Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Imagine traveling almost five hours away for school for four years straight and missing out on life back home. Now, imagine those last four years being the best four years of your life. You grew, you learned, you loved, and you lost. But, you did what you came to do, graduate. This story you’re imagining is me. I went through so much hurt in college that no one ever knew. From losing family members and friends to anxiety attacks, depression, facing a charge, being scammed, and financial aid issues, I overcame every obstacle in my way and succeeded. I received more accolades than many and made my HBCU experience one for the books. Sadly this experience was cut short as COVID- 19 took over the country and sent many college students, home mid-spring semester. Like many others, due to this pandemic, I was robbed from the best day of my life, graduation.
While I wasn’t able to walk the stage with my peers, I still had the best day ever with quarantine graduation from home. I’d been saying for weeks how depressing it is to hear the word “graduation.” I knew May 16th would be another day at home, and I would receive a few congratulations - that’s it. I planned a day for myself where I went to get my makeup done, get dolled up, and take a few pictures in Loose Park. When I came home from an already paid for makeup appointment to a yard full of balloons and posters, I didn’t know how to feel. I was overwhelmed with joy and a feeling of accomplishment. After coming home, my mother rushed me to get dressed, saying, “we have something to do and somewhere to be.” I began receiving clues that led me to one big surprise, a graduation party with all my family and friends. That day let me know how important family is. I went from thinking graduation day would be terrible to smiling nonstop, saying how unbelievable it was for me to be here and be a college graduate.
There were nights I would call my mom crying about how stressful it is working and going to school while trying to remain active on campus. There were jobs I quit because I missed the HBCU experience. There were days I questioned how bad I wanted each position I held. I didn’t want to be queen, editor, and Vice President every day, but once you sign up for a role, you must uphold it. There were days I took off from classes and activities as I needed a “self-care day.” I even created a rule for myself; on Fridays, I enjoy my day; no stress from homework, organizations, or teachers. Fridays were my carefree day, as I had finally made it to the end of the week.
Langston taught me responsibility and accountability. College isn’t hard, but it is what you make it. It’s all about perseverance, determination, and time management. From graduating Raytown South High School with a 2.7 GPA and a 19 on my ACT to graduating Cum Laude as the top of my department, Langston University took me in and gave me another chance at life. Even though I didn’t formally walk the stage on May 16th, 2020, I still graduated and received my flowers from those who matter most.