Over the last year and a half I have been pursuing the completion of my collegiate degree. Just know many celebrities had their big break well into their 30’s and even 40’s. You do not have to follow the standards that society may push about when you should do something. Just know it’s never too late if you really want it. Recently I had to write a college entrance essay for Belmont University and this is what I had to say:

If life is rooted in how we classify who we are or even by statistical findings we would live in a world where our choices could be predicted and automated. Despite knowing statistics and classifications hold value, I respectfully disagree that they define the course of my life or who I am. Statistically, the course of my life would look very different, I would have chosen a different college when graduating high school, I would have graduated from college or possibly be living in a different city. Yet, in the face of yielding to who I am supposed to be, I learned who I am.

I recently read a book, The Alchemist, where the protagonist, a shepherd boy named Santiago, had a prophetic dream which lead him on an arduous journey to find a great treasure. While reading this book, I saw so much of myself in him and found comfort in my own journey as I read about his. In my journey, I was insecure about not finishing college as I am the daughter of an educator who has a Juris Doctorate. I believed I was supposed to be an elite student and meet the standards of my family and fit the standards of my social class. Being raised in an upper middle class family, it is expected that I would finish college to become a doctor, lawyer or have some other illustrious career, instead I chose to experience life. In the beginning of The Alchemist, Santiago wishes to return to a girl he met who was impressed by him being a shepherd who could read. At this point we learn Santiago was in Seminary studying to be a Priest but he had a desire to see the world. Of the many things his father expressed to him, the one that resonated most was the only people of their class that traveled were shepherds. Understanding that being a shepherd was his only way to travel, Santiago confidently became a shepherd with hopes of traveling. Although Santiago and I are one in the same, contrary to Santiago confidently making his choice, I lingered insecurely about mine.

As a shepherd, he embarked on this journey which proved that he was more than what his class allowed for him to be. What I learned from Santiago’s story was a perfect example of knowing that I am greater than what was expected for my life and my journey is continuing to happen in a way for me to learn everything I need to know to be prepared for my treasure. Every failure taught me how to improve and how to avoid repeating those mistakes. After my  parents withdrew financial support, I spent many years learning to fix my own problems, which led to me learning to prevent those problems, and now has positioned me to minimize those problems. Just like Santiago, I learned to trust myself and to make the best of every situation, especially when life is at its hardest.

My journey brought me to this place in my life and against all odds, I am financially stable enough to not have to choose between paying bills and going to class. Before truly deciding to focus on building career experience, I started working while in college and moved off campus early. Immaturely and ill prepared, I believed I could do both, which was an astounding failure that affected my grades. I felt ashamed and defeated. Much like Santiago, when he was robbed of everything he had at the beginning of his journey, I wanted to give up. Yet, every time he had an opportunity to give up something proved that he should not give up. Throughout Santiago’s story he was told, “…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” In hindsight, the universe has been conspiring to help me in my journey. So, the choice to start this amazing journey is happening exactly in the right way in spite of the hard lessons, the bad days, the poor choices and the failures.

When deciding I wanted to finish my degree, I was honest with myself by asking was I prepared to do this right and looking in the mirror, I told myself it was time. In this journey, I learned to be confident but humble, ambitious but honorable, honest with myself but not hard on myself, but most importantly I learned to sacrifice for what I wanted. I was prepared for this part of my journey and the universe was conspiring to help me every step of the way. During my first semester back in school at Nashville State Community College, I happened to park on the wrong side of the building one day and I saw a sign that was not on the door of the side I normally park on for an opportunity to have your associate’s degree paid in full. I was able to finish my associate’s degree without any financial burden. In the same way as Santiago, there were many opportunities which made it easy to give up but the universe conspired to ensure that neither Santiago nor I gave up.

When choosing a Bachelors program, I looked at various universities in the Middle Tennessee area, Belmont was my top choice followed by MTSU and TSU. Although Belmont was my preferred choice, it was moved down on my list as it is the most expensive considering I am paying for school without loans or financial assistance. As I was attempting to enroll into both TSU and MTSU, I faced some odd challenges because the universe was conspiring. Additionally, the universe conspired to ensure finances did not prevent me from applying and attending Belmont, as I received an offer for a position at a new company who also would partially pay for college. Although my treasure may be bigger than Belmont, the universe insists that attending Belmont is part of my journey. In my journey of who I am supposed to be, I have found who I am and I am heading to find my treasure. 

  

This essay was written to the tune of Kendrick Lamar “GOD.,” which is about reminding yourself that all your success and accomplishments are a product of God and not your own.


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