"I'm officially Georgetown '21"

By Malik Williams

   I have no choice but to overcome anything that society throws at me. Throughout my life, I have faced many difficulties and hardships. The most difficult thing I dealt with was watching my mother struggle, with no assistance from my absent father. Because of this, I expressed my anger and insecurity during school. It shook me up that I am a child and my father wouldn’t want to associate himself with me. But despite the hardships and struggles I faced at home and early on at school, I overcame. In my community, that’s the only way to break free from the bondage of poverty.     

    My struggles in school started in elementary school. I would continuously disrupt students and keep the teacher from teaching. It wasn’t that I had any learning deficiencies, it was my anger at how empty my home-life felt, and the negative influences some of my peers had on me. Most of my classmates have dealt with the same struggles I’ve had, or maybe even worse, due to the high concentration of poverty in our community in North Huntsville. As I started to get older, things didn’t change much in school for me. During middle school I was still getting in trouble by  trying to be someone everyone looked up to-- in a negative way. I didn't realize yet that I needed to use my leadership skills to benefit myself and my community.

    My mom was so busy at the time working and trying to keep our household together that she relied on me to fix my mistakes on my own. I suddenly felt like a letdown for her because of the way I acted at school. As ninth grade approached, I met some teachers that would help change my life tremendously, but I didn’t notice it until I almost got expelled for pointing a laser at a teacher because I was upset that my mother was leaving and I was going to live in an apartment by myself. It was then that it clicked for me that it was time for me to change no matter the difficulties.

    There was something I thought about often throughout my transition to maturity and that was, “What am I going to do after high school”? After my rocky ninth-grade year, I started to get involved in school activities and stopped hanging around some students who previously had a negative influence on me--some of whom ended up dropping out after their first two years of high school. Through Mr. Scribner and Ms. Heller I was able to explore over 63 colleges for free through the CAP & GOWN Project. This program, and the teachers associated with it, helped change my life because it allowed me to broaden my horizons and instilled in me the belief that attending a university like Georgetown wasn’t some fairy tale dream.                                   

    Just as I started to gain self-control and improve academically, there was a big change within my household. My mother had to move away because of economic difficulties that caused her to seek better pay. I started to stay with my sister and felt a very unsure about how things were going.  It was weird not seeing my mother every day like I was used to, and I had to grow up and act as a young adult, even though I was only 16. I began to do better in school and for the first time since elementary school, I didn’t get even one disciplinary infraction. I felt so proud of myself because I started to finally see my family-life, extra-curricular participation, academics, and behavior come together for good. I received a 4.2 GPA at the end of my junior year and leaped to the number 7 spot in my class. While the average ACT score at my school is a 15, I knew I had to do better. I ended up getting the second best score in the school which is a 24. 

    No matter what life has thrown at me I have worked hard to overcome and achieve the most I can in life. I’ve learned that excuses are tools of incompetence used to build monuments of nothingness. In life you have to learn how to use the hand that is dealt to you. It is your choice whether or not you overcome.