When I first came to Salem College as a Fleer student, I was only a little confident that I was capable. I had started my journey to a bachelor’s degree when I was 18. But I seemed to keep running into obstacles along the way that made it difficult to complete. At one point, in my mid-thirties, married with a toddler and a baby, I had a thought that finishing my bachelor’s might not happen for me. I tried to convince myself that I could be okay with that. But I could not shake that nagging feeling that I knew wouldn’t go away unless I went back to school and finished my degree.
I started off a little timid at Salem, and for the first two semesters, I quietly kept my head down and did my work. During my second semester, a fellow Fleer student encouraged me to volunteer for any opportunities that were emailed to students. I considered myself an introverted, shy, behind-the-scenes kind of person. I thought it was other people who volunteered for leadership positions, tour guides, and committees. But I took her advice, and the next time Dean Telford sent out an email requesting volunteers I replied that I could help. After that initial time, I realized that none of us had to know how to do everything in order to offer to help. We just had to show up willingly.
This confidence expanded into other areas of my life, also. When someone at my children’s school asked me to be PTA Secretary, I hesitated for a second and then I accepted. After I took Dr. Sharee Fowler’s Making Change class, I started seeking out more opportunities in the community where I could be involved and am now part of some local grassroots organizations. Salem helped me realize that I can feel uncomfortable and anxious about new things and I can also work my way through them.
Twenty-two years after I first began, I will graduate in May with my bachelor’s degree! It’s a B.A. in Nonprofit Management and Community Leadership with a concentration in Public Policy and Advocacy. At the time of this writing, I’m waiting to hear back from two post-graduation opportunities that I’ve applied for related to my major. I am so proud and fortunate to be part of this Salem community!
Class of 2021