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Forever Bleeding Blue and Gray.

DeKitra Durant

DeKitra Durant

When I was in high school, the thought of college didn't really seem as important as getting a job. Plus, I was convinced that upon graduation, my best option was to start fresh and move away from the city that taught me all I knew—Memphis. Little did I know, I'd meet a First Scholars coordinator who would serve as a bridge between my high school and the UofM and cause me to change my perspective of college. Thus, I not only stayed in my hometown but also received a First Scholars scholarship that would allow me to enroll as a Tiger at the University of Memphis (UofM).

Being a first-generation college student was initially, one of the toughest challenges I've ever faced, mainly because my family had no college experience. Although they supported me as best they could, they weren't able to offer much help or show me how to navigate through the college curriculum. So, I was left to figure out a lot on my own. Luckily, I managed to gain some friends who offered me advice when needed. I also met people who cared about my success and later became my mentors.

Additionally, I chose to get involved on campus which turned out to be the best decision I could've ever made. I was not only able to express myself but also hold leadership positions and meet a lot of amazing students and faculty members through organizations like: the Black Student Association, Black Scholars Unlimited, Tiger Elite, Habitat for Humanity, First Scholars, Tigers First, TRiO Student Success Program, Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and the UofM Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Being involved allowed me to connect with other students who shared the same struggles as I did. Moreover, I've grown to fall in love with my university and understand what it truly means to be a Memphis Tiger. I will forever bleed blue and gray because there's just no other way.