I spent nearly an hour sitting in my truck
reminiscing on the past and contemplating the future the night
before I moved into my dormitory. I had so many questions. So many
doubts. I began to wonder if college is as difficult as advertised?
I questioned whether or not I’d be able to fit in? As these
worries increased, I began to ask myself more and more, “Am
I ready for this?”
Maybe I should have asked myself if I forgot
anything because my family and I spent the next day shopping at
Target buying the “little
things” that simply slipped my mind when I was packing. I
honestly believed that there wasn’t anything I forgot. I
suppose I wasn’t the only person who forgot anything, because
Target was ravaged. The store was full of college students who
were likely in the same position I was in. Amazing. Despite the
lack of products available in Target, we were able to pick up a
few non-perishable food items such as granola bars, popcorn and
pretzels. All of which have come in handy, by the way.
Once we were
done, my parents helped me carry the items we brought into my dorm
room. I walked with them back outside to see them
off, and after the hugs and goodbyes, they left me alone in an
entirely new environment, thus completing my transition from a
life of dependence to independence. As I headed to my dorm room,
I glared up at the San Jacinto Dormitory and the Darrell K Royal-Texas
Memorial Stadium towering over it from behind. There I was, a sheltered
African American male from the suburbs of San Antonio, Texas, beginning
a new life in the busy city of Austin, attending the largest and
most diverse university in the nation, The University of Texas
The next week and a half was full of uncertainty
and loneliness. I quickly found my position in college to be in
to my position in high school. I felt like I had some worth in
high school, whereas in college I began to feel as though I had
absolutely no worth at all. Writing and basketball sufficed as
activities to take my mind off my current state of mind, but their
effects were short-lived. Frustrated, I didn’t attend any
social gatherings occurring around campus, including the football
team’s resounding 66-7 victory over New Mexico State. I went
home that weekend, searching for something to return me to the
state of mind I had before I got here. Unfortunately, I didn’t
find what I was looking for.
The Turn Around
Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003, things
changed. A week or so in advance, I was informed about the Texas
Gospel Fellowship’s Annual
Church Tour. I immediately planned to go, but it wasn’t until
the morning of the tour that I actually had serious doubts about
going. I stayed up late the night before reading for Monday’s
Ecology, Evolution & Society course, so waking up Sunday morning
was a task. I fell asleep listening to Jesse Powell’s “JP” album
after 2 a.m., but not before setting my alarm clock for 8:30 a.m.
I don’t know how many times I slammed the snooze button the
next morning, but I eventually staggered to my feet and got ready
to go. I walked to Jester where everyone who planned to participate
in the tour was instructed to meet.
Once I reached Jester, the “turn
around” had begun.
The turn out was excellent. Seeing a crowd of my peers excited
about worshiping the Lord was encouraging. After waiting for nearly
15 minutes, the crowd was divided by the amount of cars available
to transport us to Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and soon after
that we were on our way. At the very moment we walked through the
doors of the church, I knew I was where I needed to be. Instantly,
my demeanor and my state of mind had been seemingly cleansed. My
worries were lifted, and I began to feel as good as I felt before
I left home. The service was impressive, complete with uplifting
music and an encouraging sermon. And on top of that, the church’s
hospitality was amazing. Not only did they acknowledge our presence
and welcome us with open arms into their church home, but also
they fed us. Attending church also gave me the opportunity to meet
new people and make new friends. As I sit in front of my computer
writing, sharing my life here at The University of Texas at Austin
with all of you, I can’t but wonder how different this journal
would be if I had not attended that church service Sunday morning.
I would have no doubt begun another week where I carried the weight
of the world on my shoulders, and I believe at some point through
the course of the week, it would have crushed me.
I suppose the
point I am trying to get across is that the first week or so of
college may not be favorable. Actually, I’m
sure many of my peers on this campus are still struggling through
their first couple of weeks of college just as I did. I am a Christian.
In my eyes, there’s no better way to cope with any problems
you may be experiencing than turning them over to the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. But that’s my perspective. I, in no
way, intend to force my beliefs on anyone. The key is that I have
a means of dealing with any trials I may experience in college.
A means of dealing with adversity in college is imperative. To
those who are planning to attend college, have yet to graduate
from high school, and to my peers who may not have found a means
of dealing with adversity, I wish you the best. I have found mine.
I hope you find yours.
Any concerns, comments or questions? E-mail
me at JaHeeZy689@hotmail.com.