Part 1

Growing up, I've always looked to my father as a mentor and strong role model. He rarely showed his feelings or sad emotions, no matter the situation or condition. As the challenge to create and join study groups during my sophomore year at Clemson grew, I found myself more and more trying to ignore or suppress my growing discontent with the cultural and environment.

Last week I made the decision to call my big sister for some wise advice, counsel and venting. I shared with her how I was feeling isolated and alone. I shared with her how this feeling was compounded last week due to my failing my first ever class, and the lack of social outlets for Blacks on campus. This was first time in my life and as an African American I began to question my intellectual abilities and whether the culture and environment at Clemson University was right for me and conducive to my academic excellence as student.

Part 2

In my life, no matter the challenge, threat or opportunity my default setting has always been to remind myself life is what you make it and you’ll get out what you to put in. My inner guide comes from and in many ways a reflection of the principles of manhood taught to me by my father. Principles I am most proud to have been taught and learned.

In my eyes, my father is a Alpha Man in more way than one. He is the strength and heartbeat for our family, he is a motivator and inspiration for many for having broken so many barriers and glass ceilings for others to pass through, and he is my inner critic to always strive for excellence, not perfection as he would say, but excellence because it is positive and inviting. He is also my guide and defender for what is right and fair in life.

Just like any hot press for your clothes...my father gives me strength and keeps me strong and straight, when needed most. On the other hand, it is my mother who reminds me to keep faith and gives courage in the face of adversity to carry on despite any obstacles faced. My family is my motivation to succeed and reminder that success is but around the corner. All I need do is to continue and follow my dream. To rest if I must, but to never give up or give in until my good becomes better and my better becomes my absolute best.

I will keep a positive mindset, no matter the culture or environment I must live, work or educate. I will remind myself that no matter the challenge or obstacle--it too shall pass! I shall keep faith, continue to believe in myself and he who is greater than I and you for better days are coming and ahead for someone like me. The future will reflect positively me as long as I continue to strive towards my goals and put forth a undeniable body of work which speaks for itself.

While change comes and goes, and my default inner voice and strength is forever!

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