I cannot recall a time I was more driven than today but of course I have reasons. Now, my reasons are more mature and more significant; I have a family to support and dreams to live. My life has changed in every way possible from financially to emotionally.
Back in high school, I felt out of place. I dealt with being an outcast which by my sophomore year of high school led to me being bullied. I did not have the latest in fashion on my back nor the hottest shoes on my feet. Me, I was perfectly fine with it because as long as I got to learn everyday nothing else mattered. I always told myself that school is not a fashion show, school is made for us to go and learn. Eventually, I became fed up and diagnosed with depression. I knew right then and there that if I did not remove myself from that high school, I would hurt myself and those around me. I started to have suicidal thoughts and every time I came home from school I would just sleep. I was too depressed to do anything and eventually my depression and boredom sought out trouble and attention from dare I say it...BOYS! I had homework but always waited until the last minute to even acknowledge it. All I cared about was being noticed by some boy or being "loved" by a boy.
One day, I hit my realization that boys will not pay my bills or make me successful. I would receive these rewards of phenomenal grades in school and began realizing that I wanted more of a challenge in the classroom to keep my mind occupied on what does matter. If there is something intimidating it is a young, educated black woman not a little girl seeking all the wrong attention in all the wrong ways, that is what my mom would tell me. I wanted a more vibrant environment where I could be myself. The moment I was in class and heard the announcement over the intercom of the opportunity to go to college while still being in high school (post secondary) I thought: "No way! I've got to do this!" I was ecstatic. After telling my stepmom, dad and mom my decision to want to sign for post secondary they told me to go for it and I attended every meeting associated with getting me enrolled. I had never been this driven in my life.
Where I am from, this little town of Zanesville, a last name dictated what you would do with life or what you were good at. With me, I was a Harris so I absolutely had to play basketball. I remember going to conditioning and hated every thing about it. I did not care if my extended family did not support the fact that I wanted to step out of the norm and go somewhere with my academics not sports. I had all the support I needed. My parents told me to enroll in the program even if it would cost them millions. I told them that it would cost us nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief along with them because I knew my stepmom, dad and mom could not afford an expense such as that.
The guidance counselor at the high school and my advisor at the college were vital in helping me along my high school/college experience. They all were so positive and motivating and made sure my transition to college from high school after I graduated would go as easy as possible. My parents always bragged about their, at the time 15 year old daughter, in college. I ended up discovering that I wanted to major in criminal justice. I would always hear: "Cops don't get paid that much. Why would you want to do that?!" I did not want to be a cop. It is not about the money to me it is more about waking up every day and being happy with what I do. I always dreamed of becoming a homicide detective like I seen on the television show The First 48. I became admired with every profession involving criminal justice the more and more I went to class. I was finally walking into a classroom I knew will help me get to my dream job. Eventually, my mind altered and now I am looking more into a victim advocate or juvenile probation officer.
I always looked around and realized the diversity in the classroom and how not one person bashed on another. We were all helping each other learn or gathering help to purchase a textbook for someone or giving someone advice on where to find the cheapest yet efficient laptop. I love that about my college. The cultural, financial diversity and acceptance. There is always an instructor or someone around to ensure academic achievement and if there were any issues, there is always someone there to discuss them and figure out a solution. I learned quickly I was not just a number and the instructors treated my education as if it were theirs. They want to see me go somewhere in life. For a long time in my life, I felt school was all I had so for the instructors and my advisor to be there for me like they were and continue to be, truly kept me hanging on.
As a sophomore in Correctional Criminal Justice, I have only came out of pocket one time for college and it was all my fault. The rest of my finances have been taken care of through financial aide/grant money. However, the options are endless for financial help at my college which is one of many reasons when it came to my senior year of high school and choosing a college I stayed home and stayed with my college. Plus, I would have some very upset instructors if I were to ever up and leave. When I moved to Texas right in the middle of the semester I had a lot of concerns and e-mails from my instructors and advisors. After 3 months, I came back because I missed everyone and my education. I dug and clawed my way back into college all for no reason because they were so willing to help me as much as possible. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to get back in. With the encouragement of two instructors specifically, one of them being my advisor now, and about two hundred and thirty dollars, I did it. I really did it and I had the biggest smile on face when I got my schedule. Honestly, being a young mother with her own apartment, and other financial expenses, I could not afford college although I always tell myself no matter what the cost I will get my education.
I would not take back any obstacle, difficult or not, even if I had to because it is all worth it. I still wake up thankful for the powerful team I have on my side and know that they will always be there to help me no matter what. Sure, I struggle financially like everyone else but I have amazing help. Nothing feels better than knowing that at the end of this journey I will have a great education and it did not cost me that much. I plan on going back to major in Journalism after receiving my degree in Correctional Criminal Justice because my college is just that great!