My only goal was to make my family proud of me. I grew up with a single mother and my twin brother, Jevon. It was hard growing up because my mother worked until late hours trying to provide for Jevon and I. My father popped up here and there, so I didn’t have a strong male presence guiding me throughout my adolescent life. Growing up had been a struggle.
Transitioning from Coney Island Prep Middle School to Coney Island Prep High School was tough from me. During middle school, I wasn’t your average A+ student or on honor roll after every marking period. I was slacking and it was hard for me to maintain my grades to just a B average. I would joke around in class, not take my classwork serious and would barely do any homework. I always focused on having fun rather than getting my work done. I managed to pass but it’s not what my parents expected of me. They knew that I was smart and capable of doing better.
After middle school, I felt guilty because I knew that I let them down. I reflected on my years throughout middle school and I learned that it’s not that I couldn’t do better but that I chose not to which is why I felt guilty. That summer going into Coney Island Prep high school, my grandparents had a talk with me about college. They told me that everyone in the family went to and graduated from college and that Jevon and I were next. They lectured me that college was important because it prepares me for my career and the real world.
In my freshman year, I multi-tasked between having fun and getting my work done. I took courses that were above my grades’ required courses which helped me gain confidence in my ability to do well because I knew I was able to take sophomore classes. I started to think high school was easier than people had told me. I got into athletics more and joined Coney Island Prep basketball team playing JV and varsity basketball. It was a great experience because I became close with the seniors and juniors helping me communicate more with my peers. I finished freshman year decent but that resulted in me being too comfortable and I fell off in my sophomore year. I slacked in a few classes in 10th grade. Some classes were challenging but I managed to push through but others I got lazy and stubborn just like how I was in middle school.
After attending my basketball teammates signing day and watch them go on stage to graduate, it motivated me to be just as successful as they were. A senior, who is now a freshman at SUNY Cortland and a very good friend of mine that was also on my basketball team, came to my College and Career Readiness Class and gave the class advice. He told us that he too did poorly his freshman and sophomore year but there was still time to make up for it junior and senior year. This gave me hope as I was in his exact same shoes.
Overall, I wish I took my high school career more seriously. If I focused more on my academics, it would’ve been easier and I would have felt more comfortable with my transcript. I understand the necessity to have strong starts and strong finishes, instead of weak starts and weak finishes. My academic mindset mirrors how I play ball: try to get the win at all costs. I understand that my grades directly impacts my future and career I want one day. I learned that no matter how many times I slipped up, it’s important to continue to learn from mistakes. After every setback, I had a major comeback and that’s who I am today.