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From Undergrad to Grad School: The Power of Hard Work and Believing in Yourself

Updated: Apr 8


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“Success is built by the labor of your hands and the passion of your heart. There is a process, a journey, involved in every new venture. Success is determined by how you overcome the obstacles, manage the mistakes, and resist the rejection. It is never instant.” -Bishop Noel Jones

Today is the testimony about the power of believing in yourself...


The mistakes I made 31 years ago as a freshman student have continued to haunt me until this day. I entered college at a young age and I was not prepared for the freedom and responsibility that was upon me. During that time, I entered school naively, thinking my excellent high school performance and habits would allow me to excel in a college setting. What I did not factor into my thought process or actions, was the responsibility of self-governance of my time and efforts.


After failing the first semester, I was placed on academic probation for the next semester. Because my GPA was well below the minimum standard at the end of that spring (.0462 to be exact), I was suspended from school for a year.

I took that year to regain myself, re-evaluate my goals, and refocus. I enrolled at a community college and graduated with honors. I’ll never forget that last semester because I carried 20 hours, worked a full time job, and maintained my Dean's List honors.

After graduating, I returned to UNO to complete my bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. I was in my last semester when Eric and I married. We also found out we were expecting our first child. Because we were relocating to Texas, I transferred to a school there but was unable to continue due to being placed on bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy.


Again, I faced a dream deferred.


As with life, we grew our family and made a life for ourselves. My husband and I became successful entrepreneurs and then Hurricane Katrina hit.

We lost everything. During this time, my husband and I had become two obese individuals. It was during this disaster recovery time that my husband was faced with a health scare. As a result of that “wake up” call, we embarked on our healthy lifestyle journey, losing a combined 300lbs. Through our journey of better health, those who knew us before, began to inquire about our transformation and the requests from others to help started rolling in.


After a few national TV appearances, radio interviews, etc, we were faced with the opportunity to either stay within our current work life or to pursue our calling of helping others navigate their way through this health, nutrition, and weight loss/management process.

This “calling” motivated my husband and I to return to school after 31 years. To my surprise, because my original major was in sociology and psychology, many of the courses completed could not be applied to my goal of obtaining a Bachelors in Science. This meant not only a change in major and but, literally starting all over again.

After meeting with my advisor at UA, she informed me of the competitiveness of this degree program. She told me I would need to make all A’s & B’s to elevate my GPA to the standard required by the degree program. She also advised me to contact my old university to discuss an Academic Forgiveness program. I contacted the school and could not get any assistance. I was told I would need to be an enrolled student at the school. I was also informed that because the records were beyond 20 years and a "New Orleans" post Katrina, they did not have the ability to access those paper records.


So, my advisor asked me. What are you going to do knowing what’s required and the existing demands on your work/life constraints?” With a straight face, I said “I’m getting all A’s & B’s!” Lord knows, I didn’t know how we were going to add this to our plate because the plate was already overflowing...but God said do.


So, August 2016, we began this journey...

Today, we celebrate a dream deferred no longer!



I don’t think it has fully set in what we’ve accomplished together. What I do know, it’s never too late to begin and a dream deferred is exactly that...deferred....delayed not denied.


Today isn’t about the success of meeting the goal. Today validates the purpose of the obstacles, the mission behind the mistakes, and the acceptance of the “delays” along the way.


Today, we celebrate what we’ve earned as individuals and as a unit.


Today affirms the strength of a made up mind.


Today confirms that no matter what you’ve been through, you CAN get through it and you can grow beyond it.


All we can say is “when we tell you we did that sh*t, we did that sh*t!”






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