At the age of 12 I had my entire life planned out. I was going to graduate high school at 18, attend college to become an Anesthesiologist, and be married by 30 with two kids. In 2007, I did graduate from Frederick Douglass High School with honors. I then went off to Stillman College where I partied my entire first semester and then I dropped out and moved back to Atlanta, Georgia. A few months later I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School. I dropped out 4 months before my program ended because my step father passed away and we could no longer afford my tuition. My plan was to work a year, save money, and then go back to school but life had other plans.......
I had spent five of those seven years in a not so good relationship. During those years I repeatedly made it known to him that I wanted to go back to school so that I could get further in life. His response, “you don’t need to go to school, just focus on getting money.” Being young, insecure, and what I thought was in love, I listened to him. That was the last time I ever mentioned going back to school to him. As each year went by the thought of returning to school was further and further in the back of my mind, which I later regret.
I was 24, recently single, living back at home with my mom, working a job I absolutely hated, and had no education I knew it was time for a change. For so long I was dependent on a man to tell me what to do and not do that I couldn’t think for myself. A year after his death I started to have life changing thoughts. For six months I talked about going back to school and my mom, sister, and best friends all told me to go for it. I hadn’t been in school for so long I didn’t even know where to begin and I definitely didn’t know how I would pay for it. My friend helped me fill out my financial aid papers and another friend helped me find a school. She even made the trip to visit the campus with me.
My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. She always wanted me to go the school route, I just never listened. I wanted to do my own thing. When it came down to those final days leading up to the start of the semester I remember it like it was yesterday, she got my lap fixed and programmed with all the necessities I would need for school, she got me a new book bag, and she even bought school supplies. She was truly more excited than me. I remember asking her, “what am I doing? Why am I doing this? I’m too old to go back to school now.” Her response, “you’re 26, you’re still young and I know you can do this”, and I did.
January 2015, I began classes at Georgia State Perimeter College. I was already discouraged upon starting because I had to take two remedial courses. That first semester was the hardest because I was still trying to get adjusted to the college life and still work my full-time job. I didn’t know how to handle both. Some days I found myself calling off work because of school and some days I didn’t go to class because of work. Needless to say, I failed one of the remedial classes and that really put a damper on my spirit, but dropping out wasn’t an option this time. I met a friend and they said these words to me, “You need to get your shit together. Always put school first.” Those simple words help me get through. Two years flew by and I got my associates degree in Early Childhood Education. At the graduation I remember feeling like I could do anything at that point. To see that smile on my family and friends faces, they were so proud, I was proud.
August 2017, I was accepted into Clayton State University to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Services.
Entering in this program I really began to think about what I truly wanted out of life and what I wanted to do. I set goals for myself that I knew I was going to fulfill. I wanted to finished school a year early. My anticipated graduation date was May 2020, I finished July 2019. My life goal is to be an advisor and crisis intervention counselor, so I started my job search to get me there. I was offered an Administrative Coordinator position for Trio Student Support Service; a retention program designed for disadvantaged college students. I started catering a few years ago so I set a goal to start a business. In February 2019 I branded Audore Eats Catering,. LLC. Fulfilling these goals, I’ve already started working towards my 2020 goals.
On this journey my circle has gotten smaller, but my faith has gotten stronger. I had to learn the places that God was taking me not everyone in my life could go with me. My biggest fear was what if I failed? The first two times attempting school was by force, this last time was by my choice. I had already made up in my mind that this was it for me, my third time had to be the charm and if I didn’t make it this time it wasn’t going to happen. I have an amazing support system behind me who has motivated me every step of the way and encouraged me to keep going and stay focused. They’ve never given up on me, mainly because I’ve never given up on myself and I love them dearly for that. This journey has bought A LOT of tears and on July 22, 2019 I cried my last set of tears of joy. As I look back over the last four years it was all worth it. I really did put school first, the lack of going out, loss of friendships, lack of sleep, last minute papers, cramming for exams, late nights, and early mornings; I’m grateful for it all. I’m happy the way things happened the way they did and I’m so glad somethings did not work out the way I wanted them too. My biggest life lessons, it was NEVER my plan, but it was ALWAYS God’s plans. Everything that has happened up to this day was because of him and his timing. My advice for anyone looking to go back to school, DO IT! You can do whatever you set your mind to do, and don’t let anyone especially a man tell you that you can’t do, shouldn’t do, or that you don’t need to get an education. Having an education is the most priceless thing you can have. Besides you never know who you may inspire to educated themselves. So, here I am 30 not married, single, with no kids, but I’m educated. I’m just getting started…... but I can’t wait to see the blessings that God has in store for me. Your faith has to be stronger than your fears!
Sequaya L. Sims