I am Erika Gerdine, born and raised in St. Louis, Mo. I attended the illustrious Alabama A&M University, where I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Urban and Regional Planning (minor- Sociology). To start, as a child I can vividly hear the laughter and depict the many smiles that came out of my household! Our home was complete with my reserved and gentle Momma and my mirthful and awesome Daddy (whom I take after the most!) and four of my equally witty sisters (one of whom came much later in my teenage years). Aside from enjoying life at home and embracing my family, my education and social life has always been a major priority of mine. I was always involved in school activities and strived for academic success and was always looking to enjoy myself along the way. From joining academic and social clubs from elementary school to college, being social comes easy to me, I guess one can infer that I am one of those persons that actually really enjoy people! Leaving home (St. Louis, Mo) to embark on my undulating college experience at A&M, was an invaluable experience, stressful, full of memories, life long lessons and tremendously testing. Test? Not just the exams and quizzes one endures as a student but the test you endure spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.
College can be hard, it has its moments where things may come as a breeze and then there are the other moments. These are the moments that will determine the make or break of your college experience. Will I past that test or earn a good grade on that paper that’s worth 50% of my grade? Will I have enough financial aid to cover my education cost? Did I qualify for that scholarship? Will my parents (or in many cases), will I be able to make my next tuition payment? Should I join an organization? Am I strong enough to face adversity? Whatever it maybe, college comes with stressful situations. Among that you have your social life to maintain, “Fitting in” (whatever that is), engaging in relationships and friendship that you probably never imaged. All the while changing and going through growing pains along the way.
In my personal college experience, my trying or testing moments came when I was having the most fun. Enjoying going out to parties with my friends, having a few drinks (I was 21!), all the while forgetting to say my prayers and thank God for bring me thus far. In most colleges or universities, there are groups and organizations that serve the purpose of spiritual guidance, and they probably have a low member count, but nonetheless they are there. The balance of staying true to ourselves and serving a greater purpose can be a challenge, sometimes we fall short. It’s not till the end, till we’re trying to fill a void, in-which we begin to focus on strengthening our spiritual relationship.
In closing, I have found that life is not easy but it can be one filled with love, peace, joy, happiness, kindness and gentleness. Going away to college was an amazing invaluable experience for me, I learned a lot about myself and more importantly I am content with being me! No, I am far from perfect but life has taught me that no one is. There is in fact a secret to finding peace and clarity in life, not just during college, but all the way through, that secret is learning to balance! I am a still working on balancing life and my faith, all the while, I am growing.