Emily Burgin is a junior from Lee County, Virginia, majoring in Accounting and Business Management with plans of attending Law School upon graduation. Like many Alice Lloyd College students, she came from a financially challenged background, yet this rough start has not and will not limit her aspirations. Emily explained, “My dreams of being a lawyer come from my passion to help people. More specifically, I want to help children. My goal is to help children get out of bad situations and let them know they can overcome what they are going through.” This desire to overcome and to show others that they are not limited by where they started in life has been a driving force in Emily’s life.
When speaking of her past, Emily stated, “I had a humble upbringing, but I am so blessed to have grown up the way I did. When I was young, my mom did not have a job and my step-father was only making about $100 a week; so, when he passed away, we had nothing. Going through those harsh times gave me an even greater initiative to do something different with my life so my future family does not have to know that struggle.” To achieve this stability, Emily said, “After I obtain a law degree, I then hope to earn a master’s degree in accounting and become a Certified Public Accountant. In my hometown of Dryden, those are two occupations that are in demand. I will return to Virginia and be able to financially take care of my family and myself.” This drive for success is rooted in her childhood.
When describing her early life, Emily stated, “Working hard comes natural to me, because as a child, it was my job to sell what extra food we had left over from our garden. People were always leery about buying from such a young child, but I would work very hard to make money for our struggling family. At the age of 6, I helped till our garden and plant vegetables. Almost everything that we ate came from our garden, which consumed most of our land. We would save what we could to sell to people in the community, so we could have money to pay bills and keep the garden going. I would take a piece of cardboard that I found with the words ‘Veggies for Sale’ written on it, and stand at the end of our driveway, and someone would stop to buy the produce. I always managed to sell what I had to make the money that was needed for our family. Another thing I learned about hard work is the value of money. I was never allowed to keep a single dollar I made, but I knew that I would have food on the table and a place to sleep because of the money that I raised to help my mother and step-father. I had burdens on my shoulders as a child that I shouldn’t have had to bear. Although I am grateful that I know the value of a dollar and how to work hard, I want my children to have a more comfortable childhood while learning those things, as well.”
Emily explained, “I decided to go to Alice Lloyd College because of the small size, friendly environment, and its closeness to my home. Furthermore, I was able to go to college because of the tuition guarantee scholarship and the work study program. I have worked in the Admissions Office for two years and was recently promoted to Student Supervisor. Working in the Admissions Office has given me the opportunity to make so many friends and meet some incredible people. Not only did the work study program allow me to afford to go to college but it has also taught me how to manage my spending.” Working to partially cover the cost of their education allows Alice Lloyd College students to avoid much of the crushing debt with which many college graduates struggle.
The lessons of hard work, dedication, and perseverance are traits that define the students at Alice Lloyd College. Furthermore, because of their backgrounds, many of the students that enroll here already have the seeds of these traits planted in them. ALC provides an environment to nurture them so that these seeds can grow into their potential. When Mrs. Lloyd founded the College, she stated, “The leaders are here, they only need an opportunity.” Providing this opportunity is what ALC continues to strive for today.