Bladensburg High Graduation 2008
On May 28,2008, I graduated from Bladensburg High School in Prince George's County with a 3.1 GPA. On May 20, 2017, I'll finally graduate from Morgan State University with my Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. It's been a long, winding road to get here, but I've finally done it.
Me and my brother Jermaine at our graduation.
Leaving high school, I was intelligent enough to make the next step to higher education. But I was far too immature in hindsight, more focused on partying and girls than I was learning. I had never pushed myself in school. I did just enough to get by, enough to get honor roll and make my parents proud.
My freshman year of college was a blur, partying, drinking, smoking, sex and video games. Despite being a full-time student, I can't remember anything that sticks out education-wise. I was just going through the motions, and it came back to haunt me at grade time.
Academic Probation. That's the letter I received in the mail to kick the summer of sophomore year. I had jived my way below the 2.0 GPA requirement one too many times. If I stayed, I could only take 6 credits per semester for a year - out of pocket. I decided to return home, enrolling into Prince George's Community College. I had convinced myself, and my mother, that I was rededicated. That I was ready to buckle down and get the grades necessary to go back to Morgan. FAIL.
Prince Georges Community College 2010.
To my dismay, the same distractions that I initially escaped going to Morgan where waiting for me at PGCC. All of my friends that didn't go off to school where there. As well as the new friends I would make that I allowed to distract me. I coasted through two semester at PGCC, cumulating a 2.2 GPA. The classes that I took were mostly to make up for the ones I failed at Morgan. I did enough to get reinstated to Morgan, but my time was mostly spent doing things I could've done without paying for school.
In the Fall of 2011, I re-enrolled at Morgan, moving in with the three most responsible friends I had. Over the course of the year before their graduation, I flourished. I was making progress in catching up on missed time, and getting closer to graduation. Or so I thought.
My mother and I at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
Nearing the end of the Fall 2012 semester, my mother informed me that she had Stage 1 Breast Cancer. She had been keeping the diagnosis secret from me, hoping not to distract me from school. But not only did she get sick, but she lost her job. I immediately felt obligated to drop out and get a job at home. Despite her pleads not to, I did it anyway, out of fear and a sense of obligation. For two years, I worked several jobs to help out and help myself. The period was very tough on me, mentally and emotionally. I was severely depressed, and pessimistic about my future.
Coaching at Roosevelt Senior High School 2014
The first thing that happened to me that changed my life was a coaching opportunity. A friend of mine asked me to join his coaching staff at Roosevelt High in Washington D.C. The players were talented, but struggling dealing with inadequate education and bad home situations. The opportunity was a wake-up call for me, to help change others lives as well as my own.
The second blessing was running into an old friend from Morgan while on lunch break at work. We exchanged numbers as friends and ended up falling in love. As I watched her earn her Bachelor's in Business Administration at Morgan's 2014 graduation, I was inspired. She motivated me, as I saved money to return to Morgan and matured as a man. By the time she began to pursue her Master's I had re-enrolled at Morgan. I promised her and my mother that I would get the job done.This time, for the last time.
Before dropping out for the second time, I had decided to major in Journalism. It was a dream of my mother's before she had me, and I had a natural writing skills. I fully immersed myself in the Morgan experience, joining organizations like The Msu Spokesman, our school's online newspaper.
I gained interests in things I'd never imagined, like photography. What started as shooting my classmates, turned into lucrative opportunities. Like taking pictures at the Washington Wizards home games this Fall.
Earlier this semester, doctor's found no traces of cancer in my mother's body. My girlfriend and soon-to-be-wife has just started a hair business, her life dream. On May 20, I will graduate from Morgan State. It may have took me longer, but the journey taught me plenty.