Written by: Brianne Croswell ( @briannediminia )
Edited by: Brittany Cooper ( @bee_michele)
Achieving my educational goals was and is the greatest gift I could have given myself. Nothing other than the joy and happiness of my friends and family even comes close. Before deciding to pursue a Masters in Educational Leadership, I always knew that education was about more than the age old “reading, writing and arithmetic” saying. Literacy, without a doubt, is key in building self-confidence. However, an education means much more than that. It is about EMPOWERMENT and utilizing knowledge to make the world around me bigger and more meaningful.
As a woman first and a black woman second, access to an education is not an opportunity that has been taken lightly. My great grandmother worked 14+ hours a day washing suits for white men to provide for her family. Needless to say, she was treated poorly, had no rights, no benefits, and no access to an education. She relied solely on her husband to provide for their large family. Domestic violence was also a prominent issue that my grandmother dealt with and without an education and a decent-paying job, leaving her man meant raising her children in poverty. The drawers were used as changing tables, a large pale was their bath tub and the oldest children stood in as the doctor and more often the parent while my grandmother worked long hours. These were the sacrifices of the women before me. I would have done my family a huge injustice if I’d passed up on the opportunity to receive an education; something my grandmother had only dreamt of.
Aside from being under moral obligation to my ancestors and wanting to provide a better life for my family, like many others, I saw education as a way out. And that it was. I meet people all the time who view higher education as a waste of time and nonetheless, a scam. However, my college experience has, without a doubt, not only taught me about the world around me but even bigger - myself. The lessons I’ve learned about life and the different people I’ve come in contact with while in school has helped shaped me into the BEST version of myself. College has taught me how to bridge the gap and make the leap from who I am to who I want to be. The formula is as follows: Discipline, sacrifice and putting the plan into action. Without a doubt, I would not be the woman I am today had I not practiced this formula for years.
Quite frankly, if I hadn’t left, I would probably be on my second child with who knows which fboy while slaving to make ends meet. I don’t say that to be condescending towards the women who are but that’s just not how I aspire to live.
In short, an education has granted me independence, freedom and the ability to model a set of behaviors that will be passed down as generational WEALTH. This wealth includes a moral compass, the richness of my mind and the knowledge that I am in control of my own destiny. An education has brought me to the idea that life is not about finding a job but that my job in life is to find me. I know that my educational achievements are directly related to my future child’s success and by setting the bar high I am not only putting my foot on the neck of the white men whose suits my grandmothers washed but I am teaching my children and their children to do the same.