Gwen's Open Road
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Public Television: Season 6
blogging, career, college, housewife, mentality, mindset, teen pregnancy, University of Texas
Growing up, writer and blogger Gwen Zepeda was a smart kid in a bad neighborhood, and that came with a lot of pressure. She never thought she’d go to college, but a mentor at a nonprofit pushed her to apply and she got in to the University of Texas. It was total culture shock. If you’d dropped her in a bad neighborhood, she quips, she would have survived; but in a college town she didn’t know what to do. She got pregnant at 19 and then married soon after. She remembers the disappointment: “I’m a teen pregnancy just like every other woman in my family.” She could see the disappointment in her family’s faces, too. “I was going to prove that my family was worth something, that our neighborhood was awesome, and that the nonprofit’s mission was working,” she says. “I didn’t even feel bad for myself--I felt guilty for everyone else.” Soon, taking care of an infant and getting to class proved to be too much for her and she lost her scholarship. She threw herself into being a housewife and creating a stability that she didn’t have growing up. It worked for a little while, but doing only that soon grew stultifying, so she turned to blogging in her free hours. She gained a followed and that led to writing a book, and then another. You never know what the next thing will lead to, she advises. “I don’t think you’re going to pick one thing right now and that’s what you’d better get your degree in and that’s what you’d better spend nine hours a day doing or you’re going to fail,” she says. “The only mistake you can make now is to not do anything.”