Against All Odds, I Am Finally Graduating From College
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Against All Odds, I Am Finally Graduating From College

Looking back at all the horrible things that have happened to me towards reaching this point of my life, it is a miracle I did it.

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Against All Odds, I Am Finally Graduating From College
Andre Hunter

It has been a very long and bumpy ride for me on the road to my Bachelor's degree. When I arrived at college in the summer of 2008, I did not realize what foolish errand I was getting into. Had I known the horrors that awaited me, I never would have set foot on the campus where I began my college career.

I could never have imagined that I would become connected to a school shooter. A young man had walked into a lecture hall the year before I attended and killed 4 people. Nothing I had experienced could prepare me for cyberbullying and the harsh truths one learns from it. Worst of all, I was not going to law school, but I would have needed knowledge from said school to survive what was to come.

My freshman year went the way that many did. I quickly tried to see how far my alcohol limit could reach. In pursuit of a computer science degree when I started out, freshman me learned that good grades and parties did not mix. Also, I learned right away that Friday classes are dangerous for your mental and physical health since the weekend begins on Thursday night.

Like most young men who were losers, like me, freshman year, I entertained the idea of joining a fraternity. I claimed on the surface that it was because I wanted to be part of something bigger. But let's be real, I really just wanted to have a safe space where I would not be kicked out of parties because I managed to talk to the wrong girl about the wrong topic. Learning how to be a pickup artist and turn into a player was my ultimate goal when I was 19. I wanted to be perceived as a big shot by women and got the idea in my head that fraternity life was the fastest route to it.

To the surprise of no one who is reading this, I was hazed. I remember being left blindfolded in a graveyard at one point. The most recurring form of hazing though involved dark basements with spotlights where I, along with other pledges, were interrogated with questions about the fraternity. The tough expectations that I was trying to live up to thanks to the Stockholm Syndrome that made me put up with all this abuse took a toll on my sanity.

Then towards the end of freshman year, two things happened. My great uncle was killed by a serial killer in the same week that my percussion mentor died of a heart attack. Secondly, my depression resurfaced to the extreme and I was kicked out of the fraternity. They were unwilling to put up with my sorry emotional state.

Heartbroken and feeling like a failure, I tried to figure out how to rejoin Greek Life, since I clearly did not take the hint the first time around. Sophomore year offered me an opportunity unlike any other. I had changed my major to English. I was well on my way to embracing my not-so-small skill in writing. At the same time, I managed to join a Fraternity that was still starting up. My rationale was that they needed me so much that I was safe. They would not even think of kicking me out, even on my worst day.

Sophomore year was admittedly fairly good. Though I'll admit that I once again put up with physical violence. I blamed my failure to behave in public on my Autism. Believing that being beat up was a fitting punishment for acting out of line, I once again succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome. I was desperate to belong at this point. Being a Sex God was still on my mind after all. Fitting in and being accepted by these people would help me reach that goal.

The junior year came. I changed my major again. This time to Psychology after realizing that English would not something I could use to get a job. Then true hell hit. The cyberbullying began. I am not quite sure when, since it took a while for me to be alerted to it. The first sign of trouble was the fact that I would from time to time get confronted whenever I went out alone. Since I was the awkward kid within the fraternity, this was quite often.

When I finally read the messages, I did not know what to do. I read posts about me, and they were not the pleasant type. Examples included accusations that I was a rapist and slipped drugs in girls' drinks. A second rumor was that I was going to be the next school shooter. Remember earlier how I mentioned that I joined a fraternity so that I could be a pickup artist? That was because I was a virgin. It was baffling how anyone could accuse me of rape. And the second posting caused the police to get involved since I was apparently a threat to those around me.

Because it was on the internet and it was negative, people believed it. I periodically got phone calls from people who threatened to kill me. I also would get harassed at my job. Indeed, my managers asked me not to wear my name tag at work to avoid this. Keep in mind that I worked at a grocery store. I could not ignore the negative reactions because others were paying attention to them.

This bad publicity got me removed from my fraternity. I was once again friendless and alone. Halfway through my spring semester, I attempted suicide. When that failed, I decided to withdraw from the university and run away from home and my home state.

