“And that for motivation?” “
A former drug addict advises others to stop selling themselves after graduating from Washington University with a BA in political science.
When she graduated in May, Virginia “Ginny” Burton posted before and after photos of herself on Facebook. One was a haunting ID photo of Burton taken in 2005, while the other showed her smiling in her cap and dress.
Burton included an inspirational message in his caption.
“And that for motivation?” Honestly, I thought I was going to die on a park bench with a needle in my arm or by (a) shot in the head. I never would have thought, in a million years, that my life would look like it is today, âshe wrote. âStop selling yourself short. You don’t know what tomorrow might bring, so you might want to consider starting today.
Introduced to drugs as a child, Burton told “The Today Show” that she bounced from one juvenile detention center to another.
In 2012, Burton said she was addicted to heroin and homeless. Her three children were taken away while she was serving several prison terms.
Eventually, Burton got sober while incarcerated and she now has eight years of sobriety, “The Today Show” reports.
The University of Washington said Burton decided to go back to school in 2017 after being frustrated with the criminal justice system.
âHaving experienced drug addiction, incarceration and seeing her family’s experiences with the criminal justice system, she recognized that education was the key to continuing her work more intentionally,â said Burton.
Burton’s hard work and passion seem to be paying off. The university announced last year that it was among 62 students selected for the prestigious Truman scholarship. The university says the scholarship recognizes future leaders who are motivated to make change at the political level.
âStudents are selected on the basis of exceptional leadership, demonstrated civic engagement, academic potential and a desire to pursue a career in public service,â the school said.
Fellows receive up to $ 30,000 for their graduate studies to prepare them for a career in the public service.
At the time, Burton said she planned to earn a common law degree and a master’s in public administration to advocate for prison and criminal justice reform.