“Believe in yourself even if no one
else does” is the motto by which I live. Growing up on the northside of Jacksonville in a single-parent household
was challenging. In my early years, I was constantly kicked out of class and
skipped school. I was always in trouble and was every teacher’s nightmare. I
was suspended more times than I can count.
It wasn’t until I heard about the
possibility of receiving a full scholarship to UNF that I changed my ways — I
began to see UNF as my escape. It gave me hope. It was my road to a better
life, a life my family and I could only imagine. Knowing I could earn a full
scholarship gave me the motivation to change my life and take charge of my
future. I graduated in the top 20 percent of my high school class and was
accepted to UNF.
Since I’ve been at UNF, my life has
changed drastically. In 2009, I participated in a Transformational Learning
Opportunity (TLO) in an African American history class called The New South. For
nine days, we traveled to four states and explored history. In Memphis, Tenn.,
we visited both the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was
assassinated and the Rock and Roll Soul Museum. We also toured the Birmingham
Civil Rights Institute and several slave shacks along the way.
On my TLO, I experienced many
firsts. I enjoyed my first four-course meal, my first plane trip and the first
time I bonded with people of different ethnic backgrounds. I appreciated this
opportunity and formed lifelong friendships. It was an awesome experience.
I know all this has been possible
because of the scholarship assistance I’ve received. The Hicks Scholarship and
the Jacksonville Commitment Scholarship were true blessings. UNF has helped me
not only become a better person, but it also has helped me become a better
leader and role model while providing me with the tools I need to be successful
I’m pursuing a double major in sociology
and criminal justice. After I earn my bachelor’s, I want to pursue a master’s
and a doctorate in sociology so someday I can teach at the college level.
I also want to start my own
mentoring program, “Rare Girls of Excellence,” where I can help young girls
become successful women. No one in my immediate family has ever graduated from
college, so I want to be a role model not only for my family, but for my
community. UNF has afforded me the opportunity to make my dreams come true. I’m
so very appreciative of that help and this is why I am so eager to give back.