The Power of Perseverance

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The Power of Perseverance

Will Frei, Will Frei

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“Normalizing the abnormal is the beginning of the end for you” said speaker Rodney Walker while talking to Bucks students on Oct. 25 about his life and how he turned it around.

Walker, a young man who grew up in the violent neighborhoods of South Chicago and eventually turned his life from failure to getting into colleges like Yale and Harvard, told students about how he kept himself on the path to success. “I had a desire and a will to overcome” he says, talking about how he kept the violence and drugs from becoming normal to him and wishing to help not only himself but his family.

Growing up, Walker’s mother was a drug addict who had her first child at age 13. His father was not around for much of his life, and after the arrest of both his parents, Walker spent the next 12 years in and out of foster care. His life was clearly not normal, and he wanted to change that. At age 17, he ran away from his last foster home, becoming homeless for about six weeks.

He began to rethink his life, seeking answers for why his parents were not there for all those years. “All I wanted was the answers I never got,” he said to the audience when he remembered the time he began to change his life for the better.

Walker got himself a mentor, someone who he could count on to keep him responsible. His mentor was the dean of his high school, who was watching over detention students when Walker first met him. The dean, as Walker remembers, saw the potential in those students, eventually becoming Walker’s mentor.

This mentor let Walker know that his education was “not about surviving, it’s about thriving” and that if he wanted to succeed he would need a plan. So, Walker created a “vision board,” which he described as a board with pictures of something that need to be accomplished. After a few months, the board should be opened up and anything that was accomplished taken off, anything not accomplished stays, and new goals added.

Walker also stated that “every child is one caring adult away from success,” with his caring adult being his mentor. If it were not for his mentor, he would most likely not be currently attending Harvard University and would not be successful.

“Create high expectations” and embracing challenges is Walker’s advice when it comes to succeeding, especially with his vision boards and accomplishing the tasks he sets for himself.

Walker is currently attending Harvard University as a doctoral student and is an alumni of Yale University and Morehouse College.

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