Meet Vincent: Navigating the College Process
PeerForward alumni have followed many career paths and found much success. Here, Vincent Pendarvis II shares his journey.
When did you become a Peer Leader? What was your summer workshop experience like?
I became a Peer Leader during the summer of 2009 at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. While most of us didn’t know why we were chosen or what to expect, all the uncertainties surrounding this opportunity made me even more excited, believe it or not. I remember it being a busy summer, as I was involved with other summer programs. But being given the chance to meet and learn with students from different schools and backgrounds in those four days was unbelievable to me. I made so many friends that I didn’t want to separate from – it was as if I knew them my whole life. Our Rap Directors and Alumni Leaders told us to be ourselves and that was so key to the experience. I cherish that to this day.
How did PeerForward help you to prepare for college and influence your college experience?
PeerForward has and is still preparing me for college by helping me identify who I am as a person, how I should navigate the college process, and how I can work with others to reach my goals. PeerForward taught me the importance of knowing who you are – inside and out. Throughout the workshop, there were so many opportunities for Peer Leaders to have one-on-one conversations with Alumni Leaders and other coaches. I was so glad for those moments because our coaches were 100% real about everything and were willing to share their stories and help us realize that we’re not alone in our struggles. So when I arrived to college I already had an understanding and appreciation of what’s different and new to me.
What obstacles or challenges did you have to overcome in order to get to college?
Two obstacles that I overcame to get to college was believing in myself and being able to afford a higher education. At one point in my life, I didn’t believe I was worthy of going to college. PeerForward encouraged me to own my skills and accomplishments and taught me how to advocate for myself. It was because of this that I was able to attend college through local scholarships and grants.
How did you and your fellow Peer Leaders help create a college-going culture?
My Peer Leader team gladly accepted the challenge to spread our college knowledge. We became very involved with our guidance department and teachers to bring awareness of financial aid and the college application process to the entire school. Our biggest contribution was helping our senior class complete practice applications.
What campus activities are you currently involved in?
Throughout college I was involved in various campus activities, probably too many! But honestly, I loved being involved because I met so many interesting people, it just make the college experience even more exciting. Just to name a few, I was a Freshman Orientation Leader, member of the Mass Communications Society, representative of the Student Activity Board, Activity Board President for the Student Government Association, member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., served as the Vice President, Claflin Uni. Theater Ensemble, and was active in the NAACP.
What do you plan to do after college?
I graduated from Claflin University with a BA in Mass Communications in May 2014. After Claflin, I went to get my MFA in film from Howard University. However, after a change of heart I came back to South Carolina to pursue acting and directing. I’m looking forward to attending a post-graduate program in the spring semester focusing these subjects.
What advice do you have for high school students who are on the fence about going to college?
It’s your time to be GREAT. Don’t let anybody or anyone take it away from you. What you have to offer to this world is beyond powerful and the world deserves to see it. College will make your dreams become a reality. I like to think of college as the practice court before the big game. On the practice court you’re allowed to make mistakes, and when you make mistakes you’re able to get back up and learn which helps you play the game better. The “Real World” after college is considered the big game where all your supporters, and even your haters, come out to see what you got. It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made and I’m sure that it has opened tremendous opportunities for me as it will for you.