As you prepare to walk across the stage and receive your degree, I am reminded of a quote by Ralph Emerson that says, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” You spent years preparing for this moment. You took courses in sociology, biology, ethics, economics- micro and macro, quantitative methods, or my personal favorite-media law. I am sure you wondered while sitting in these courses especially if it is not your major, why are you taking this? I definitely did. I could not fathom why I needed to take these courses if I just wanted to write. However, I realized college was a gigantic sponge with so much information for me to soak up to use in my future. Therefore, as you take your last walk around campus, receive guidance from your favorite professors or advisor, or hang out with your college friends, remember life outside is an even larger sponge waiting for you to add your experience and knowledge to it.
For the past three years since I have been back to Rock Hill, I created a longer trail to my purpose. It had its curves, jagged edges, falls, and mountains. However, I realized it was my own trail. It was important for me to learn that. So today, I am telling you that your tomorrow may not go as you hoped it would, but remember that if you are creating a trail then you will reach those endless possibilities at the right time. Enjoy every moment because all of your hopes and dreams will unfold when you least expect it! It did for me, and I pray it does for you!When I graduated in 2007, I was not sure what the path led for me, but I knew I wanted to leave a trail. I knew that whatever I did I was going to make a difference in the lives of others. I went home after college, and it was the best decision ever made after looking at everything now. My daddy said if you do not have a job then you are off to Summerville. Needless to say, after less than two hours and four packed to the max cars later, I left Winthrop University after receiving my degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. The following year, I learned about strength and faith in God. I helped my mom, aunt, and cousins aid my ailing grandmother up to her passing. I knew I made a difference because Granny always smiled at me. I knew all I experienced and learned at Winthrop did not go in vain because she was proud of me. However, the following year when I lost my mother, I felt so empty and hopeless inside. I felt like I lost everything in the blink of an eye. I remember a few months before she passed, we talked about me moving back to Rock Hill. She told me to do what makes me happy. When she passed, it was the hardest thing ever, but after praying to God and thinking about that conversation she and I shared, I knew it was time to spread my wings because that is what she would have wanted.
P.S. Special shoutout to the Class of 2012 graduates receiving either undergraduate or graduate degrees especially Kyvia Crisco, Devon Perry, Aisha Yates, Ashley Weston, Lisa Orumm, Laurenn Chambers, Lolita Gayden, Amber Brown, and Kayauna Wiggins. I hope I didn’t miss anybody!!! Congrats! Congrats! Congrats!