I was told by the doctor I was seeing at the time that I had successfully withdrawn from the university and that my classes for that semester would have no impact on my GPA. I left the school and lived with my parents for a few months and prepared to flee halfway across the country. However, I found out before I was gone that not only had I failed to withdraw, but I owed money for the semester. Instead of having a clean slate when I finally ran away from home, I ended up owing a school that had destroyed my life a lot of money. Worse, my GPA was completely destroyed. Four F's on a transcript tend to do that.

I ran away to Florida and began to rebuild my life. While I finally had learned how to socialize, work life was constant hell because abusive managers managed to trigger the PTSD I had gained from my college experience. Since abusive bosses are the norm in a capitalist society, it threatened to make it impossible for me to hold a job long. Four long years went by before I was ready to continue my education anew.

Finally, I did go back to school, but I was shoved away by UCF. My GPA was too low after all, though that was through no fault of my own. Frustrated at my continuously bad luck, I turned to Valencia and decided to earn an Associate's. Once again, my mentality was that UCF had no choice but to admit me if Valencia gave me the Associate's degree.

One year passed, and I was dangerously close to having too low of a GPA even with high grades from Valencia. My old college continued to be a thorn in my side, years after I had left it. However, I managed to retake one class over the summer and got just high enough of a GPA to transfer properly to UCF.

The fun was not over yet though. My old university refused to give me my transcripts for transfer. I had to pay them for the semester that I had not actually attended. Furious that they continued to kick me while I was down, I had no choice but to pay them and let an enemy that I was growing an alarming amount of hatred towards defeat me once again.

Once I did that, I found the Writing and Rhetoric Major at UCF and finally found what I should have pursued all along. It was finally in this environment that I encountered professors that worked with me. And while there were still rumors about me in certain places even almost 6 years after I had fled from my old home, the student body is so massive at UCF that I could finally hide in the crowd.

Finally feeling good about where I was in life, I focused completely on my studies. However, another problem arose in my final year of school. For some reason, I needed AP credits that had been missing from my transcript to continue at UCF. And I did not know how to get a hold of them since it had been more than a decade since high school. However, after a multi-week process of stressful phone calls, I managed to solve the problem.

Once I reached the summer of this year, I sprinted towards the finish. But I was stopped once again. As it turned out, when I had taken writing composition almost 10 years prior, my grade percentage was 1 point off from meeting a requirement. I despaired thinking I would have to take the most basic of basic classes of writing before I could once again try to graduate. The weight of a failure that I could never have predicted weighed heavily on me.

However, I found a way out. After a lot of freakouts and emails with advisers, I managed to convince the department to override this requirement on my behalf. As a result, I was once again in the final stretch. I sprinted towards the end hopeful that I was finally in the clear.

But nope, that would have been too easy for me. Because I was still marked as not graduating, I never received the email to get a hold of my cap and gown. Not knowing how this process worked, I once again feared that factors outside of my control would shut me down. Finally, on the very day I am writing this, I got a hold of my cap and gown, and to my great amazement, my name was on the list. For one of the first times in my entire life, the professionals around me had not betrayed me.

Today was one of the happiest days of my life. Looking back at all the horrible things that have happened to me towards reaching this point of my life, it is a miracle I did it. I am lucky enough to have parents who helped me pay for all those surprise fees. These same family members allowed me to leave the oppressive workforce that might have driven me into a psych ward. I only succeeded because I was able to focus completely on my studies. This is not a normally realistic situation at my age. I was lucky. It was not my skills that saw me through these trials.

I have defeated an oppressive school (sort of). The corrupt medical people failed to keep me from finishing my education. A fraternity system tried to destroy my heart, soul, and reputation. I am certainly a hate-filled person from the experiences, but I am still alive and breathing. I know that God has done everything in its power to stop me. Fate has conspired time and time again to destroy me. But even an apparently all-powerful being can be defeated it seems.

The only thing I foresee stopping me now is that this Malevolent God decides to kill me on the eve of my victory. However, me dying in this manner would represent another type of victory. If God is so petty that I must be struck down for the sake of its pride, then this means that I for a brief moment stood on a higher moral ground than God itself.

I do not intend to go down easily at this point God, least of all to you. I challenge my fate. My life will change in spite of your wishes. I will graduate on August 4th, 2018 and I will allow nothing to stop me when I am this close to victory. My cap shows the Pokemon Darkrai and warns that I will be unleashing nightmares upon the world. The Shadows grow ever stronger and victory will be mine!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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