Child drives student to turn life around

Jenny Caulfield
Creative Editor

mbt-3450Stephanie Saddlemire | The Hudsonian

Having her son gave Alissa Cornell-Wolfinger the motivation to get her life back on track.

“I wanted to have a baby because before I had him, my life was crazy,” said Cornell-Wolfinger.

Cornell-Wolfinger found herself struggling with personal difficulties that were slowing her life down. “I liked to drink a lot in high school,” she said. Drinking heavily in high school, Cornell-Wolfinger decided to end that part of her life and have her son, Travis Lee Triplett Jr.

“He just calmed me down,” said Cornell-Wolfinger. After two years away from school living in Florida, Cornell-Wolfinger decided to move home, and now takes her son to the daycare by Hudson Valley so she can attend classes.
“I always wanted to come back because I wanted to get my degree,” she said. Cornell-Wolfinger, currently a criminal justice major, is looking to become a family youth counselor, a dream she has been chasing since her final years in high school.

In high school, Cornell-Wolfinger was given an internship at Albany Family Court. During her internship, she had a hands on experience with helping minors with delinquency problems.

“You’re like a case manager, you say what you think [children] should do to keep them out of jail,” said Cornell-Wolfinger.

“A few people in my family had problems like that growing up and i’d like to be able to change someone’s path,” she said.

Before getting pregnant, Cornell-Wolfinger decided to leave after her first year at Hudson Valley to get an apartment in Florida with her fiance, Travis Triplett. After consistent arguments with her mother, Cornell-Wolfinger made the split decision to leave New York and get away from home. “I just wanted something new,” she said.

Bartending there and spending time in the sun for two years, after a family emergency back home, Triplett and Cornell-Wolfinger decided to move back to New York. The couple decided to stay in New York, and start their new life together by having a child. “I think we just wanted to have something that was ours together we could love,” she said.

“I think [moving] was good because now we just want to stay here and build a stable environment for the baby,” she said. Now caring for her son, Cornell-Wolfinger has found the motivation and reasoning for becoming a better person, and a good mother.

To become a mother, Cornell-Wolfinger has found the ability to become selfless. “You don’t think about yourself anymore,” said Cornell-Wolfinger about parenting. Having about five minutes of time to yourself, Cornell-Wolfinger found that parenting also meant being organized.

“You have to be good at making time for yourself which I wasn’t good at before,” she said.

Although it’s difficult to juggle being a mother and a full-time student, Cornell-Wolfinger finds the ambition to make her studies and her son a priority.

“He gives me motivation; he makes me wake up in the morning, he makes me happy to come to school — it’s a motive to do better,” she said. Cornell-Wolfinger has no regrets of having her son despite the constant struggles associated with parenting.

“I remember delivering him and it was the best experience — it was the best life decision i’ve ever made,” she said.
A year into parenting, Cornell-Wolfinger learned this week that she is pregnant with her second child, and discovered during an ultrasound Friday that she will be having her second child in September of this year.

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