By Jerreme Wade
As a current senior in college, I’ve seen my fair share of wins and losses. There is no way to duck and dodge the struggles I’ve faced as a college student. Some days, it’s like being caught in a raging storm with no way out. However, when you overcome the obstacles to achieve progress, the hard work, effort and sacrifices will be worth it.
I constantly struggled with my academics as a sophomore college-athlete attending Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. My grades were always poor as a result of the strenuous pressure I put on myself to progress on the soccer field. Having the chance to compete on a collegiate level was the chance of a lifetime. However, an injury altered my dreams for the moment, and my focus turned to academics. I found FIU to be an intriguing school to transfer to. The English Department had a promising Writing and Rhetoric program. My brother had just moved to Fort Lauderdale, so I had a place to call home on the weekends! As I conclude my last semester here at FIU, I couldn’t be more excited about the future because of the opportunities FIU has given me.
Certain experiences have taught me valuable lessons. These lessons have molded me into a young man, entrepreneur, and professional dedicated to developing my craft beyond words on a page. I’ve made a lot of mistakes that taught me to embrace the struggle and prepare for the victory. So, three years after graduating high school and entering college, here are a few things I wish someone had told me when I was just beginning college.
Most students believe that the first few semesters of their college years will be a breeze. The common phrase among most students is, “They’re just general requirements!” I had the same attitude about my classes during my freshman year. I barely studied and procrastination became my best friend. Suddenly, my grades dropped. I wanted to blame everyone else besides the person in the mirror. I refused to believe that the fight was internal instead of external. The reality is that it’s a fight until the end! Every day counts and brings new challenges. All you can do is prepare yourself as you enter each semester.
Manage your time so you’re prepared for class.
FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus is huge. It requires a sense of direction and time management to get to classes on time. As a transfer student, I remember my first semester here. The commute to my classes required at least 15 minutes. It was crazy! Time really flies when you have no idea where you’re going! That’s why it’s important to be prepared. And not just in terms of your commute. Now is the time to check each syllabus for each class to get a sense of the workload as we enter midterms. I’m sure you’ve had some test by this point in the semester. You can only progress from here! I believe if you implement more organization in your schedule, it will reduce stress.
Focus on what is in front of you.
Miami is a fun place. So is South Beach. Neither one of them is going anywhere anytime soon. Make your classes your top priority!
Develop dedication to your craft.
I have a sense of pride knowing that I’ve dedicated time to my craft as I approach graduation in December. The attitude I have towards projects is different. I’m studying, analyzing, reading, and taking notes differently as an English major. Trust me, you will feel the same if you put in the sweat, blood, and hours like me. If you invest in your craft, you should want the equity (value) of your portfolio to reflect your passion. The best students constantly look for ways to improve their craft. Speak with your professors. Ask questions. Seek out a great internship and/or mentor. You will likely be working for decades in this field, so put in the time and effort to learn all you can about it now.
Learn to laugh more.
Stress causes a lot of anxiety when you’re in school. Classes can become overbearing as you look to end the semester strong. It’s always good to laugh! Find an outlet that allows you to have fun and forget about the work that happens within the classroom. There are plenty of ways to create a calm state of mind on the weekend that will motivate you as Monday approaches. Stay Positive!
I still allow time for dreaming. My mind wanders into space and sits on the clouds as I think about the attributes that will contribute to my potential moving forward.
I still have a long way to go, but progress is key. As I dedicate my time to overcoming each obstacle, I hear opportunities knocking at my door. As a student, be dedicated in the midst of the wins and losses. It all starts with a commitment to improve every day!
Jerreme Wade is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media next year while playing soccer in the Adaptive Soccer Program at Clemson University. In his spare time, Jerreme enjoys writing, reading, and fitness.
Jerreme is a member of the U.S National Paralympic Soccer Team. The U.S Paralympic Soccer Team is an elite-level program that selects players from across the United States in preparation for international standard competition. The National Team, in addition to friendly matches and invitational tournaments competes in events like: World Championships, Copa America, and the International Cup. Jerreme has competed in Ireland, Ukraine, and Manchester, England. He had the opportunity to represent the U.S as a member of the U.S National Paralympic Team that competed in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, England.