The transition from high school to college can be rough.  Once you step foot on a Higher Ed institution, there are new expectations, standards, and goals you must reach. For many people, this can be overwhelming. You enter into a new environment similar to when you started Pre – K. This time, however, you don’t have your parents holding your hand. Nor do you have a teacher consoling you with candy and warm hugs. Everyone expects you to stand up, with your shoulder back, smile, and start being an “adult.” But the problem is: You do not have any experience being an adult! You are expected to walk confidently in a foreign land with no clear guidance on where to go, who to speak with, and how to succeed.

After I graduated high school, I was in that same predicament. Two weeks after walking across the high school stage, I was sitting in a college classroom. New teachers, different students, a higher level of intensity, and very few help. The worst part was, I am a first generation student who didn’t understand the nuances of college life. After a year, I dropped out of college. I repeat. I dropped out! I did not think college was for me. I grew a distaste for higher education. I didn’t think it was necessary for success. Unbeknownst to me, I was now heading down the wrong lane.

While out of school, I attempted to live the life that I felt was best for me. But every turn I took, it led to a dead end. My hopes were rotting and I was running out of gas. I had a decision to make. Was I going to remain stubborn or get in the lane to head towards future success? Thankfully, I chose the better option. I re-enrolled in school, sought out mentors, and began seeking advice from my older siblings who were much farther in the race I decided to join. Two years later, I got my Associates degrees from Valencia College. A year after that, I earned my Bachelors degree from Florida International University. Now, I am a graduate student on track to obtain my Master’s in Spring of 2019.

I’ve had a difficult journey getting to where I am today. But it did not have to be as strenuous as it was. If only had I had leaders who looked, spoke and had similar experiences as myself, my journey to the finish line would have been shorter. I now understand the importance of mentorship, seeking advice, connecting with student leaders, befriending administrators, and being intentional. Although I cannot promise that you will absolutely be successful when you cross the stage. I can confidently assure you that education breeds opportunity. Once you have knowledge paired with a desire for success, surely you will be in the right lane.