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Student Life

USF graduate student inspires classmates with the story of her homeless past

Patricia Weeks is a typical, happy graduate student today, but nine years ago she was homeless.

“My parents had six kids to take care of, and the economy was already horrible,” Weeks, 23, said.

When Weeks was in middle school, her family got the news that they would have to move out of their three-bedroom home in Jacksonville.

“It was devastating and embarrassing,” Weeks said.

According to Weeks, her family had always struggled to pay bills, but this was rock bottom.

“At first we had family friends that let us stay with them, but who really has room for eight additional people?” Weeks said.

The two oldest children in the Weeks family, Kyle and Chris, were both old enough to get part-time jobs at the local supermarket. Even with the extra money, the family still struggled.

“We had one car to get everyone around with, and I remember it was a small Ford Taurus, red with faded black interior,” Weeks said.

Weeks explained that all eight people would sleep in the car when friends ran out of room for her big family.

“Thinking about it now I honestly couldn’t explain how eight of us slept in that car, but we had no choice,” Weeks said.

According to Weeks, it took her family seven years to get back on its feet, but now they have more than most people.

“I guess I am your typical rags to riches story, because after my dad got hired on as a manager at a local construction company, things really started to look up,” Weeks said.

Two years ago, the Weeks family bought a spacious, five-bedroom house in Tampa with enough room for the whole family.

“I used to be embarrassed about my story, but now I take pride in my past,” Weeks said.

Michael Miller, a University of South Florida international affairs professor, heard Weeks’ story for the first time last year in his public policy class.

“I asked the students to tell me a little about themselves, and when it was Patricia’s turn, she told the class how she used to be homeless, and everyone in the room seemed to feel touched,” Miller said.

According to Miller, the students seemed to look up to Weeks after learning about her past.

“It’s almost like people respect her more because of what she has been through,” Miller said.

About Briana Sellers

Briana Sellers is a public relations major at the University of South Florida. She created her blog to educate students on the merging world of fashion and public relations. Her goal is to give you the knowledge needed to live fashion, breathe fashion and ultimately represent the world of fashion.


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