Jessie Brodniak Teixeira '22
Within each of our Bay Path community members is an inspirational story of perseverance and strength, and we are honored to share them. This narrative originally appeared as part of Bay Path's #MyPath on social media.
“One of my life goals was to join the military, go to college, and be an officer in the military. When I was in high school, I was working full-time to make ends meet. I struggled in class and barely graduated. Then, I went to a community college on a full scholarship. But my family situation changed, so I had to work a lot more. A year after joining college, I put it on the back burner to focus on working.
“I was working in retail. I needed the money to keep my family off the street. But I wondered if that was what my whole life would be. This wasn't what I wanted. Since I grew up in the area, I had heard of Bay Path. I had friends there, so I visited a few times and made more friends. So, I applied to Bay Path and was accepted. But when I went to enroll, I couldn't even afford the enrollment fee. I no longer had my scholarship, which wouldn't have worked anyway. I spoke to some of my friends who were already at Bay Path, and they said, 'Look, you can join the military. It's a scary step, but it's something you've always wanted to do. And if you can do that, then you can get education benefits, and in the future, try again.'
“And that's what I did. I joined the military, spent the next eight years stateside and overseas, returned, completed my Associate's degree, and then went to The American Women's College (TAWC). Before this, I had wanted to study criminal justice. But after I joined the military and was exposed to some of the unfortunate, bad things in our world, I felt I needed to take a slightly different route.
“I spoke to my fiancé, who was a student at TAWC and works in higher ed. It became apparent that I wanted to fix some aspects of the American criminal justice system that deserve long-overdue improvement. I thought the best way to do that was by becoming a lawyer. I settled on getting my Liberal Studies degree at Bay Path based on all the work I had already put in.
“Bay Path was much more than I expected, and I had a pretty good expectation from seeing my fiancé logging into the classes and talking about how enriching that was for her education and career development. I had a little more responsibility under my belt compared to when I went to college ten years ago. So, I was ensuring I was logging in and getting my online education.
“The way TAWC is structured was beneficial. A whole semester happens in six weeks. You don't have time to say, 'Oh, I'll do it next week.' It's due on Thursday, and it's due on Saturday, and that's that. And then you're into a new week with a new set of tests you must complete. The structure helps you stay on track and avoid procrastination.
“There's no comparing Bay Path to anything! The amount of support you get from students you never even meet is impressive. I was a part of the Lavender Ceremony and the Multicultural Scholar Ceremony, which were awesome. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I felt that it was a way to show my support for the college in being more inclusive and embracing its diversity with the students in the community.
“I'm thrilled that I could share my story, and I can only hope it helped someone. I also talked about how several elder members of the LGBT community have warned me to hide who I am on my resume, in interviews, or law school applications so as to not limit myself based on what other people might think of me and how they may discriminate against me. But my question is, 'Well, how can we ever make a change if we pretend not to exist?'
“And that's another reason why I stood up there in the Lavender ceremony and said, "This is me, and I'm not going to hide it for anybody." And hopefully, that'll make it better for the next generation, so they don't have to live in fear. Whatever your diversity may be, you should just be yourself and be fearless about it. The world must evolve and become a kinder place.” - Jessie Brodniak '22 #MyPath