What challenges did you face trying to get to college?
The challenges I faced trying to get to college, well where can I began. Throughout my childhood, I‘ve had an uninvolved parent. My mother didn’t care if I went to school, gotten good grades or whether or not I was respecting my teachers. In my mind I knew I didn’t want to be my mom, nor my dad, so at the age of 14 I decided to get a job. The job was basically a scapegoat to get out of the house but also to buy my mother’s love. I spent years pleasing my mother until I was forced to enter the real world. Being homeless for a year became very stressful but school was all I had, so I kept pushing myself. After a year, I found a job. I volunteered first, I gave it my all and then was hired permanently after a month. That job, led me to two other jobs. Up until about two years ago, I worked three jobs, and Iwas a part-time student. I had to survive.
Why did you choose Johnson C. Smith University?
Johnson C. Smith University wasn’t a school I thought about at all. I didn’t even think about leaving home until the principal at the elementary school I worked for, approached me and stated “Ms. Harris, you should get out of California, you will have better opportunities”. I looked at him and laugh. I told him there is no way I can leave California. California is my home, I have established so much. That same night I kept thinking what would I do? How will I survive? I have to start from nothing, and I did’t think I could handle that again but then I told myself it wouldn’t hurt if I just apply. I cried every night until I left, I talked to the principals niece for a month, to make sure I wasn’t making a bad choice. All in all I came to JCSU blind, and at the end of the day it was better for me. Yes I have gotten a lot of opportunities and it has given me the opportunity to focus more on school.
What challenges have you have faced since being here, other than financial aid?
Since being at Johnson C. Smith, I have racked up more loans then I ever have in my life. I never thought going to an out-of-state school, especially a private one, was so expensive. When I began JCSU, I didn’t know anyone or anything. I don’t have any family here so I felt really lost. Even though I’ve been an independent student since I started college, its nothing like being familiar to your surroundings. I also had to deal with set backs when I was accepted to JCSU. I entered as a freshmen despite being in school for a couple years in California, delaying graduation.