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Statesmen Scholars

Statesman Scholar Jessica Smith

I will always remember the day I was accepted into the Promise Scholars program at Richard Bland College of William & Mary. Anxiety was building as the decision day got closer. When the notification came, I frantically opened the email and couldn’t believe it. I was accepted into the most prestigious program RBC offers, one that would lead to acceptance into William & Mary with little cost for me. As I sat there dazed, I couldn’t help but look back on my academic journey and how far I had come.

I did not start out as the successful student I am today. I graduated high school in 2009, unsure of where to go and who I wanted to be. I made an irrational decision to attend a four-year university like my classmates and hoped I’d made the right decision. Unfortunately, my first college experience did not go as smoothly as I would have hoped. It was only when I dropped out that I realized it was a mistake to attend college half-heartedly. I took time off from school and began working in restaurants for the next six years. After all those years of hard work, I decided to recollect myself and return to school.

Thankfully, I did not have to search very hard. My brother, who is a big influence in my life, attended Richard Bland and was successful. I knew RBC would be the perfect place to get back on my feet. When I arrived at RBC, I not only brought myself to campus physically but with all my life experiences. Dropping out of college made me more appreciative of my education. Working for the past six years taught me patience, time management, and social skills that are essential to my success as a Promise Scholars student. But aside from what I brought, RBC provided me plenty as well.

I cannot stress enough how supportive the staff and faculty are at RBC. Students receive oneon-one attention, which is a bit tougher to receive at four-year colleges. Furthermore, everyone is spirited and eager to help. In fact, one of my most impactful professors at RBC is Dr. Eric Miller. With his hands-on approach, I enjoy learning inside and outside of the classroom. I was always interested in teaching kids and Dr. Miller further amplified my passion to teach, especially in environmental studies.

Because of RBC, I was able to realize my passions and pursue them. I am forever thankful that RBC accepted my application and helped me gain confidence again. With the Promise Scholars program, I will receive a top education at William & Mary without worrying about the cost of tuition or housing. Overall, I do not see my previous college experience as a failure. I see it as a valuable learning experience that taught me to be mature and dedicated. With this second chance, I am more prepared and ready to face the challenges in life.

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