Growing up in an area where the majority of the community is African American is not easy. Crimes are happening down the street, or your high school classmate lost their life before reaching graduation. However, I still felt comfortable living there because I could relate to the people in that area, and sports played a huge role in achieving success.
My first visit to Piedmont College is an experience I will never forget. Driving through the large mountains, seeing the numerous farmlands, and riding past small country towns, I knew I was going out of my comfort zone. Before getting to the campus, I noticed the area was completely different from my hometown, which made me feel a little nervous about committing to Piedmont.
I was excited to start my tour on campus because it was my first college visit, plus I missed school that day. Even though I was filled with excitement, I didn’t see any students that looked like me. I started to wonder if Piedmont was the right place for me and if I could adjust to an area that is different from mine. My dad was nervous about me going to Piedmont, but we both agreed that I could transfer to another school if I didn’t feel comfortable.
Being a part of the track team helped me adjust to this new environment. First, I could relate to my teammates because we all participate in the same sport, but I also had black teammates that made me feel comfortable being at Piedmont. Knowing that my teammates also took that same risk, let me know I’m not alone.
Even though I felt comfortable with my teammates, I still had the challenge of fitting into the Piedmont college community. At first, things were tough, but with the help of Mrs. Koshuta, Professor Torrance, Dr. Tingle, Mrs. Melba, Professor Lytle, and other outstanding Piedmont people, I finally felt a part of the Piedmont college community.
Over the last few years, Piedmont College has started to bring in more African American students. I appreciate Piedmont for doing this because it lets me know they want more diversity on the campus and makes me feel more comfortable being here in a completely different area.
The adjustments I had to make over the years to enjoy my college experience were challenging, but I am proud to be a part of the Lion community. I’m happy I gave Piedmont College a chance, and if I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would.