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Sharonda Smith Never Settles. Never.

Jul 21, 2021

Growing up without much money, a high school diploma wasn't the easiest goal to achieve. 
So Sharonda Smith dropped out.

But with patience and hard work, Sharonda finished her high school degree and is now tackling college.

So it is appropriate that her mantra in life is to "never settle for less." If you do, she warns: “You will stay there.”

Ever since she witnessed family struggles, she learned firsthand what it feels like to settle for circumstances in life that may not fulfill a person's greatest potential.

Sharonda has been a waitress for over 25 years and is currently employed at Red Lobster. She loves her job and is well-liked by her customers.

She always wanted to go to college. But as Sharonda got older, the work was hard on her body: Standing on your feet for hours at a time was getting hard, and she knew she couldn't do it much longer.

Time off during the pandemic when the restaurant was closed gave her time to meditate on her goals and dreams of working in a professional career with daytime hours.

She knew there were many challenges ahead for her to reach the goal of going to college- but she was ready for the challenge and the change.

To start, Sharonda first had to complete her high school credits and earn a diploma. Then, in April 2020, she began her accelerated GED program, and she earned her high school diploma on May 27, 2020.

She said with a brave and determined voice, "I may not be able to do this, but I will never give up."

During my growing up years, I had many reasons why school was not my focus, Sharonda said.

She said she never had anyone in her life who had made education a priority, no role models. As a result, all she knew in her heart was that she would reach her goal one day.

Sharonda had a baby while in high school and lost several family members through tragic deaths. This made it her life's duty to provide for her baby.

Her answer to the brighter future she dreamed of was Texarkana College. And she said it has always been in her heart.

She said she was in urgent need of speaking with an academic advisor at TC, and she found Kristen Payton.

The advisor helped her use an online database to find out what colleges offered her desired field of study.

Payton said Sharonda’s determination to succeed was evident from the first time they met.

Even though she needed a mentor to guide her, Sharonda was eager to start at her new school.

She was so grateful to find out that she would have the support of her teachers at TC every step of the way.

Students at TC are allowed to learn their subject from different perspectives using various teaching strategies in a class called Learning Frameworks.

At TC, students form a close-knit community of peers to support them. In addition, faculty supports students in every aspect of their college experience.

Sharonda, barely able to contain her excitement and delight, said the resources available at TC to help her succeed are incomparable, and she wishes she had started sooner.

Sharonda has a huge goal, and her dreams are in alignment with the plan. No doubt success will soon follow.

Editor's note: Sharonda Smith will never settle, and you shouldn't either. The Texarkana News encourages anyone wanting more information about beginning or finishing a degree to visit Texarkana College.

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