In My Own Words is an Indy Reads series where students tell their stories using their own authentic voice and words. Sterling is a future motivational speaker with a soulful gravel not unlike the singer Lyfe Jennings, an inspired story, and a warm laugh you can’t ignore. He has all the hallmarks of a great orator. Sterling continues to inspire us and we invite you to read his story as follows.
My past is crazy.
My Grandma passed away when I was preteen. She was the rock of the family. My world closed down and around me. Lost my way. Wasn’t focused on education. Dropped out during Junior year. Job hopped. Was on crazy mess – half working, half runnin’ the streets. Eventually joined a gang.
My heart changed when I got shot 5 times, all on the left side. Lucky to be alive, not paralyzed.
Even though I went down the wrong road, I’m still trying. You can’t give up. Giving up is throwing your life away. Nobody will do it for you, you gotta get out there and get it.
It might be hard, but you gotta fight for it.
I’m a fighter. I can’t see me giving me up, even though sometimes [admittedly] I wanna quit, [but I remember] I’m doing it for my daughter also.
Without Indy Reads, it would be a hard fight. It’s worth it to go to Indy Reads, they make you feel like a person. Reading is fundamental, so is Math. Indy Reads will stick with, stick by you.
My Auntie always says fake it til you make it, but I got tired of faking it. People would [tempt me] say[ing] text this number, I can get you a GED made.
Sounds good, but I don’t want to fake it no more. Rather have my own knowledge. Do it the right way.
If I could give advice to my younger self, I’d say – stay your butt in school, stay away from them women, they will be there later.
Like Nike says – Just Do It!
It’s my dream to get my GED. I might be a late bloomer, but long as I made it, and am doing the darn thang.
I’m hanging in there, virus and all, hanging in there.
*Special thank you to Andrew Tanner, AmeriCorps WorkLiteracy Coach, for helping Indy Reads tell Sterling’s story!