My heart smiles joyfully as my Facebook memory flashes of my college acceptance letter. I posted the letter a few years ago commemorating my alma mater Founder’s Day. I first heard about the North Carolina A&T State University through my maternal first cousin, Tamika (Ingram) Blount, whom I admired as a kid. She assuredly said to apply to the university if I decided to attend college. From that moment, I had my mind set on attending North Carolina A&T State University.
My mind drifted into my memory time castle to 2000, when I applied to North Carolina A&T State University. I would give the university my cousin spoke so highly of a try. I applied late and was curious if I would get into the university. I was unfamiliar with the waiting process at the time and wavered in my faith. I settled and got accepted into Winston-Salem State University. I was also keenly interested in Howard University or moving to New York City after high school.
On March 8, 2000, I saw a brochure on Coppin State University, an HBCU in Baltimore, Maryland, in the Guidance Counselor’s office. My thoughts wonder as to what this school is all about. I grab the application and brochure packet. I had my mind made up on applying to Coppin State when I got home. When I arrived home, as soon as I opened the door, my older sister said, “Tracey, you got accepted into NC A&T.” My face grew in astonishment, but at the same time, wanting to know how she knew of my acceptance. My sister told me she knew it was my acceptance letter because the mail was thick. She opened my acceptance letter to see it for herself. SMH! The moment I dreamed of and saw in movie scenes and TV shows of high school students opening their college acceptance letters wasn’t organic, but at the time, I was happy.
Twenty-three years later, I reflect on this Founder’s Day and what I have accomplished since I walk the blue and gold grounds on the illustrious North Carolina A&T State University campus. I thank God for the lessons I learned in my early stages on systematic injustices and social inequality – transforming that interest on a collegiate level. I had some hiccups throughout college, but I completed my college career strong.
Gibbs Hall, home of the Sociology, Social Work, Political Science, and Psychology Departments, molded me into the career woman I am today as a Social Worker, Veteran Case Manager, Mental Health Professional, Political Guru, and Community Activist.
I’ve seen and heard the stories of struggling families from diversified backgrounds. “Families that barely afford basic living. The unmotivated client who sees no hope in their adaptable dark world. The veteran who wishes to commit suicide. The orphan-minded adult who feels abandoned. The helpless child who suffers from abuse and neglect. The homeless person scrambles on the streets for survival. The woman who lacks self-esteem sells her body for money and false love. The individual suffering from mental health problems.” The list goes on and on. I can look back and say I’m proud of what I accomplished in my 15-16 years in Human Services.
The ability to tackle societal issues plaguing our community, engage in social action, research & development and social justice advocacy demonstrate my dedication to this superhero field. I thanked my Gibbs Hall roots for molding me into that important figure in my community, carrying the torch and legacy of Jesse Jackson and the NC A&T Four, one of the prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement, into making a transformable impact in this real world. I will treasure my Gibbs Hall and NC A&T roots for making that happen.