Don’t You Dare Say: “I Can’t”

Amber never said "I Can't"Don’t You Dare Say: “I Can’t”

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of watching over 140 of my past students walk across the stage in Florence, SC as college graduates.  It is one of the proudest moments of my adult life.

You see, I was a Student Services Coordinator (essentially a Guidance Counselor) for a college in that area for a year.  I assisted in opening the store and was there for the first day of class for these students grads.  Basically my job was simple…do whatever it took to keep them in school.  Of course, there were business motives behind my position…but for me…I was there to help them succeed by any means necessary.  This wasn’t a traditional college…this was a school that was a means to an end and sometimes…the only option.

I loved my job…and when I say love, I mean it.  I was at work from the time the doors opened at 8 am to the time it closed at 10pm…even off the clock and on Saturdays.  It was the first time since the Army that I felt like I had a daily purpose and a calling.  My pay was crappy…and I had no life outside of that school.  I ate, drank, slept and dreamt those students grads.  Sometimes I didn’t leave for lunch so my students grads could come and eat with me.  There were times where I had to go buy new underwear or clothes because I had not had time to do laundry.  They were my life…more important than anything.  I did everything from plan events to keep them engaged, help them with budgets, put them in touch with local services, decorate, motivate, pump up, talk truth to and all around anything they needed.  Most of the time…they just needed someone to listen…and tell them the truth.  I didn’t sugar coat…and I think they appreciated it.

Lacee never said "I Can't"Alycia never said "I Can't"0222161103Alannia never said "I Can't" I couldn’t have prepared for what I learned from these students grads.  I worked with women primarily…mostly 1st generation college students grads in their 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve had things happen in my life…but I have always had support of my family.  A lot of theses students grads didn’t.  During my year with them, I offered assistance to people with issues such as abuse from family and spouses, drug addiction, pregnancies and abortions, homelessness, job loss, extreme illnesses, house fires, single mothers of 3+, felony convictions, last chances and more.  I laughed and cried.  I supported and didn’t take any bullshit.  I believe my success and the ability to help them hinged on the fact that I don’t judge and I never ever made them feel less of a person because of who they were or what had happened to them.  I also wouldn’t let them give up…for anything.

IMG_20130321_121912_422There are so many success stories that I could share and so many dreams that came to fruition on Saturday.  From the girl who was destined to turn tricks and lost everything she had including her home, to the pregnant teenager.  The guy who was in and out of jail with multiple felonies…to the girl kicked out of her home for loving someone of the same sex.  The single mother of 3 who’s family told her she wouldn’t amount to anything but trash and the badass that thought she knew everything and refused to follow the rules.  They all graduated…they all made it and they ALL thought they couldn’t.

861194_10151438623043812_1030353769_oWhat I took from Saturday is an overwhelming sense of determination and perseverance.  I learned without a shadow of a doubt that you CAN if you WILL!  Some of these students grads had everything against them…but they didn’t stop.  So, don’t you dare tell me you can’t…because you CAN! 

To my Graduates: I am more than proud…I am inspired.  It has been an honor to know you and see you grow.  I saw some of the most professional young men and women on Saturday…you’ve come a long way baby!  I hope that somehow I have touched your life…I will assume by the warm welcome you all showed me when I walked in that I did.  You are a very important part of my life and who I am.  Now, go into the world and continue to grow and prosper.  Look me up if you’re ever in Greenville…and ALWAYS remember this journey!  Don’t forget what Kyle Greene said…you’re a pawn and every single step in life brings you closer to being a QUEEN!  GET IT! (Ya’ll should check him out as a speaker…he’s pretty amazing!)

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Just a 30 something southern girl living life as a “Fat Girl”. Learning to love and laugh more than ever and share the adventures that is her crazy existence! Blogging about dating, weight loss and acceptance, funny stories, quirky family, Greenville, SC and some fashion. Come hang out!

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4 comments on Don’t You Dare Say: “I Can’t”

  1. Kyle Greene says:

    This was simply amazing! Sorry I’m so late to the party but you are truly phenomenal

  2. Megan Walker says:

    Courtney, this is so amazing. I so admire you for all the work you’ve done in these students’ lives! I also worked as an academic advisor for three years at a university. Most of students didn’t face the same challenges as yours, but some did overcome a lot to graduate!

    I always get teary on graduation day because I know how hard those students worked to achieve their dreams. I guarantee you your students will remember you always!

    • Courtney says:

      Thanks Megan. I swear, the more we get to know one another the more we have in common. You know what I am talking about then with students. They have really played a huge part in my life. I miss that job so much…but…it’s on to bigger and better things!!!

      BTW…I cry when I watch the Saved By The Bell high school graduation episode…I am a SUCKER for new beginnings!