College was never a
guaranteed destination when I was growing up. Living in Detroit when I was
younger, there were some days I felt that my safety wasn’t even guaranteed.
There were days when I’d hear
gunshots from outside of my elementary classroom. We walked past a wall on
campus where they found bullets lodged in the side of the school. It wasn’t an
environment for learning, and my grades suffered.
In a city that has the
distinction of being one of the most dangerous in the nation, my school days
were filled with strife, stress and anxiety and didn’t allow me the ability to
focus on my schoolwork. I fell behind to the point that some of my teachers thought
I might have a learning disorder. As I grew older and made my way through
school, teachers told me I lacked the ability to do the work and that I was not
college material. All the while, I knew I was destined for something more.
When I was 18, I moved with
my family to Northeast Florida, jumpstarting my dream to attend the University
of North Florida. I had worked hard and prayed for the past few years that I
could improve my grades throughout high school and graduate with the
credentials to enter college immediately. My focus ultimately paid off with a
3.33 GPA, but my SAT scores just weren’t there. I spent a few semesters at
Florida State College at Jacksonville before transferring to UNF, accomplishing
the goal I had set for myself.
At UNF, I feel like I have
people in my corner, rooting for my success and helping me along the path to
fulfilling my dreams. At other larger schools, I might only be able to interact
with a professor through a teaching assistant. At UNF, I’ve benefited from a
tremendous amount of individualized attention between my instructors and
myself. This support has helped me get a clear picture about the opportunities
that lie ahead for me.
When I graduate and start
working in the communication field, I want to establish a career for myself in
sports journalism. While the field of communication is going through a period
of evolution, the skills I’ve learned from my UNF professors in the classroom
and the hands-on learning experiences I’ve had outside the classroom have
prepared me for the different challenges presented by a changing industry. Additionally,
I’ll be working on an internship with the University’s Marketing and
Publications team in the spring, which will undoubtedly boost my professional
experience and give me a better insight into the communication field.
My direction in life seems so
much clearer ever since I stepped foot on the UNF campus. Now, when I arrive on
campus each day, I am reminded how far prayer and dedication can take you. I’m
proud to say that I’ve accomplished the goal that set for myself when I moved
to Northeast Florida. I’m a UNF student, and I can’t wait to be able to say I’m
a UNF alumni.