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How Sharing My Story Became a College Course

When I walked onto the campus of the University of Memphis as a freshman and mother of a two-year-old in 1997.

I never imagined that one day I would be a professor at the same school. And not only as a professor, well adjunct. But I would have my very own class based on my very own story.
Never heard of that happening? Me either!

After taking the bold step of publishing my very personal and, at times, very painful story. I was recognized by the dean of the college of business where I had received my degree in 2001 (he wasn’t there then). He had seen a need for students to learn life skills in addition to the business skills they were learning.  And he thought I was the person to teach them.

What an honor!

With the assistance of Associate Professor Dr. Barbara Davis, we went through nearly a year of planning and obtaining approvals. At times, I felt like it was more trouble than it was worth. I told them we didn’t have to continue because I felt that I could perhaps reach students in other ways. Maybe…
But they felt strongly about the need and that the class would meet that need. So when I got the green light to move forward with the class for the Spring 2016 semester, I was ecstatic. The next challenge was to actually get students to register for the class. After a year of creating the class, it could all be for nothing if no students selected the course.

I created this flier and had tremendous support throughout the university with others promoting the class, and we got fifteen amazing students! 

Sharing My Story Became a College Course ; Life Skills class flier

The class is beautifully diverse in race, gender, age and personalities. We have fun every Wednesday night from 5:30-8:30, and I am always amazed when I see, hear, and read about how my students are learning more about themselves. And others, finding ways to be successful in both their personal and professional lives.
I’m usually pretty good with words, but I can’t find the words to describe how blessed I have been to have this opportunity. The dean is interested in creating more sections of the class and continuing, but I don’t know what the future holds. No matter what happens, this has been an amazing experience that adds to my list of-

“Dreams Do Come True…Even the Ones You Didn’t Even Know You Had.”

Tonight, my students will present their final projects which will be a demonstration of what they have learned from the class and my book (which was the required reading) And how they will apply it to their lives personally and professionally. They will also demonstrate how they will use what they learned to impact the lives of others which is exactly why I do what I do. Why I shared  my story. To impact others.

Amazing how this little, scared teen mom shared her story that became a college course!
Can you imagine what could happen if you take that step you’ve been wanting to take?



I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.