I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from Bowling Green State University in May of 2010. It was one of the best days of my life, but I didn’t start at BG, and it wasn’t a happy, smooth trip every day of the five years of my undergrad life.
I started off as a freshman at Oakland University in 2005. I had been accepted to Virginia State University (Historical Black College and University) but then admitted I didn’t want to go there. So my parents and I decided I would stay in state at OU for my freshman year and transfer out my sophomore year. It was downhill from there for my freshman year.
I became roommates with my then-favorite cousin, and from that point on I had to deal with her and her father (my uncle) lying and spreading rumors about me to the family. I was depressed from hating the environment I was in and having no escape. I had to deal with issues with financial aid, and, to top it all off, my dad started dating my favorite high school teacher’s daughter. She showed no interest in trying to get know me and my sister, and he started being less and less of a father. I cried every day almost for about a year, but somehow, by the grace of God, I remained in good academic standing.
The first semester of my sophomore year I went to Wayne Community College and, at this point, my sister and I were barely speaking to our father because things had become so much worse. My sister basically looked at me as her support. I outranked our parents in her life, and sometimes I felt like I had a child, on top of being a student. That semester, I did my best to get my grades up and made the dean’s list. Also that semester I met this guy named Q who would later end up taking me for a self-damaging ride. That next semester, I was able to transfer to BGSU and immediately fell in love with the campus and the other students. This was where I should have been from the beginning. I was so happy to have found a place I could call home.
Things still weren’t great between my dad, my sister and I, and while things started off well between me and Q, his true colors were starting to show. The funny thing about him was that he supported my education, but he didn’t want me to be that far from him and so his trust and insecurity issues – mixed with alcohol – started exploding all over me. When my dad abandoned me, I felt so insecure and hurt and so while I saw the flashing lights and warning signs telling me to leave Q, I couldn’t because I had become insecure.
We decided to call it quits the second semester of my junior year. A couple months later, I stupidly slept with him again and he did something to me that I could have had him arrested for as rape. After that, I hit rock bottom. Again, during this time I was in good academic standing doing way better than I had at Oakland with mainly B’s and a couple of A’s and C’s here and there. I realized my life was not my own, I was damaged and unhappy and I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was to become a journalist. It was then I made the decision to get help and put myself first in everything I did from that point on.
I started writing for BGSU’s university paper, The BG News, and was terrified that I wasn’t a good enough writer. My fear of failure is ridiculous and I cried the entire time I wrote my first article for them. It ended up on the front page the next day. From that point on, my writing started to improve and I did well in my classes, too. My second run of senior year is what proved the most difficult to me in those last six weeks. I cried more in those last six weeks than I did my freshman year. I was once again afraid of not being good enough to make it to the finish line. In the end I got a B out of the class I thought I was getting an F in, met all the requirements of my final internship that I thought I may bomb, and did a beautiful performance at my belly dance recital that I thought I’d have to miss out on. Me and my sister’s relationship with our father has gotten better and the turmoil is almost a thing of the past for us. I don’t regret any of what happened because the entire experience made me the woman I am today and has made me want to continue to grow until it seems I can’t grow any more.