Hi! I’m Tierney, a proud 2022 graduate of Alabama A&M University where I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology.
As a child, I always wondered what my future would hold–especially considering my circumstances. Growing up in the rough, drug-infested, gang-affiliated city of Memphis, I, too, believed in the Memphis Curse…that it is very rare to make it out of the city unscathed. For most people, there is basically one income option: get a job or sell drugs. It is even more common to be pulled into a life of drug addiction or gang violence. And many girls begin their families in high school. Our low-income community had limited resources which yielded narrow opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, my family has been affected by all the above. So, all things considered, college simply did not seem attainable for me at all.
However, while my family became complacent and accepted this way of life, I refused. I knew that I wanted more out of life and that I had many meaningful contributions to make in this world. With focused intention, I stepped forth on my own path and did everything within my power to redirect my trajectory and break the Memphis Curse on my life. Academics became my first priority, and I am proud to say that I completed high school with a 3.94 GPA and over $3.4 million dollars in college scholarships! My parents were so proud, and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful to God. These accomplishments were so fulfilling and reassuring to me because with every college application that I submitted, I secretly had a little seed of doubt making me question if I would be good enough for any of those institutions...when, in actuality, I was worthy of them all!
When my life as an Alabama A&M University Bulldog began, I was so excited and immediately became involved in campus life. I loved everything about A&M: the beautiful scenery, warm environment, and eager peers. Over my matriculation, I became a member of the Alabama Student Rural Health Association, the Student Business Industry Cluster, the Honors Program, the University Echoes Student Ambassadors,
Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (where I served as President), and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I accomplished all these things while maintaining a 3.6 GPA and working.
My education and experiences at Alabama A&M exceeded all expectations and I know that it is worth every cent it costs. Yet, finances were a recurring stressor for me my entire college career—especially during the pandemic. As a low-income, first-generation college student, I didn’t have a solid understanding of what college expenses would be and I didn’t have the resources needed. Despite the merit scholarships I was awarded, I always maintained a financial aid deficit that I would offset with a work study job. However, the pandemic eliminated that income opportunity.
I was devastated when we were forced to return home and proceed with virtual learning—not only because my college career was interrupted, but mostly because I had no other way of paying for my education. This was the lowest moment of my college career. The thought of not being able to complete my degree was too much to bear. I didn’t want to let myself or my family down. We all were deeply invested by that point and even my niece and nephew were looking forward to my graduation.
After many nights of crying and praying, I learned about and applied for a scholarship with the university’s foundation. Within weeks, I was awarded and my balance was paid! I felt like I could breathe again and I dropped to my knees and cried tears of joy and gratitude. Someone could see that I was worth it! You saw that I was worth it! My niece and nephew were able to see their Tete walk across the stage and my parents can now say they raised a college graduate.
Thank you for making me the first college graduate in my family. Thank you for helping me to break a generational curse. Thank you for seeing me as worthy. Thank you for your extreme generosity because it gave me permission to keep dreaming.
As I pursue my next goal of becoming a travel nurse, I will always be grateful for YOU, the CFC donors, and you will always be with me in my heart. Thank you and may God bless you!