Meet Amber.

I have a special story to share with you guys today, it has nothing to do with weight loss, but everything to do with reaching for your dreams. I follow Amber on IG {@ambercamp} and she posted a picture and shared a little about her journey to get her degree. I was so inspired I asked her to share it here, thank you Amber.

First, I have to say I was shocked and very honored when Megan asked if I would like to share my story. I have been following her for a while now and can relate to her in so many ways- and, we just happen to have pretty much the same taste in clothes! So that is a WIN for sure!!

I’m not even sure where to begin, so I’ll just start from here… Hi, my name is Amber.
If you happen to follow my Instagram there was this picture.  It was my #tbt 2011 graduation picture. I decided that morning I was going to write a little about my graduation day and the emotions that day brought.

I’m pretty open about my life, but it’s not easy to write a whole blog post on IG. So I decided to write what meant so much to me about that day. Growing up, my family was very religious- we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. My father decided that before I started the 7th grade that it would be best for me to not go to school anymore. It was “too worldly” he said, and he was afraid that I would get into trouble (my siblings and I had a very sheltered upbringing).  So, I stopped attending school after the 6th grade. I tried going back to school in 9th grade, but that only lasted a few weeks. Education was not important to my family. We never talked about college, only what we could do to be better Jehovah’s Witnesses. So, from 7th grade on, I just read bible story books, crazy huh!!??

I left my father’s house when I was 15 to live with my mom. That was also very rough, so when I was 19 I left my mom’s house, signed my very first lease without a co-signer (they took a chance on a little 19 year old girl and that chance changed my life).

 I worked at Bennigan’s Camp Wisdom. (I loved that place; I worked there for over 3 years).  My apartment was across from the restaurant. I walked to work every day, for a year to save money for a car, oh and to pay rent. I decided I need to focus on my future; the first step was to take my G.E.D.  I took the G.E.D test and passed on the first try--- I WAS SHOCKED, you know considering  my non-schooling.

I met my now husband when I was 18 years old (1996). He is 7 years older than me, and was in his last month of getting his Master Degree. He never treated me like he was better than me because of his upbringing or education. He never made me feel bad for not wanting to go back to school either; he knew it had to be my decision- not his. We dated 4 years before getting married in 2000. We have 2 children that we adore.

Fast forward a bit…
We moved to “the country” (after living all my life in the city) and hated it; we stayed 2 years. My husband was offered a job opportunity in Dallas that we just could not pass up. I knew right then, this was it! It was my chance for change!

 Over the years college had crossed my mind, but with small children and no education, it was just a passing thought. I tried my hand at college once when I was 25 or 26; I took a math class and let’s just say I never went back after the first week.

College was intimidating to me; I didn’t even know how to study!! I talked to Scott about going to college; we weighed the pros and cons with having 2 small children and the drive to and from school every day, and never really talked about it again.

papers from my first class

That was it, I knew before I talked myself out of going back to school I just had to DO IT- and that is just what I did.  I dropped N&L off at school and I took myself to the TCC Southeast Campus. I met with an advisor, and was even able to my entrance test. AFTER my test I called my husband to tell him the good news that I just signed up for college. He had no idea that I was really THAT serious…but I was! He was worried, as any husband would be. Our life was about to get insane, you know since we had a system.  I reassured him that everything would be “ok”.  My first class I registered for was a summer class. Not just a summer class BUT an English class (which I found out after I registered that I would have to write papers). Oh, did I mention that I didn’t go to High School, and had no real idea how to write a paper! I was terrified!!

I was able to get through my first ever credit class with an “A”.  I learned so much from my professor that semester, he made me love college. That was the start of a beautiful, yet very challenging 4 years.
I was 29 years old when I started college, with only a 6th grade education (besides my G.E.D).  College became my full-time job. Every morning Scott would get N&L up, get them dressed for school, made their breakfast and lunch, all while I got ready for class (and still does to this day!!). Monday-Friday, kids and I would leave the house at 6:45am, I dropped N&L off at school, then I would go to class from about 9:00am until 2:00pm. Class and study time, until I had to pick N&L up from school at 3:00pm. During the summer my mother-in-law would keep N&L while I went to class.
Our daily commute (from Dallas to Arlington, and back) was 118 miles a day, for two years while I was at the Community College getting my basics. Then went down to 96 miles a day when I decided to finish my last 2 years at The University of Texas at Arlington. Many days I just didn’t think I could finish, I missed my family. I studied or wrote papers while they went outside or upstairs to play. Those 4 years were the most challenging, yet most rewarding. I can’t begin to tell you how I’d feel after the semesters ended. I missed it, crazy I know. It became routine and it made me happy attending class. Out of the 4 years I think I only missed maybe 6 classes. I knew I’d miss something in class, so I went…every.single.day.

saved all of my spirals

I also got involved with my student organization. I went from Secretary to President in a matter of 2 semesters. I made lifelong friends and the day I graduated I had a huge lump in my throat, as I do right now typing this. I didn’t believe I could actually do it, but I did. Hearing my husband, in-laws and my children cheer for me as I walked across that stage was a feeling I will never forget!  They knew how hard it was for me, and the tears, as well as the calls to my mother-in-law (we are very close) saying, I can’t do it anymore, I’m QUITING!! She just listened to me vent and told me I can do it…do it for YOU! To me that was powerful, she believed in me, something I never had/felt growing up.
If you ever doubt yourself, just take a deep breath and just DO IT- it is better than looking back wishing you would have done it! You won’t regret it, I promise!!


  1. This totally made me tear up... congratulations Amber on an amazing job well done!!

  2. How inspiring! Congratulations Amber!

  3. Oh my gosh. Beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful story! Good for her!!

  5. What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing that!

  6. That was an amazing story. I take for granted the path that was paved and smooth through high school and college with supportive parents. You rock, girl. Don't know if I would be where I am now if I had your story. Wait. I know I wouldn't be. Kudos. I am sure you are proud to be you, as you should be! =)

  7. I have tears in my eyes!! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  8. Such an inspiration :) Exactly what I needed to read, while being down in the dumps over how much time homework is taking away from my family!

  9. What a great, inspiring story! I'm sure your children will think back on everything you did and they will admire you so much. So awesome!

  10. Amazing story!! And kudos to Amber for pushing herself, a true testiment for her kids to aspire to.
    I remember my dad's college graduation too, I was a freshman in high school and got to applaud for my dad.
    (he now is a professor!)

  11. Amber, you are awesome! Congratulations on all of your happiness.

  12. Congrats to her! What a special accomplishment!

  13. WOW- I never knew my story could/would be inspiring. Thank you for all the sweet comments!!


  14. Amazing story! I am currently getting my masters degree and kicking myself daily because I didn't do this early so that I can "enjoy life". Thanks for the inspiration. Counting down my last 2 semesters now!

  15. I'm Amber Renee! I wonder if it's a sign :) great inspiration!

  16. I'm Amber Renee! I wonder if it's a sign :) great inspiration!


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