At this time last year, Jayla was nervous. A resident of Epworth, she had just completed her first year at Midlands Technical College while living on Epworth’s campus. She was trying to figure out her next step in life.
She wanted to “move” away to get a bachelor’s degree, but she struggled in her first year at Midlands Tech. She wanted independence, to live in a dormitory, and to live “an adventure” but even with the support system of Epworth around her, she was struggling to keep up with her studies.
As the summer moved on, she decided to go for it despite the concern of her Epworth staff. She intentionally picked a college far away from Epworth’s campus. She would live her adventure, but Jayla’s decision meant that she would not have the support of Epworth’s campus on a daily or even weekly basis.
By the end of the first semester it was evident that Jayla was continuing to struggle. Over Christmas break she returned home to Epworth, and was advised that without improvement she was going to be failing out of college and unable to remain in the Epworth program. This was a hard reality for her to hear.
Her second semester saw significant improvement. She earned almost all A’s and B’s. When she returned to Epworth this summer, she was clearly different. Her posture straightened, her appearance was well-kept and polished, and her confidence blossomed. She found and was maintaining a summer job.
Rev. John Holler, Epworth’s president, stopped her in the dining hall after she came home from work to congratulate her on her turnaround. He asked her, “Jayla, you are doing so much better, what changed?”
She smiled and replied, “Everybody’s has to grow up sometime. It was my time.”