I always dreamed of going to college but it was not in my reality at one point. It was all about girls, stealing, selling drugs, partying and as my wonderful mother stated: ‘You’re not college material at all’. Rightfully so. Up to that point I managed to screw up virtually everything I touched. Right before prison, my entire existence revolved around drugs. Drugs gave me the power to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it as often as I desired. Well, that was my mantra as a drug dealer at the time. Thinking about it, I worked long hours, struggled to have a better product while working up the food chain.
In college I started off with a simple trade in automotives. From there my desire for more increased much like my desire for more illegal income. Entering academics, it was much more demanding. Being such a horrible student years prior, I found I still had bad study habits. I would read a page and fall soundly asleep. It seemed to take me days to complete a chapter. Consuming the information was also a task. A tremendous task. So I resorted to cheating. Yeah, my earliest college days were horrible. A failure, doing loser shit.
Translating my education to my interactions
Along the way, something snapped in me. I finally wanted better for myself. I truly wanted an education sure, it was a struggle but I got it.What I discovered was the trouble of translating my education to my everyday interactions. You see, I still operated like a street dealing thug until someone brought it to my attention. I remember those words: ‘You don’t act like you got a college degree’. It resonated with me. This challenge continues and continued even after earning the second degree.
There were rock and solid examples in my past. Ross was a guy that managed to leave death row alive. From that point he earned his master’s degree. The guy walked, talked and personified a well educated African American man. In all interactions he carried himself with class. I envied that. I wanted that, I needed that.
Over time it dawned on me that I needed to grow up. My maturity level was so low, I allowed others to influence all my behavior. Thus, my education did not have enough oxygen to breath into my everyday character. That’s a struggle that continues into my 50’s. I love to smile, I enjoy crude jokes at my own expense. So again, it’s all about maturity. I thank God that I have an education.
Derrick L. Griffin, 20-4-2021