What I found out was what ultimately allowed me to change my own historical narrative of being trapped by my own fears… If I hadn’t attended that very first English 101 course taught by Ms. Richards, I would have never discovered what had kept me out of a college classroom for decades.
The greatest challenge I overcame as a student was being efficient with time. You’d think in prison there would be less distractions endeavoring towards a degree and you’d be mistaken. I learned that I can persevere and receive help as I achieve a goal.
For someone who gave up on school at around age 12, and almost never did any homework to do all these assignments, to turn in all this work on time-mostly, is so fundamentally huge for me. I was almost functionally illiterate, from a lack of applying myself, but I learned to actually put together a college level paper that got a passing grade. WOW.
My college education has opened my eyes to how the world works. I had blamed racism for the most of the causative factors that created slums, and pits poor people against each other. However, through studying history, I learned that money is the motivating factor. I also learned how our government works and how to change laws. In sum, my education has made me a citizen.
Education proved to me that the challenges I have faced in my life are not mine alone due to the structure of my personal life experiences. Where I was embarrassed to share the challenges of a dysfunctional childhood home and felt like I was outside the mainstream of society, the college experience showed me that my experiences are shared by most everyone. Education impacted my view of the world and my place within it by showing me that I am an integral member of the community and have an effect on the community whether I like it or not.