(Note: This is based on my opinion and personal experiences.)
Today, I wanted to discuss (write) a little bit about the importance of a support system in life. This support system could be your family, your academic advisor, your coach if you play a sport, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, friends, professors, God and even your peers.
During my undergraduate experience, I found my support system to be the cornerstone of my success. There were many times when I fell flat on my face and I knew I could count on them to pick me back up.
However, some of my peers do not have a support system. Many of my peers that I graduated with in high school, I gave them a hard time for not starting or finishing college. Many of them chose other pathways. Some decided that education was not for them and chose to enter the workforce. Some of them chose to start a family or go to the military rather than continue their education.
I later came to accept that everyone’s support system and home life is different. This really came to my attention during my summer internship. When I co-facilitated a workshop for first-generation college students, many of the students shared with us that their support systems believed that starting a family or going directly into the workforce with a high school diploma was more of a priority then going to college.
For some of them it was because of financial challenges and for others it was because of pressure from their support system.
This really puzzled me because although I have had financial challenges in my household, my support system has always supported me and my goals toward continuing my education. Even when I switched from a computing major to journalism and decided that I wanted to pursue a career in student affairs, (which has a significant pay cut), my support system still supported me.
Sometimes an individual may have goals and aspirations and there will be people in your support system that do not agree with you. I bet you’re wondering by now “Mike, that doesn’t make since, how can we rely on our support system if they don’t actually support us?” Sometimes, you have to change your support system based on what your goals are.
When I decided to go Greek, my family did not exactly support me. They felt that it was a waste of my time and money, but I found value in being a member of a Greek organization and I wanted to be part of one. Although my parents didn’t support me at first, the person that was part of my support system was my Resident Director who encouraged me to get involved.
When I decided to attend Arkansas Tech University, there were many people that didn’t think I could handle being at a four-year institution but with God as my support system and with the financial support of the Bass Family Charitable Foundation, I made it through. Although God and the people of the Bass Family Foundation weren’t physically there, I knew they were supporting me in anyway they could.
There are times when you may feel alone. When you might feel like there is nobody that supports you. However, remember that there is always somebody who cares, even if they are not physically there.
Thanks for reading.