In 1985, I attended Howard University, which is located in Washington, DC.
Early on, I was very insecure about being “smart enough” to succeed in college. As such, I studied my tail off. By doing so over the first 2 years, I was able to garner a 3.4 grade point average. My confidence began to soar!
During the start of my 3rd year, I became interested, went thru the initiation process and became a member of an “old-school” fraternity. The initiation was something I’ll never forget! It was an eye-opening experience!
Once I got in, I became obsessed with fraternity life: the popularity, status, community work and social life. I forgot the very reason why I was attending college in the first place.
Guess what happened?! My grades suffered! I practically failed every class, and didn’t tell my parents! College recesses for the summer. I fly to San Jose, CA for an internship I had secured the prior year.
Then one day, the phone rings. I pick it up, and say “Hello”. On the other end, it’s my mother, and she says 2 dreaded words that pierced right through me. She said, “What happened?”
All I could say, very humbly, was “I’m sorry, and I promise to do better.” I knew I had let my mother down (the most important person in my life)! I felt like a complete idiot!
In my final year at Howard University, I was able to get back on track. I did receive a bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering (1990). Then later on, I received a master’s degree in Computer Science from Temple University (1992).
To my mother’s credit, when I screwed up, she didn’t hold that over my head. She trusted, and believed I’d do better. Today, my goal is to follow my mother’s lead by holding kids accountable, but at the same time give them an opportunity to rebuild when they hit a speed bump.
Ultimately, the goal is to inspire kids to become the best version of themselves!