Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finding Salvation in Trident Tech


Brandon Murray
Future Alumni Essay Contest - Runner-up

When you think of salvation, you think of a church. A place where you go to religiously and perpetually. Whatever the reason one thing is a usually a given, it is a place of faith and worship. In my roller coaster adventure of life, it is ironic how one place I wrote off as “just a tech school” has become so critical and invaluable to me. I sit in the law lab on the second floor of the library every day before class. Every couple of hours I look outside the large square window and at that moment I am injected with peace, desire, passion and complete happiness. It is in this vast room stacked with books that I have found my sanctuary of salvation.

To start my journey in college, I was enrolled at the University of South Carolina for three semesters. While studying computer information systems the plot that was my life took a major nose dive in August of 2014. My grandmother and guardian angel was diagnosed with stage 4 cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer is in my opinion hell on Earth. The difference is that there is no encompassing fire or a horned figure that owns your soul. Instead, it is the slow descent of someone you love die. My grandmother and I were extremely close. So much that woman I marry will be a version of her personality. However, the images of her crying as I said goodbye would never leave my memory. Her tear was white as a ghost, and her grip was like a skeleton. Losing her destroyed me, but it was only the start of what would be the worst year of my life.

To make matters worse, a month after my grandmother passed, I was involved in a six-car accident that left me with a concussion. I was blessed to be still alive, but my doctor informed me that school should be put on hold for me to recover. So I did just that. The following summer my parents were separated and needless to say they were not very mature about it. In June, my childhood dog and therapeutic relief dog passed to cancer at a very early age. Shortly after my parents were divorced and the chaos that followed further sunk me into a major depression. I was hospitalized three different times for mental illness and out of school until the start of 2016.

I came here in the fall of this year a refugee from the College of Charleston. Two weeks before the onset of class I learned I would not have enough financial aid to cover tuition. I immediately withdrew and transferred to Trident Tech. By the grace of God, I was able to get my financial aid in order and register for classes in time. It was in the paralegal program where I have blown away by the prestige of this school. For years I always contemplated the idea of law school but was unsure about it. The program here appealed to me because I saw it as an opportunity to be very involved with law and get an incredibly affordable education. Not only that but the program here is also ABA certified. My first meeting with my advisor ultimately sold me on the program.

Then there was the first week of classes, and it was a confirmation that law was for me. More importantly is the professors. All of them have been through law school and have practiced law, and they are not shy about telling you that law school is a possibility. I do not think I have known a higher education college or university that has a staff that genuinely wants every student to do well. Professors also focus on real-world scenarios and tools to succeed in your field of choice.

After already passing the first part of the semester I have seen enough to know that this is a place of building habits to achieve your dreams. This is evident through the little things done in the classroom to succeed, and the big things you do through organizations that are outside the classroom, and it goes beyond a high turnout for the blood drive. I am proud to say that I am part of Lex Artis, the paralegal student organization. This semester I am the chair for the community outreach service where we are going to donate whatever we can to a local shelter. However, my organization is not the only one. There are many others here at the college, and it speaks to me that there are so many opportunities to give back.

What may be the most significant factor is the economic value of Trident Tech. Many higher education institutions are ungodly expensive. While attending both the College of Charleston and the Univeristy of South Carolina I asked myself often is this education worth the price of tuition? If I am paying these professors so much why does it seem I am just another statistic to them? Will this expensive education guarantee me a job? At Trident Tech the education I receive is excellent, and in my program, I would be willing to argue that it is a little undervalued. As for the professors, I know each one of them cares a tremendous amount about the success of my classmates and me. Most importantly, I have never felt so confident in my ability to find employment after graduation. In a world where finding a job is tough for my age group with no previous work experience this confidence is as priceless as the Hope Diamond. It is with that belief where I found true salvation. Through this essay, I believe that anyone who reads it will find the same success. Trident Tech is more than just a higher education; it is a place where your belief and hard work pave the way for a future that will be nothing short of divine

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