I was a recent high school graduate. I believed I had done everything correctly in life. Graduated high school with honors, involved in numerous extracurricular activities, and what I thought ready for the next phase, COLLEGE! My plan was to always graduate and enroll at four-year HBCU (Historically Black College/University). Well, that plan didn’t work. “She’s not ready yet.” I wasn’t ready for a four-year school? Despite knowing that my grades could pretty much guarantee an acceptance letter from the schools of my choosing. “A two-year community college would work best for her right now.” What did I do when I learned that my closest friends were going away to school and I was staying local in my small town that began to feel like a terrible episode of “Cheers,” because of the company I was keeping everybody was starting to know my name? I REBELLED!
Now, I’ve always loved history. For as far back as I remember. I especially loved learning about historical figures that resembled myself. I remember sitting in a History class at the community college and the professor was jumping on the desk and everything. He was attempting to get the class excited about the subject. The one subject I had grown to love was not exciting for me. Why? I was pissed about my current situation. I was still pissed that my friends were away at school and I was wasting my life away at a community college. I felt worthless, I felt as though everything I worked so hard for in high school was irrelevant. Educators told me to be active, well rounded, that’s what schools look for when applying to universities. That day I decided to walk out and not come back. I had reached my breaking point. Even though the first year was paid for…I didn’t care…I began to rebel. I think I only passed one class that semester. A freshman orientation class was the only positive thing on my transcript after the first semester. I said you know I’ll give it try next semester. Same results. I took a full load (4 or 5 classes) and only passed one class. I still didn’t care.
The next fall semester I was no longer on scholarship and I remember my dad writing a check to the accounting office for all the fees for the semester. I thought okay, I’ll attempt to give a damn, and take this semester seriously. I made an appointment with a guidance counselor. I don’t even remember the woman’s name but I can tell you this if she’s still a counselor at the community college I would love to see her right about now. She sat behind her desk and asked me what my problem was, among other questions but here’s the kicker “WAS I ON DRUGS?” You read that correctly she asked if I was on drugs. I remember being puzzled and not knowing how to respond in a respectful manner so I chose to walk out of her office and never come back. I knew if I stayed a minute longer I would’ve crapped on my family’s good name. I decided to withdraw that semester and flip that school the bird.
Maybe they were right. I wasn’t ready for a four-year university. At the rate I was going I was going to be the nerd from high school that was now employed at the local diner begging for tips and my sanity. So, I had to think what am I going to do now? There was another community college about 20 minutes away. The same community college that my sister attended and received her Associate’s degree. I said I’ve got nothing to lose, let me give it a try. My bright idea to start at this other community college for the Winter semester was genius **insert sarcastic grin** and I didn’t think about traveling an extra 20-25 minutes for classes. I did it though. The guidance counselor I met with came up with a plan of action after looking at my previous college transcripts and my high school transcripts. With a puzzled look on his face, he took a deep breath and asked me, “Okay, please tell me what’s wrong? Why are you unhappy?” I sat in that office and poured my heart out to this man. He assured me that I could bounce back but I have to want this and no four-year school would touch me with grades like before. I told him I was determined and I would produce results. I just had to find my motivation. My motivation was getting the heck away from my hometown. At the end of the Winter semester I was finally able to show my dad a report card. Before, I never produced one, I would always change the subject but this time I hand delivered the mail with my grades in the envelope. I even remember my class schedule from that semester.
- American History 101
- English 101
- Psychology 101
- World Religion
Drum roll please! I managed to receive a 3.75 that semester. I couldn’t believe it myself. I was fighting ole man winter, pride, and others to get those grades. I switched up my circle of friends temporarily to get the job done too. I had a goal and was motivated to complete it. I knew I wanted to move away and I didn’t want anyone or anything standing in the way of me accomplishing it.
I was convinced that if I had a goal, estimated end date, and a little elbow grease that I could be unstoppable. I enrolled in the Spring and Summer semesters after that successful Winter semester and continued to be on a roll. I transferred to a four-year school for the fall semester and thanked my former guidance counselor for doing what he was sent to do in that season of my life. I rebelled earlier on and realized where it would have me, in the same place as a lot of the people I despised to be around.
What happened after you transferred? Well, I received my BA and fast forward to 2014 I finally was able to experience life on an HBCU campus, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Library Science – Archives & Records Management Degree.
I still find it in me to rebel from time to time but I’m grateful for the lessons I learned as a teenager, and I’m sure my parents are too!