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College and Career Pathways, K-12 Education

How Persistence Helped Me Achieve My College Dreams

Tyler Patterson, intern at The Skillman Foundation
Tyler Patterson

Sometimes when people are struggling and feel as if all hope is lost, they choose to give up. For the past few months I have been feeling as if I were lost – in fact, I felt as if I were going through one of the toughest challenges of my life. The thing most people don’t realize about being in a bad predicament is that choosing to stop is the same as choosing defeat.

Just a couple of weeks ago I had no idea what my plans were going to be after I graduated from Cass Tech High School. I had been accepted into a few colleges, but none of them were my first choice, Spelman College. I worked hard on my application but had been deferred from Spelman earlier in the year. While a deferment from a university does not mean you were not accepted, the headline of your letter doesn’t say “congratulations” either. When I got deferred, I felt rejected and wanted to give up.

After a couple of days of being sad, I remembered the lessons I had learned from the Detroit Youth Rising earlier this year. Robert Smith’s advice about being persistent and committed to your goals inspired me to go through with the appeal process. This gives deferred students a second chance at being admitted into a university. After submitting the transcripts, resume, and letter of recommendation for the appeal, my college acceptance process become a waiting game. I waited an entire month to hear back from the Spelman and I started to get doubts. But I kept faith in myself that I could get in.

On March 29, 2019, I got an email from Spelman College. My first choice in schools for higher education. I opened the email and could only finish the first line: “Congratulations! It is an honor to welcome you to the 138th class of Spelman College.”

I immediately burst into tears of joy while reading the email, but I had to stop crying because I was at work. When I told everyone at The Skillman Foundation, they were all genuinely happy and excited for me.

Receiving that news was the best thing that happened to me in a while, and although I didn’t get my acceptance when I wanted to, it came completely on time.

At Spelman College, I will be studying English. This will be my prerequisite into law school. My long-term career goal is to become a juvenile criminal defense attorney and open my own law office in downtown Detroit. Getting into Spelman was just the start of the long journey I have ahead.

I know that the journey will be long and hard, but with dedication and persistence, I can do anything I set my mind to.

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