My defining life moment thus far would have to be the month before I graduated from college. Picture it, Nashville, Tennessee, July 2011. I had my moments where I just sat and reflected over my life and cried tears of joy. I felt happy, triumphant and blessed. Not everyone finishes what they started and believe me I had my trials and tribulations from start to finish, but I made it. I set out to do something and I did it.
It was a long, hard road and I couldn't believe that it was finally over. All the stress, late nights, early mornings and tears were all worth it. As exciting as it was, it was also a little scary. College had been my safety net for four and a half years, especially the last two and half years at my alma mater. I was engulfed in being a full-time student and active in extracurricular activities. Leaving home and meeting people from different walks of life really did open my eyes and helped me understand people better. I learned that you have to fight for what you want and I met lifelong friends from all walks of life in the process.
We created memories that I'll always hold close to my heart. It was a major moment for me because I'm my parents' first born and I was one of the first to graduate in my family. Not a lot of people in my family are college educated, but my sister and I vowed to break that cycle and start new traditions within our family in hopes of setting an example for our baby brother. It was a trying time, and it was scary once I realized that I had to figure out what I was going to do next, but that's all a part of growing up.
It's normal to be scared and nervous, but you get through it. It's almost been three years since I crossed that stage and I'm still trying to figure things out, but I can honestly say I'm better off than I was six years ago before I left home to complete my education. My alma mater gave me so much more than an education and for that, I'm forever grateful. Deciding to attend an HBCU was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I'm proud to be a part of that legacy.
Graduating from TSU taught me that you can't expect to have anything handed to you. You have to fight for what you want and create your own opportunities. That's one lesson that will stay with me forever.