< College Life at the University of Florida - Te-Erika

College Life at the University of Florida

I chose to attend the University of Florida because it was the best school in the state. Although it was 5 hours away from Miami, I wasn’t afraid to go it on my own. In fact, when I moved to Gainesville in the Fall of 1997, I moved by myself, sight unseen, with just $80 to my name. My parents did not accompany me or send me with any supplies for my new college life.

I made it though! I got a job within two weeks and began doing what I do best, finding ways to be creative. By the end of my freshman year I was invited to participate in a school calendar as a freshman representative, had contributed as a writer to the school newspaper, The Alligator, and won an audition to host the annual Black Student Assembly.

Me (Left) with friends at a concert on campus in 1998.

Instead of majoring in broadcast journalism, as I originally intended to, I switched at the last moment and chose magazine journalism. I figured that I had done broadcasting since the 3rd grade and didn’t need more practice for that.  I also realized that broadcast journalists aren’t really offering their own thoughts, they are simply reading the words written by someone else. I felt that I had important things to say on my own so I chose to become a writer instead.

Journalism school was NOT easy. I failed my first intro to journalism class and had to take it again. I buckled down and got serious about my writing, starting my first website during my senior year and winning 3rd place in the William Randolph Hearst Collegiate Writing Competition for an editorial I wrote.

I joined Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority while in undergrad. My line name was KIA.Com, which stood for Know It All.Com. They told me that I acted like I knew how to do everything and always had to be in charge. I enjoyed serving my community alongside some of the most amazing women I have ever been privileged to know.

The University of Florida was an amazing place to grow as a young person. Although the student population is quite huge, I always felt supported by the staff and came to admire my professors. Attending the University of Florida was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Every person that I met while at UF wound up reaching their dreams.

My time in college was also the time I became a mother. I was 21 when my son Saidon was born in 2000 and my younger son Solomon was born in 2002. Their father was and still is, a thorn in my side, but he gave me the best gifts of my life: our two sons. I met him when we were both chosen to host the annual Black Student Assembly in 1998 and we were asked to hang out a little so that we would seem comfortable with each other. We became extremely comfortable. Two kids later, we are now attached for life.

While we broke up even before our second son was born, I could not have chosen a better father for my sons. I wouldn’t do anything differently except curse his ass out a little more. I was much too nice because I was a very nice person back then. I hadn’t been jaded by life yet and I figured that you could be a good person and the world was primarily good.

Even though I had two sons while still in undergrad and dropped out of school for a while in between the two, I still graduated with a B.S. in Journalism which was awarded in 2004.


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