Joy in the Journey Part 6: Classic City

Take a Leap

In the previous post, I discussed the importance of not buying into the low expectations others place on you. When I was in high school, I did not do a good job of drowning out the negative voices in my life. It wasn’t until I was a Junior in highschool that I had learned how to overcome the bigotry of low expectations. Thankfully, I had the benefit of having positive voices in my life that provided an important counterbalance to the lies I was being fed. That said, there was one low expectation I just could not get over. That expectation was that I was not fit for college. By the time I graduated, I had no idea of where I would go, what I would do, or who I would one day become. In many ways, I questioned if I was enough. Could I really push the limit of what I thought was possible? I would only know if I took a leap.

Athens Bound

When I started my sophomore year of college, I had become someone I never thought I Would be. No longer did I buy the lies that said I wasn’t enough. No longer did I let others define for me what I could do. With the help of tutors, mentors, and excellent teachers, I stood ready to step into who I was made to be. Beginning in the middle of the year, I started looking at colleges where I could transfer and continue my education. I was mostly considering small schools. After looking at many schools, I found that none of the small schools interested me. So, I started considering larger universities. Ultimately, I chose to apply to the University of Georgia. A few months after applying, I got the official letter of acceptance. When I read the letter, I couldn’t help but think back to all the people in my life who said I would not be enough. This letter was physical evidence that these individuals were dead wrong. This was my vindication. My chance had finally come to show what I was made of.

Between the Hedges

On day one of classes my life between he hedges began. With the help of my academic advisor, I selected a major and began my journey between the hedges. At that time, I wanted to go into the field of child life. After considering a few majors, I ultimately decided to major in Human Development and Family Sciences. In the two remaining years I spent at the University of Georgia, I learned from incredible professors and truly found a new home within the college of Family and Consumer Sciences. In the process of completing my undergraduate education, I made a key decision. That is, I chose to no longer pursue Child Life as a profession. In my view, I wanted to focus on the challenges transplant patients experienced within and outside the clinical setting. After much research and reflection, I decided to apply to social work graduate programs. Shortly before graduation, I found out that I had been accepted to the Social Work program at the university of Georgia.

Next Stop…

On the day I graduated from the University of Georgia, I had mixed emotions. While I was excited to graduate, I couldn’t help but think about my transplant friends that never lived to have the chance to attend college. As the fireworks went off at Stegman Stadium, I looked into the night sky and had a powerful thought. I’m not done! I was about to go to my next stop. At this stop in my journey, I would face the unknown territory of graduate school.


Published by Wills Porter

Having been a transplant recipient of over 20 years, Wills is a living example of the life-transforming power of organ donation and transplant. While life after transplant has not always been easy, Wills believes that the challenges he has faced since his transplant have made him stronger and helped him take joy in his own transplant journey. As a KT author, podcast host and the director of research and development for Kidney Trails, Wills is focused on advancing the conversation around organ donation through innovative and extra organary ways.

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