Picture this, by my senior year of high school I received acceptance letters to: Wright State University (Ohio), Tri-C (Ohio), Cleveland State University (Ohio) Mountain State University (WVa) and Bethune Cookman (FL). After looking at the tuition cost and the grants received, I truly felt Bethune Cookman was the school for ME!! However, my mother was not in favor. Of course, she knew it would have been a great choice. Yet, her concern was her babygirl being so far away. At the time, I could not understand why she would allow me to apply if she had concern. In my day, you don't ask questions on your parents decision(s)… you adjust. That said, Mountain State University became my home Fall 1999.
Going away to college was so much more than JUST attending college. It was a life experience. It taught me how to balance my educational and social desires. My classes, for the most part were Monday through Thursday and done by 2:15 pm at the latest. While in college, I made the Dean's List 3 times. I failed (and had to repeat) 1 course. My least favorite courses were Public Speaking and Math. The matters on public speaking, not because I did not like the course... I was afraid to speak infront of the class. I will never forget, I did a presentation on my 1st love. Throughout the presentation, I had tears running down my eyes. Not because our relationship ended just months before college started. But because I was so darn nervous. LOL, I laugh at this now but it's still a battle that I am trying to overcome. Then there was Math.... YIKES. Luckily, I did not fail. I requested "one on one" help from the professor to gain a better understanding. Strange enough, it was a Torts class (if I recall correctly) that I failed. Attended daily. However, the professor graded based on the mid-term and final exam grade. Yours Truly had test anxiety so... yeah.
My first two years, I interned in the student admissions office. YES, I knew when the refund checks were ready before the student body... lol. Also, held a catering position during special events on campus. Later, I had a few odd n' in jobs off campus: at the mall, fast food restaurants and a known clothing store. It's funny, the joys of share riding TODAY. While I was in college, we had no one's Lyft, Uber or the like. NO city bus... barely had a taxi service. Yet, I made it through.
Fortunately, by my second year of college I had my own car. A forest green Neon with the personalized tag: WANT LOTZ or was it WANTZ LOTS... corny. Yet it was all mine. At this point, I was living in an apartment, off college campus but not too far. Still maintaining my studies, a social life, now a "sorority girl", attending church and traveling. Boy, those were the days!
Fast forward to my senior year, I opt'd to transfer all my studies online and relocate to the city I was raise, Cleveland, Ohio to serve as an intern at a law office which housed 7 attorney's. After completion of my intern, final paper and final exam I returned to Mountain State University to walk with my graduating class, earning my Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies and Bachelor of Science Degree in Legal Studies.
Did I face adversities? YES! A couple shared above. Then there's...
Financial: Early on... between the meal plan that was REQUIRED if you stayed on campus and the tuition, my mother was strapped.
Attending a Private School: When I became interested in becoming an Alpha Kappa Alpha Woman like my mom... there were no (fraternities or) sororities on the yard. Let's just say, West Virginia State saw a lot of me.
Car Accident: Yep, I traveled a lot as a young adult via train, bus, plane and/or road trips. One time, I was traveling back to school from a visit home and fell asleep on I-77. I give it ALL to God that I walked away with only a aching body and broke glasses. The car on the other hand, DONE. The contents inside the car... finished. Till this day, I refuse to start a distant travel late in the day or without the proper amount of rest. Even still, I can't pass Parkersburg without reliving the moment in my mind.
Debt: After totaling my car, my credit went downhill because of all the charge cards that I PRAY you say no to... I had. I did not have reliable transportation to work, due to the reasons shared. And, vehicle totaled and all.. I was still expected to make the payments. You're smart, you know how that ended.
I'm sharing this "college bound" piece to perhaps save someone from self-doubt of any sort. Trust, you will face some hard times. But give it your best, ask for help when needed. Seek space when and if a situation becomes toxic. And those who know me personally will tell you, I will be quick to say college is not for everyone and that's okay. Be okay with your decision, after you have given all you've got... GIVE MORE!! Don't just give up!
Anywho, years later... I obtained my Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration. Am I done with college, can't say for sure. Yet, I can say w/out a doubt.. I am not done learning.
I hope this piece gets your through your first semester and on to the next. You got this, I am rooting for you.
Ha, by the way... I did make it to Bethune Cookman's campus one year during Spring Break. My friends and I went to Daytona Beach. And then came trips to New Jersey, Philly, Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, local get-aways… yeah, I enjoyed my college years. And not to mention, friends for a lifetime!