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#tolerancemeans perseverance

Updated: Apr 8

RKeavius Barnes, Graduate, Benedict College

Tolerance is a word that is broadly defined. But it is truly through lived experiences from individuals that provides perspective. As a student-athlete, I have had to navigate what tolerance means. I have learned to understand that my tolerance does not necessarily equal that of others. I have a high tolerance of pain, that has evolved over the years. I have been injured and torn my meniscus, (more than once). Walking from the field after a two-hour practice, straight to my class at eight in the morning, and walking up three flights of stairs seemed normal. But until Professors or peers ask me how I was able to persevere – I felt it was normal. Attending Historically Black Colleges thus far, I have learned a lot of tolerance. Tolerance can bleed into perseverance. Our institutions are sometimes viewed as having less resources, less-qualified students, and definitely not a top landing spot for students. But after experiencing the HBCU life for my undergraduate experience, I yearned for it at the graduate level. I am proud to see people who look like me trying their best to change their circumstances. I am proud to see people who look like me break generational curses. I am proud to see people who look like me take a chance on themselves. It is not easy. After all, in a society that idolizes everything about culture except the people – I understand why students want to give up.

RKeavius Barnes, Graduate, Benedict College RKeavius Barnes, Graduate, Benedict College

I am often asked by peers how I balance playing football and keeping a solid GPA. The reality is I do not have a choice. Some perceived me to be a hothead, but in reality – I do not want to be misunderstood. Pursuing my graduate degree helps me learn to communicate and organize my thoughts and feelings with the world. I am used to being sleep – deprived, but my scholarship depends on my football skills. That does not mean that I cannot sharpen my toolkit in the meantime. I like meeting new people. I like experiencing new things. I love professors from various cultures who share why they CHOSE to teach at a HBCU. One of my favorite professors was a Ghanaian professor, who would always leave us with a proverb before we exited class. He was hard on us, and never lowered his expectation. But he explained how he came to the United States with $25, and a brown paper bag with one change of clothes. He earned his Doctorate, and feels he owes the United States such gratitude for changing his life. He could teach anywhere in the world, but he chose to teach us. My hope is fight for my dream as he did. It is not easy, but I know it will be worth it. I have a lot to prove this season, as a transfer, and recovering from what some consider to be an insurmountable injury. But I will persevere. I will not let my Mother down, let alone myself. There are so many who tolerated discomfort in order to survive. I cannot tolerate failure; and it is a must that I thrive. It is in my DNA to win.


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