I feel like I've shared bits and pieces of my story in one way or another, so it's only right to share the entire thing. It's gonna be a long one so get comfortable. Lol
I started my college career at CalU of PA in Fall 2010, immediately after high school as an early education major on an athletic scholarship for track. That was my first time being that far away from home and having to be in a place where I didn't know a single soul. My only reason for going was because of the scholarship and the coaching staff at Cal was said to be really good. That was major considering track and field means a lot to me. So I spent three years there and ended up meeting my now husband and some of my most genuine friends. Despite that, I was going through a really rough patch in my life simply because I was still figuring myself out. I learned so much about myself during my time spent at Cal, from how to deal with my natural hair and awkward personality to my interests outside of track and field. After about a year and half on the track team as a jumper (triple/long jump) the jumps coach took another position as a head coach at a different school. This hit me HARD because he meant a lot to me and made a big difference during my experience at Cal.
The jump squad spent a small amount of time with no coach which also blew me but I still managed to become a conference qualifier and finalist every year that I was at Cal and ended up breaking the triple jump school record. So I was on an up for a while! Shortly after that, there was news that the university president had been taking funds from the athletic program and those on scholarship, on select teams, the track team being one of them, would no longer be able to receive aid. Being that out of state tuition is ridiculous, I decided to transfer. Even though later on I found out that in one way or another, people were able keep their scholarships. I was still firm in my decision to transfer because I felt that God was giving me a sign to take on new beginnings.
I applied to UMBC, which is an honors university, so I felt like it was a stretch to apply but I did anyway and got accepted!! So I started at UMBC in 2013 but switched my major to psych with a concentration in child and developmental studies. Changing my major, coming from a smaller school and having a few untransferable classes caused me to backtrack and pretty much start over as a sophomore when I would have been a senior had I stayed at Cal. Also because I transferred in, I had to establish a year of residency before competing under UMBC's track team. However I was still able to practice with the team and compete unattached, so that's what I did. After about a year, I started to really lose my motivation in my classes and my grades were a joke. My grades honestly were a joke during a good amount of my college career causing me to have to repeat 3 classes but after my second semester at UMBC, they were the absolute worst - so bad that the school placed me on academic probation. There really was no solid reason for that outside of the fact that I just was tired of being in school at that point. Right after that semester, around winter break - February 2015, I found out I was pregnant and my boyfriend proposed to me at his senior night basketball game in front of the whole school during his "recognition" speech! The guy over the monitor said "Now Josh Johnson has something to say to his favorite teammate" Talk about STUCK! Lol. I was literally speechless. We ended up making his school's athletic homepage. Lol.
Of course I said yes because we already knew we were getting married. So we didn't take long to officially tie the knot because we wanted everything to be perfect and in order once our baby made his grand entrance. We got married in June 2015.
I still went back to school after getting married and during my first trimester, which surprisingly ended up being my strongest semester academically. I was due to have my son early Fall so I ended up taking off the entire Fall 2015 semester. This was bittersweet bc I had my baby boy that I always wanted, my college sweetheart as my husband BUT in the back of my mind I knew how close I was to graduating and though I worked out during my entire pregnancy, I hated not being able to be on the track team. When I had my son I ended up having an emergency C section and the doctors told me it would take months for me to get back to my regular health and regular life because of the surgery. But me being me, I started walking (baby steps) a few hours after the surgery because I determined to be the best mom I could be to my baby and finish my degree.
I ended up going back to school in Spring 2016 and had to take a Summer class to ensure graduating Fall 2016. Now here I am, a Fall 2016 graduate AND training for triple jump with Tiombe Hurd - whom has the American world record in the Triple Jump. GOD is the only reason I am here today. Of all of the things I've been through and experienced, my collegiate journey has been the MOST trying. But giving up was never an option. College was something I felt like I needed to do because it was instilled in me to get a college education but I have never enjoyed school, ever. Lol. However completing something that I start and putting myself in the best possible position to be successful is something that I will always yearn to do. If it weren't for college I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting my husband at the tender age of 17 and in turn would not have had my SONshine. God works in mysterious ways and I know that completing my undergrad career has been the ultimate test of faith for me - I'm so very proud that I have passed.
I hope that this story inspires someone to finish anything that they feel is too late to complete or get back to and helps people to understand that there is no "set" way of life. Live your life the best way you can, stay focused on your goals and I promise you will recieve the benefits.