from the other end--from working at many colleges. When teaching traditional day students, I would meets lots of sweet, smart, funny young adults that were in college with absolutely no direction. The goal, I believe, was that the college would magically help them find their way into a perfect and rewarding career, but sadly colleges are notorious for looking in the other direction. They have resources to help students, but if the students never speak up and ask for help, they get sidelined, plain and simple. Unfortunately, it's not just 5 or 10 percent of these students that get lost and sidelined...it's more like 60 or 70 percent--the reason why graduation rates at the four year mark are so low!
My book is meant to help teens develop a plan for college and beyond before they even begin the college application process. It dissects the career planning process into ten lessons, and then provides another ten lessons to help them research colleges and understand the college application process. The goal at the end is to help students have their own blueprint for the future--one that will help them find a college that's a good emotional and financial fit and one that will inspire them to find their passion or calling in life and work toward that end goal. With all the articles, books, blogs, magazines, and websites dedicated to college planning, it's way too easy for today's teens to get overwhelmed. The goal of my book is to deliver the important information they need to know so they can feel confident making decisions without having to look at a zillion other resources. There's one mantra that comes to mind, "KISS--Keep it simple, Stupid!" When looking at colleges and the big picture, they need to do just that, focus on what's important and what they see in the big picture (a.k.a. their thoughts, dreams, and daydreams.) By the end of the book, their map or plan has been created.
One day I'd like to talk more about what it takes to start your own business and self-publish your own book. The road is not an easy one, and I'm discovering that it's equally if not more difficult to try to market your product after it's been created. I'm by no means a success story. I began my business and book launch on May 10th, and I've earned a whopping $40 so far. (I won't even tell you how much I spent to create my book, have it edited, or have my own website designed...Okay one day, I'll tell you, but after I make it all back.)
I have my own blueprint that I'm following, and that's one day to be self-employed so I can choose my own hours and design my own schedule around my little boy. It's a dream, but if I follow my own good advice that I present in the book, I can make it happen. If you have passion and you have your health, then you won't let your dream die, right?
Thank you all for reading about my journey thus far. If you're interested in winning a free copy of my book and/or a $30 Amazon gift card, please visit Mama Luvs Books, where Kristen wrote such a beautiful review of my book. I can't thank her enough! Also, if you're interested in learning more about my book, the business I created, or if you're interested in helping me with my launch, please let me know. I'm never too proud to ever ask for help :) Here's my business info:
How to get my newsletter: www.thecollegesuccessplan.com/contact
The book is available on Amazon.
Thank you to all!