Second chances, change, achievements and opportunity are the qualities that have made my first year of college, here at Shaw University significant. Why? You may ask, because Shaw has provided all of these things for me. It gave me the second chance to correct the mistakes I made in high school. The achievement of making the best grades that I have made in my 12 years of schooling in my first semester of college. The change in myself personally, and as a student that now understands the importance of education and the opportunity to be the perfect student athlete.
From the time I was at Carnage Middle School, I knew I wanted to go to college because I had a desire to play softball. Softball was the number one thing that kept me focused as a student as well as a normal teenager. Playing for three teams year round did not leave time for typical teenage activities, like going out every weekend. My weekends were spent out of town at tournaments or practice, where I loved to be on the field. In high school, softball kept me passing my classes. Student Athletes were expected to have an average GPA of 1.5 to play a sport. If it was not for me playing softball in high school, I would not have achieved that because I just did not care about school. I have made many changes in less than a year to better myself and be the successful women I have secretly always wanted to be. Shaw University is giving me that chance.
I was talking with a friend one day when he said “If you go to Shaw it is because you messed up somewhere in your life and this is your second chance”. That’s when I realized that this was my second chance. Growing up here in Raleigh, North Carolina; where Shaw is, I always knew I wanted to go to college just never Shaw. My mother working at Shaw when I was growing up, I was on Shaw’s campus a lot so I never thought I would end up actually attending this school. High school was not a very positive thing for me; I did not take it as serious as I should have. I now understand why high school was so important. It sets the foundation for what your adult life will be. Mid semester grades in my freshman year of college I earned all A’s and B’s, best grades I have received in my entire life, my second chance. Although Shaw University was never on my list of schools, I never wanted to step foot in this school but everything happens for a reason.
The Willie E. Gary student center, after it was torn up by the tornado in 2011 a lot of people including myself thought that Shaw wouldn’t bounce back from this tragic tornado. Students always complain about what we do not have here at Shaw but Shaw always finds a way. We may not have a lot of money like other Universities but we make it work, mostly by working together as one. Unlike other schools here at Shaw we do not have a track, softball field or a football field, the Spalding gym is all we have. But of course we make it work with what we have; we use other facilities to have our games and practices.
I feel that the lack of things that Shaw has is what makes our students better than any other universities. We have to face obstacles and struggles to get our education. Resources are not always available to us. We do not have a twenty-four hour library or complimentary gym to go to when we please. We stay in our dorms into hours of the morning with weak wifi connection, completing assignments by ourselves. If we want to be the best athlete we can not just walk to the gym with heated pools and treadmills, we work out on our own in our dorms. What we do not have make us who we are.
My second chance to be the student athlete I always knew I could be. With dedication, hard work, long hours of practice and studying I will be the student athlete I have dreamt of being. The change that I have made from high school to now is tremendous. Joining the military and completing my first semester of college have taught me a lot of things about myself. Mainly that I am stronger than what I think I am mentally and physically. I have also matured tremendously; my understanding of the wider world has deepened. Most importantly I now understand why education is so important in today’s society and how not easy being an adult actually is.
In conclusion Shaw University has provided me with a second chance at life itself. There are many things that I can come up with to label Shaw University as an inadequate school but I can also tell you of the positive things we have at Shaw: smaller class room sizes, teachers who actually know who you are, one on one help, students who actually have to work hard to achieve something because all of their resources aren’t handed to them on a silver platter they have to face adversity to achieve something that would be so simple to a Duke or UNC student, support systems from friends and family that use to attend Shaw university. Shaw has its legacy that will never die, as said before I never wanted to attend Shaw but I hope that I will also be a part of that legacy by graduating from Shaw University. To make Shaw a better school you have to start with us the students. If we only look at the bad in our school so will everyone else. Shaw University is the school of second chances and for this I appreciate my HBCU.