Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty



Challenges and loss made me who I am today. Growing up I wasn’t raised in a privileged household and being raised by a single mother, I knew I had my own mission and legacy to be fulfilled. The odds were against me, but with discipline and hard work, I knew I was going to turn out fine. 

When I was a senior in high school, I didn’t know what my plan was. Everyone in my school that I knew had their own plan whether it was college, trade school or going straight into the workforce. My high school graduation was a moment of realizing I had lost all of my friends that I made at school and I had to adjust to a new life. I had no clue what life would be like since I had lost so many people closest to me in addition to growing up without a father. 

The one thing I didn’t do to overcome loss was lose myself. It just meant that there were plenty more opportunities for me to meet new people and create room for those who want what’s best for me. I applied to George Mason at the very last second but got an email back stating that I was put on the waiting list. From there, I didn’t know what would happen and if they were going to reach out to me again for reconsideration. 

I thought to myself, “What do I do now? What will my plan be?” 

I never panicked throughout my young adult life, I stayed calm and enjoyed the process, whether I was in a good or bad situation. Through email, I decided to reach out to Mason Admissions and persuaded the counselor to take another look at my application for reconsideration. 

Within the next few weeks, I received an email back from the admissions counselor stating “Congratulations you have been accepted to George Mason University.” I was thankful that I never doubted myself during the application process. 

One positive thing I took from this is to always bet on yourself and remain calm because everything will work out for you. If you are going through a tough time, keep going, there shouldn’t be any reason to stop. 

Being a student at Mason made me feel fulfilled and I thought everything would go in my favor in terms of picking the right classes, joining clubs, and meeting employers through networking events. This wasn’t exactly the case as I went through personal struggles in my first semester at Mason. 

It was a new experience for me since the classes I took in my first semester required tons of reading and homework. Time management and study habits were two things that I struggled with as I received my first midterm grades. I wasn’t proud of the route I was going towards in one of my classes, I wasn’t passing and I received a D on my midterm exam in a history class. I knew a change was needed and I had to find time in my schedule to study and retain the information. 

I often struggled with studying and would get distracted thinking about other tasks or not being able to focus on the material when I couldn’t easily retain it. I quickly made adjustments to my study habits where I learned more discipline. I found that once I was able to get the harder tasks done that were difficult for me like studying and staying focused, then I could tackle other things like using my time to network or finding internships. 

The best adjustments I made were waking up early, setting a time block to study, and taking breaks in between each study session. This is where I came across a positive message from TikTok influencer, Brad Kraut, who is best known for his academic weapon slogan for college students who are struggling with their academics. 

I took this mindset to heart and was able to make it on the dean’s list beginning my Sophomore year and maintaining those grades all the way up to my senior year. By discipline and betting on myself, I learned to navigate through my obstacles and losses. 

I now have my own podcast and I am now an intern at the Fairfax County Times. I intend to graduate on May 18th, 2023. I will also receive an award from Mason’s Department of Communication for academic excellence for having a grade point average of at least 3.75 and I plan to attend Arizona State University to pursue my master’s in sports journalism. 

Despite the losses, I indeed did not lose myself and kept going no matter what.