I’m continuing to unpack my grief, and dedicated to sharing my findings on Periscope and my other social media outlets.
My first post on this site is the story of my emotional rollercoaster with education. If you want to read the original post, click here.
Within the post I talked about my frustration and bitterness when it came to the decisions that were made after high school. Briefly, I mentioned a story about my dad writing a check for what happened to be my final semester at that college. Well, I stated before that I’ve been going through my dad’s papers for the past couple of weeks. Even though he was quite organized, his papers would always produce a surprise.
I was looking through old bills and bank statements, just in case there was another family photo accidentally wrapped in the papers. I didn’t find any pictures in the thick stack of bank statements, I found something else; a check.
Years ago, banks would return the check to the source after the check was cleared. I honestly don’t remember this because I didn’t write many checks, but my sister remembered this practice.
I picked up the check, and glanced at the writing for at least 10 seconds. Every space of that check was occupied, and immediately sent me back to the place where the check was written. The check was written at the Accounting Clerk’s window, and I was standing on the left side of my dad. The three sheets of paper that accompanied the check was my class schedule and bill for that semester (featured photo from Periscope). The same semester, I decided months later that I was NEVER returning to that school as a student. The check represented a shift in my relationship with my dad, and my education.
Clearly my dad believed in me. My dad believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Sadly, I still didn’t care that semester. I was so unhappy, and I took his help for granted. It happens in life sometimes, others around you are rooting for you before you begin to cheer for yourself. I had to realize he did that to secure a better life for me, not for him. The next semester I decided to go to a new school, and I didn’t ask him for the help to pay the bill. I wanted to prove to myself and him that I could do it. My goal was to move beyond the guilt and disappointment. I’m not here to apologize for my past, life happens and hopefully we learn a thing or two from it.
You have to want better for yourself. That’s exactly what I had to tell myself. The only way to move out of your current situation is to work harder. Finding the check reminds me that I need to work harder to get to the next level. I would have never rediscovered my passion if it wasn’t for him writing this check. Keep Pushing!
Loner and a Rebel – A story about a rebellious teenage nerd…
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
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!