Good Evening TXK

photo by Matt Cornelius
photo by Matt Cornelius

Good Evening TXK

My queen, Oprah Winfrey, taught me how important getting an education is. My mom passed a plethora of Oprah quotes to me while growing up, one of the most important being, “Education is power.” These words of wisdom were only a tiny part of a more extensive lecture in my early high school years. After expressing my thoughts about possibly not going to college to my mom, she reminded me, “Education is power.” It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I have never forgotten that quote.

I thought Oprah and I were finally on the same page as I walked up the steps to my first college class in the fall of 2016. But after I graduated from Texarkana College with my associate degree in the spring of 2019, I decided not to return to school. Yes, I suppose I let Oprah down. Fast-forward three ridiculously fast years later, and here we are. I have decided to take my first steps toward redemption and further my education, one outrageously expensive textbook at a time.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form was not as bad as everyone made me believe it would be, and that was an enormous weight off my shoulders. Everyone at Texas A&M University-Texarkana has been kind, helpful, and accommodating. Overall, it has been a relatively smooth process.

I have so many dreams and goals set for myself. I quit school in 2019, believing that nothing in a textbook or an online course could help me achieve those goals. My dreams have gotten bigger, however. I work at Heritage Home Health & Hospice as their digital media manager. Who would have thought I would be in front of a computer screen all day? But I am creating, and creating, and hoping to make Heritage’s social media presence one of the best. I am passionate about what I do, but I have ADHD, and I know getting my degree can only expand the possibilities of what I can accomplish.

I used to think being a dreamer was much more a curse than a blessing. In first grade, I remember journal time. Instead of writing about my summer, I would draw cotton candy monsters all over the page. The monsters were pink and blue with creepy faces, and I wished SO badly they were real. I know I was not following the assignment’s instructions, but tapping into that creativity was therapeutic for me. I used to believe my imagination was repugnant; I was afraid of it and wanted to hide it because everyone around me was intelligent and articulate about the world around them. I always seemed to be looking past the here and now.

In some ways, I am still that little first grader drawing cotton candy monsters all over the pages of my world. I am much wiser, though, and more readily accepting of reality. I remain optimistic enough to believe that there is so much more beyond what we can see. Rainy days can be opportunities to sit on a porch and watch the rain with friends. A moment of weakness where you lost your cool can be a moment to reflect on what triggered you to lose it in the first place. Quitting school to regroup your thoughts, explore your options beyond the typical, and find peace before making any big decisions CAN be a beautiful thing.

So what if your story does not end with returning to school as mine did? Who besides God knows what tomorrow brings? I could go back to school and completely fail. I could also go back to school and succeed. The best part about either of these outcomes is that I finally have the nerve to keep drawing cotton candy monsters despite the “assignment” in front of me. We are often encouraged to follow in the safe footsteps of our parents, leaders, or friends ahead of us. I have followed others closely. I have everything I need because of it, but I still yearn to see and experience more. I want to build, learn, and grow; finishing my education is part of that. So, I am going for it. If you can wiggle your way out of your comfort zone long enough to do the same, I think you will be amazed at how much you enjoy the free-fall.


LOCAL EVENTS

August 1-5
TRAHC Music Camp
Regional Arts Center, Grades 1-8, $135

August 3
Creative Writing at the Literacy Council
2-4 pm (Wednesdays), Grades 6-12, Free

August 4
Premier High School Open House
Grades 9-12, Arkansas and Texas

August 4
Temple’s Drawdown and Casino Night
Crossties, 6 pm

August 6
Four States Home School Expo
Heritage Church, 11 am-3 pm

August 11-13
46th Annual Hope Watermelon Festival
Hope, Arkansas, Times vary daily

August 13
David Briggs Memorial Car Show
555 CR-2111, Hooks, Texas, 8 am-2 pm

August 13
Peak Fighting
Arkansas Convention Center, 2 pm

August 17-20
New Boston Pioneer Days Festival
T&P Trailhead Park, Times vary daily

August 19
Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk
Kress Gap, 8 pm

August 19-21
Team Shelby Southern Plains Region
“4 State Stampede”
246-mile cruise through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana
Free for Shelbys and Mustangs

August 23
1st Annual Hotdog Eating Contest
Hopkins, 5 pm


For more events visit


LIVE MUSIC

August 5
Haywire
The Hideout, 9 pm

August 6
Heather Linn & The Deacons
The Hideout, 9 pm

August 13
Rewind
The Hideout, 9 pm

August 13
Mike Mayberry and the Slowhands
Whiskey River Country, 9 pm

August 13
Teazur
Redbone Magic Brewing Company, 7-10 pm

August 20
Hudson Street Live
Fat Jacks, 7:30 pm

August 20
Mo Pitney at Pioneer Days
T&P Trailhead Park, New Boston, 6 pm



 

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