I am living

BY TYKIA MCCREE, Contributor

PLANTATION, Fla. — Born in the Sunshine City at Bayfront Hospital, there was a baby girl named Tykia McCree that would encounter life’s experiences while striving to find her true self.

From elementary school, I’ve always been very enterprising, demonstrating this attribute to my peers, family and teachers. I was known as the “exceptional” child. I was the one that constantly received honor roll, line leader at lunch because of my good behavior and the one in my family to become a pertinent person in this world.

Tykia McCree

Tykia McCree

I felt like my relatives always put me on some pedestal of being the perfect child. I was accountable for bringing my family to a better living. With that amount of pressure as a child, I made it my commission to not only fulfill my self-expectations, but also my family’s anticipations.

The mindset that I believed would remain forever suddenly altered after my father relocated our family to the metropolitan area of sunny South Florida. My mentality of being a tedious worker became the least of my problems. I was more fixated on seeking friends and having my life back to normal.

Without a choice, I had to adjust to a new environment. Approaching high school, my mother put me into the International Baccalaureate program. She was positive that I could succeed in the rigorous program because I had always excelled in everything involving school.

Unfortunately, my mother and I were not on the same page at the time. Through my freshman year, I was exposed to a totally different environment than what I was accustomed too. The diversity at my new high school, Plantation High, was not only a blessing, but also a curse because of the different personalities and identities dispersed throughout the school.

Regrettably, I experienced the unfavorable aspects of high school. I fell into peer pressure and began using drugs and alcohol. I began to crave that barbaric lifestyle. I no longer had the ambition to succeed, and my life seemed to have no meaning whatsoever. I began running on the lands of destruction until I met an individual that seemed to know more about me than myself. That individual was Christ.

He changed my atmosphere, my way of thinking and my perspective on life in general. I’ve become more self-aware since then. Although I’ve made mistakes previously, I’ve retained an understanding of making them, fixing them if possible and moving forward.

I now realize that doing the bare minimum will not help me achieve my maximum goals. I have gone beyond what I believed was possible for me. I began taking leadership positions in multiple clubs, such as Key Club International and College Summit Peer Leaders. I also developed an Entrepreneurship Club that essentially builds skill-sets for students towards their future careers in the business industry.

While viewing the success of that club, I realized that I had a love for community service. With that, I established One Mission Club, which gave students a way to meet and connect with individuals less fortunate than they are through community projects. I have also had the privilege to partake in Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship.

Taking on these responsibilities beginning with my junior year of high school helped to develop leadership skills. I have obtained lessons from the experiences, passed them on to others that are fixed on the perception of failure and created pathways for them to achieve.

My ultimate goal in life is not only to get a great education and land an exceptional job, but to disperse exactly what I’ve been given at this age. I’ve been given love, encouragement and drive.

Regardless of where my life takes me, I will no longer accept failure or the bare minimum, but instead strive for the absolute best. I am no longer suffering, but instead I am living.

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