By Monique Moran, 2018 Sinte Gleska University GED Program Graduate

The Sinte Gleska University Adult Basic Education/GED department provides free GED tutoring and testing services to approximately 120 adult learners annually on the Rosebud Reservation and surrounding counties in south central South Dakota. The American Indian College Fund’s Dollar General GED program provide GED students at Sinte Gleska University with access to learning materials, educational software, free GED testing, and other assistance to help them succeed. The following post is written by Monique Moran, a 2018 GED graduate. Monique is currently a student at Sinte Gleska University majoring in Business Management.

Monique holding her GED certificate.

I am 23 years old and a mother of three. I didn’t have a good childhood because my parents were absent. My grandma raised me and she gave me what she could. I always felt out of place. I hated my life and wanted nothing more than to be an adult so I could leave. After several deaths in my family, I was passed from family member to family member until I ended up in the juvenile detention center.

A distant relative took me in and I was amazed that I had a mother and father figure. I was finally living a regular life. I was able to act my age and only worry about school. What stuck with me the most during the few years I lived with them is that hard work pays off! Just because I was raised in a certain way doesn’t mean I have to follow that path.

My kids motivated me to get my GED. I was almost done with high school, but I didn’t have much support when I had my son at the age of 17, so I had to quit. When I later decided to pursue my GED, in some ways, I wanted to prove that I can rise up and overcome all the bad things in my life. I don’t want pity from anyone. I want people to see that no matter the situation, lifestyle, or struggles you go through, you can still do anything you put your mind to. I have a lot of self-doubt, but when I think about my kids, I push myself to do better.

Monique getting ready for class at the SGU Business Education Department.

The day I went into the GED program, I kept thinking of excuses to not go. I kept telling myself I’m too dumb, this is going to take forever, and I’ll never be able to finish. I had to set all that aside. It took every ounce of courage for me to walk through the door, but once I went in, all those scared and doubtful feelings went away. An hour quickly turned into all day and before I knew it, I was ready for the real test. I jumped right in and pushed my way through. The feeling of accomplishment was well worth all the doubts in the beginning.

The GED program staff are very encouraging, flexible, and willing to help you. My tutor, Linda, went above and beyond to help me finish. I didn’t have a ride to go take my tests, so Linda picked me up to and took me back home when I was finished. If I had to do it again I would, just because I had such a good experience.

I passed my GED tests in November, 2018. Getting my GED opened the doors to more job opportunities and college! When I reached out to the GED program many months later, they got me on the right track to go to college. The staff were 100% on board and said “Okay, let’s make a plan.” They helped me find the places and people I needed to get started with college. If they didn’t know the answers, then they were going to do whatever it took to get them for me. The encouragement was amazing.

My advice for others is don’t wait. Stop putting it off and at least check it out. Even if you’re scared, nervous, or anxious, go in and talk to them. I guarantee they will encourage you and be supportive no matter what your situation is. They are there to help you in any way they can. It’s beyond rewarding to get that piece of paper! Once you get your GED, it’s yours forever. No one can take that from you. Even if you can’t find any ounce of hope because of all the negative things in life, just know that once you finish, there will be a rush of emotions. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but it really is!  It’s worth it!