The greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life is become a Dawg. I remember my first visit when I came on a Visitor’s Center tour my senior year of high school. I walked though North Campus, and I instantly fell in love. They showed me Herty Field, the fountain, and the legendary arch. I told myself, “I’m home.”
I thought to myself, “It’s stupid to believe in a superstition.” Three years later, I still have not walked under the Arch, and will not until I graduate. It’s not that I believe in it, but if it is true, let me not test it.
Coming into my senior year, I knew Athens would be the next stop for me. I sent in my application for early action and waited for my acceptance. I spent my whole high school career working hard for this moment. I was arrogant, (many will say I still am). I just knew that I would get in, I was Jamari. I got everything I wanted in high school.
So, on November 18, 2011, I got the notice from the University of Georgia. I was deferred. I took it as a rejection. Truthfully, the first rejection I’ve ever received. Dumbfounded, I stared at my computer screen while a few tears fell from my eyes to the keyboard for the next hour. I looked around my room, and all around me was Georgia paraphernalia, pillows, blankets, shirts, and jackets. In a rage, I threw it all in the closet.
Then, I proceeded to re-apply under regular-decision that same night. In an essay, I simply told the admissions office that they made a big mistake, and they would regret it if they didn’t accept me. I hit send, and the next few months were a blur. I really didn’t enjoy my senior year until March 30, 2012.
For weeks, I waited for the decision. I logged into the admissions site waiting to see that I was accepted. Everyday I left uneasy as no decision had been posted. On March 30th, I logged into my friends phone, and I finally saw the fireworks. I got accepted, and I knew my life had just begun.
I remember Move-In Day. Payne Hall wasn’t much, but it felt like home. Everyone else lived in Creswell, Russell, Brumby, and Boggs. College was a chance to start over and become the person you always wanted to be in high school. A chance I didn’t take; I took the road less travelled, finding myself.
I joined clubs on campus: SGA Freshman Forum, University Union, Georgia Daze, Hall Council among other things.I learned that everyone in UGA is truly amazing and whose ideas are profound (Thanks Chanelle, Ivan, Brittney, and Montez). I met the most amazing people in my life. People that smiled through the pain, people that “Pay It Forward,” and people that bare their soul so that somebody else will do the same.
The nights that changed my college life were Mondays at 8pm in the MLC during Freshman Forum meetings. Two nights in particular helped shape me into who I am now. The Execs and PAs gave personal TED talks. I sat in my seat amazed at how honest they were.
Their most personal feelings and fears they shared to a room of 70 young, naive freshman. I thank them all for that so much. I have had a personal connection with each of them. A connection that has been so important to my college career (Thanks Darien, Austin, Noemie, Marcus, and Christen)
I guess that’s what I’m doing now. Paying it forward by baring part of my soul. This is my reflection of my journey here at the University of Georgia. I’ll be a junior, and graduation is painfully close. I have three semesters left at my favorite place on Earth. Then, I’ll have to find my next “favorite place on Earth.”
Hopefully, that place is in Bristol, CT at ESPN Headquarters. I just want to cover sports as a journalist. I’ve always been a huge sports junkie. I don’t want to simply write stories about the Super Bowl, or how LeBron is really clutch contrary to belief. I want to tell stories of athletes’ passion and inspiration for the game.
Last week, an incoming freshman told me, “I wish I knew what I want to do with my life like you do.”
I laughed really loud. I’m so far from that. I’m not put together or really know where my life is truly going. All I know is God has a plan and he doesn’t make mistakes. He has a lifetime of experience. I have 19 years. He knows what he is doing. I’m nowhere near the best son, sibling, or friend. I’m selfish, pretentious, and shady.
Some people may not like me, but I feel like something everyone respects is my honesty.No matter how brutal it may be, I’ll always give my honest opinion, eve if you don’t want it. It is a rare case that I talk about my personal experiences and personal life. I’m a closed-off person. Even my closest friends will be a little shocked when reading this (and they better read this).
I’m humbled by the compliments people have given me since I’ve been on campus, but I don’t deserve them. I’m not that great, not Mr. Black Excellence, and I really don’t know what I’m doing. I have lost friends over my pride and selfishness. I’ve made people feel unwanted and unneeded, and for that I’m truly sorry.
After two years of searching, I think I finally found who I really am. I’m the guy who helps others, but will never ask for help because he doesn’t want to be a burden. I’m the guy who receives joy from seeing others achieve their dream. I’m the guy who likes to laugh, so he doesn’t have to think how dark the world truly is.
I’m the guy who is deeply in love with Alicia Keys and Beyonce (you know I couldn’t tell my story without them). Most importantly, I’m just a guy. I stay in my lane and don’t step on anyone’s toes. I think that’s why I’m a journalist. I find solace in others triumphs and successes. I want to tell those stories.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons at UGA. I learned that everything is not for everybody. Also, I learned that everybody is not for everybody either. I learned never to give BUGA a chance to come after me under any circumstances. With that said, I learned that black people are beautiful and we don’t have to feel less than.
I have learned to take in all those experiences because time flies. I have learned to expand your horizons and your comfort zones. I have learned that “No” is just a word. If someone tells you no,you are in the same place you were in the beginning. No damage done and just keep pushing (Thanks Brandon). My biggest lesson at UGA: do what you love, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” – Oscar Wilde