By Kristine Johnson
My name is Kristine Johnson and I am a committed College Prep Specialist with the Free Library of Philadelphia. The best thing about this program is the youth! We are continually impressed by everything that they do: their enthusiasm and ambition, their intelligence and maturity, and overwhelmingly by their confidence and belief in their futures. That sort of brazen faith is less common in adults; it endears them to you in a way that allows our program to be effective. Our job as specialists is to inspire and we enjoy it greatly. My goal is to inform students about the opportunities available to them and to develop and encourage their desire for accomplishment in all aspects of their lives—with academic success and their ability to succeed as that catalyst. I am looking forward to a successful 2016 program!!
A little about me: I spent my undergraduate years at Howard University in Washington, D.C. For all readers who don’t know that’s the real HU—you know!! The summer leading up to my college departure was unbelievably exciting, you can’t even imaginnnnnnnnne. My thoughts were a jumble of anticipation! The only home I had ever known would soon be replaced: parents, sister, family cat—adios, vamanos—I’d be on my own. That change means a lot of different things to people, but to me it meant freedom and testing my legs in a bigger pond. Ultimately though, you can kiss your expectations goodbye entirely, because college is nothing like what they show you in movies, it's nothing like the resource pamphlets your guidance counselors give you, or the fond remembrances your random family and friends share. College in a nut shell is about finding a voicey—our voice—and learning to listen to it no matter how loud the noise, as that noise can get deafening!
College is a sharpening stone—a litmus test for your endurance and desire to persevere. No one may witness the moments you’re tested, the moment you have your first love or make your first real friend. No one may hold your hand through your first heartbreak, but you’ll be witness to all of it—the moments you triumph over your fears and become someone much larger than you knew yourself to be. There will come a point when who you are is no longer who you were, and you’ll surprise even yourself.
College is the beginning of a new adventure in your life. I urge you to keep your eyes open and always be willing to try the “new”, but hold steadfastly to yourself and your convictions—you’ll need them the most.