I will not STOP until I am FINISHED.

Written By: Angelique Reynolds

February 14, 2018

May 15, 2017 became a date that I would never forget. At 9am, I walked across the stage at Wake Forest University and snatched my diploma cover with joy. Little did the audience know, unless they paid close attention to their programs, I had graduated a semester early and my diploma was already mounted on my wall. Although the sun blazed a little too hot for my skins liking, the feeling of being a first generation student who graduated with distinctions at a prestigious institute superseded the tingling of my burning skin. I tell you this because ironically, this wasn’t the event that made this day so emotional or memorable. Later that evening, I spoke on the phone with my dream graduate school. After asking a plethora of questions about the program and being quite confident that I had chosen my home for the next two years, I was behooved to wait a few more years to apply so I could be “more experienced.”

Almost immediately, my heart dropped and tears fell down my eyes. I wasn’t sure if it was from rage or sadness, but I knew that this wasn’t my end. Every accolade that is listed on my resume, I have earned despite adversity. When people suggest that I slow down, I speed up. When people say that I can’t do something, I show them how to do it. So, when I got off the phone, I stopped and thought to myself; there are two choices: listen and apply in a few years, or risk rejection.

The easy thing to do was to just wait and try again later, but something told me to apply anyway. So, I applied. And, I was rejected. But I did not allow one rejection to stop me. To whom much is given, much is required; and for that reason, I do not apply to a masters program with uncertainty or doubt, but with purpose and intention. Despite my young age, I will not stop until I am finished because my purpose is greater than me.

While attending Wake Forest University, I realized my skills, talents and vision for public education. Subsequently, I began teaching at a title I school in Winston-Salem, NC when I finally understood why I was given these specific skills, talents and knowledge. Having only one official year of teaching under my belt might be a challenge, but everyone who knows me can attest that I never shy away from challenges. From attending K-12 in Charlotte, NC and teaching both elementary and high school in Winston-Salem, NC, I can confidently say that it is time for change in the public education system and I am uniquely positioned to be the catalyst for that change.

It is easy to give up and walk away when faced with obstacles, but I have faced a plethora of obstacles my entire life. I will not stop until I am finished. And gratefully, with resilience and persistence, I am a step closer to fulfilling my purpose as I enter my first semester into my Masters.