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COVID Upheaval, the Maryland Promise and New Beginnings

Jasmine Pratt

In March 2020, Jasmine Pratt was enjoying her job as a project manager for a Maryland translation company, working with linguists from around the world. When COVID hit, she was laid off.

“They gave me a severance check and sent me on my way,” she said. “It was a really fun job, and it sucked it had to end. I became really bored; I was extremely depressed.”

But, in that time, she also found opportunity. A 2012 high school graduate without much support from others at the start of adulthood, it was the first time she had time to reflect on her career path and what she wanted, what she really wanted.

“I was always thinking about the bills. The pandemic made me think about my future,” she said. Pratt decided to go back to school to make a career change.

"My mother has been suffering from a substance abuse problem for years, and I've been trying to figure out why my whole life," she said. “I’m now 27-years-old and that’s why I’ve made this decision, and hopefully I’ll get answers for other people.”

Obstacles popped up early in the process though, mainly finances. Pratt had no family support and no savings, so she became proactive in pursuing financial aid, including through the FAFSA. “... I was filling out anything and everything when it came to financial support. ... I knew I didn’t want to stop (college) once I started.”

She was thrilled when she received news of scholarships, including the Maryland Promise Scholarship, a last-dollar scholarship available to students who enroll at a Maryland community college. She started school that fall of 2020.

Pratt plans to graduate from AACC in 2023 with a major in psychology and a certificate in gender and sexuality studies, then get in the psychology field asap while transferring to University of Southern Florida, for a bachelor's degree and eventually, a Ph.D.

“I want to take this as far as I can. ... I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something for me. I thought ‘What would make me happy?’ and it has been making me happy ever since.”