I believe in the underdog, the Cinderella story and the little train that could. I can relate to anybody who does not have the odds stacked in his favor. I applaud all my mentors and the impact they have had on my life.
I was taken out of mainstream education for 4th and 5th grades because of a learning disability. I was put in a school for mentally retarded and problem students. However, my parents mentored and advocated for me and forced the public school to put me back in mainstream education.
Once back in public education, I was in all remedial classes through high school. While succeeding at college seemed like a long shot, I gave it try. After one year, I transferred with only eight credits to show for my first year in college.
When I transferred to SUNY at Brockport, I told myself I was not going to be in college for more than a total of four years. While that meant I would have to push myself hard I learned that I could accomplish things if I set goals. I was done in four years and had a 3.0 GPA.
While I was glad to be done with college, and was sure I would never go back, I found out that to get the job I wanted, I would need to get a masters degree. I believed in the dream, so if I needed to go back to school than I would. It took me two years but I got my master from The Ohio State University. Now, believing I was done with my education, it was off to the work world.
Although this was a great experience, I found myself not satisfied with my career. After much soul searching, I figured out I needed more education if I was going to get my dream job. So this time I went to Temple University for a Doctor of Education. It took me, three and haft years, but I made it.
My mentors impacted my life on every level by sharing their gift of knowledge. I have tried to use that same enthusiasm and passion. While school was always challenging for me, I had mentors who would not quit on me because they believed I could do it. I wanted to show them they were right in investing time in me and did not want to let them down.
I believe I can overcome most of my shortcomings with the support of mentors. The lesson I learned is that it helps to have somebody who believes in you. Even if you don’t, we all need a fan-someone, who can look past the fact that you might not be the fastest, smartest, tallest, or best looking in the crowd and that things don’t always come easy to you.
Show me an underdog with a mentor and I will bet on him every time. Mined helped me become an Associate Professor of Sport Management at the University of Dayton.
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