I remember reading The Alchemist by Paolo Coello one summer. I was in León visiting my family. Normally, all my cousins would go off to work or had errands to attend to and I’d stay home. One day, I decided to visit the local bookstore and take a gander at the books. I found a copy of The Alchemist in English and picked it up. Beforehand, I had read plenty of celebrity testimonies about how the book changed their lives, and a few friends had mentioned the book to me as well. I took a chance and read it. I believe I finished it in less than a week. Out of the myriad of themes Coello displayed in his book, the one that resonated with me the most was the idea of ending a journey where it began. In The Alchemist, Santiago, the main character, embarks on a journey of self-discovery acquiring his dreams and aspirations. Santiago meets a multitude of characters along the way which all, in some way, shape his destiny.
It is exciting to embark on new journeys. The nervousness and the excitement fill us with energy. That is how I felt when I enrolled at my local community college at eighteen, commencing my academic journey. Walking through the halls seemed gigantic, enrolling in my classes was terrifying, and the pressure of failure was too heavy on my shoulders. I was scared. But I channeled my fear and sought help and guidance. I am a first-generation college graduate. My parents did not receive a college education, and being the eldest of three, I embarked alone. I enrolled in all the programs that were available to me. Anything that could help me better understand the college system and how I, as a student, should navigate my courses. After figuring things out, I transferred to a four-year university and graduated.
After fourteen years, I am back in that community college but now working for their Professional Development department. Walking through the campus has been an inspiring and proud moment for me, knowing the last time I walked those same halls and courts, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. Now, I stand tall walking through the campus proud of my self-achievement. Most importantly, I am ready to give back to the same community that helped me commence my pursuit of a college degree. To come full-circle is incredible. A cycle of completion, and it felt tremendous to accomplish it. I may not discover and master the science of alchemy like Santiago, but I enjoy the journey that life has taken me on, and appreciate being back in an academic setting and continuing learning.
By Derrek G
As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We appreciate your time and support.