By Sarah Richards
My time as a student at Pensacola State College has come to a close.
I began this journey as what one would call a “non-traditional student,” which means I am not a newly-minted high school graduate, but rather, I have enjoyed what I like to call my thirteen “gap years.”
When I came to PSC in 1999, I thought I wanted to be a chef; the truth was, I was a home baker who only enjoyed baking for those I cared about. I didn’t know what I wanted to do and didn’t believe I was smart enough to complete college because I didn’t think I’d be able to pass the math.
I was wrong.
I was just smart enough.
It was Professor Greg Bloxom who helped me have the confidence I needed to believe in myself. He was also a great math teacher who embraced technology. (You know, like calculators.)
However, passing still required a lot of work on my part.
I spent at least forty hours in the Math Lab two summers ago (eighty this past spring), plus an incredible amount of time solving equations on a whiteboard. (To have done otherwise would’ve killed a forest.)
I finished with an A in Intermediate Algebra, which I know helped me get my B+ in College Algebra. (I could’ve pulled an A, but “Elementary” Statistics was a real time sucker.)
I came to PSC to learn to be a medical biller and coder, but because of a scheduling mix-up one semester (it really is a long story), I ended up with A.A. in General Studies to go with my A.S. in Health Information Technology.
Though we use math to understand how things work, we use words to understand people. As an introvert, I have used stories to connect with people. Though what I write may be written as a poem, it always tells a story. It is as concrete as the person I see in the mirror.
In the spring of 2017, I began work-studying in the English and Communications Department, which enriched my college experience exponentially; through that position, I found lifelong friends who not only appreciated my creativity but encouraged it.
Those four semesters were the best of times and the worst of times; it was during that time that I lost my car, my house, and my mom.
Losing her was the saddest moment of my life.
Hence, life had become overwhelming, but having a place to go–a purpose secondary to the one I had at home–helped me push myself forward.
This semester, I not only became Editor-in-Chief of this newspaper but also a Writing Lab tutor; through the Educational Talent Search program I worked for this past summer, I was given the opportunity to supervise the TRIO Tutoring Lab.
Working four jobs while taking two classes was hard, but I was able to preserve my sanity, as well as my security.
Though being the Editor-in-Chief almost completely overwhelmed me, I saw it as my way of giving back to the school that had given me so much.
Through it, I learned that this introvert was capable of handling a leadership position, and I learned how true it is that part of being a leader is surrounding oneself with the best people.
However, I am ready for this changing of the guard. Even though the life of a journalist is a great adventure, I will always be a storyteller at heart.
The only difference is that I enjoy telling other people’s stories now–not just my own.