How The Past Turned Into The Present

By Zamien Williams

This article is the second part of a three-part series, which are all part of an English 101 project, in which students were asked to explain how they came to be a student at UNCG. For all of the stories, visit the project’s webpage.

Vernon Malone College and Career Academy. Looking back at that school, it bred me for greatness after graduation. Whatever path that I wanted to take they had my back, whether it’d be in pursuing education or joining the workforce.

I had an interest in continuing gaining knowledge in the HVAC category, but COVID hit around that time and my mother’s prospering massage business started struggling due to the social distancing rules of that year (it’s crazy to think that 2020 was 3 years ago). Seeing as I couldn’t watch my mother struggle while trying to take care of my brother and me, I put my interest in school on hiatus so that we could get some money flowing in the house again.

Every week I gave my mother $100 out of my check, and I did that for the past year or two. While supporting my mother with a flow of income, I gained experience in the HVAC fields of maintenance, installation and service; and I also obtained my refrigeration license and NATE certification. However I have also tried other jobs, because I still haven’t discovered what I really want to do in life. To solve that dilemma, I waited until my mother got back on her feet before I announced that I wanted to pursue college again, seeing as how my brain was still fresh and I just had this pent up feeling of wanting to attain further knowledge in life and self development.

I already had plenty of friends residing in Greensboro, so that narrowed my choice of deciding between A&T, UNCG, Greensboro College and Guilford Tech. What ultimately made me choose UNCG was the fact that I had to pay $60 for the application itself, and, since I spent my own money out of my pocket, I was like, ‘I might as well just attend the school anyways since I already invested in it.’

In the midst of spending money I knew that I would need a way to cover my tuition for the fall semester, so I worked with this AC company called Raleigh Air, which paid $18 an hour at the time, to fulfill my financial needs at the time. Imagine spending eight to 12 hours in a hot summer attic trying to replace and install a new air handler/furnace where it’s super cramped and has a limited work space. It wasn’t fun, but it was hard and honest work that made me enough bread to get to where I’m at now. I was so devoted to making money that I couldn’t even fully enjoy my brother’s graduation as I clocked into work right after the ceremony was over.

However, even though I hated working like that at the time, I realize now that it strengthened my traits of hard work, perseverance and dedication, skills that I would need to be successful in college; I also attained proper organization skills through working with Raleigh Air (working at that company really made me improve as a person overall when I reflect on that point of time in my life).

As SOAR and eventually the first day of classes was coming closer, I started taking days off to acquire school materials and spend time with my family, seeing as I would be gone for several months for schooling. I also tried to impart some wisdom into my brother since I was leaving, and he would have to be the man of the house for the time being. I told him that he needs to learn how to drive and take care of himself, so that he could lessen the burden off our mother.

As I continue to further my knowledge and educational prowess, I like to look back and reflect on the way I progressed to get to UNCG. As a reader of this editorial, I question you to look back and reflect on how you got to this point in your life that you’re viewing and reading this, and any other narratives.

Thank you, and have a great day!

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