Very few people in my family have a college degree, so that was my big goal: to get to college. I knew that Kent would help me do that, but in the beginning, I was so homesick and so overwhelmed. I was failing. So everybody—my coach, my roommate and my teachers helped me. By the end of my first semester, I'd gone from a 1.0 to a 5.0 and was on the honor roll. By the end of my last semester, I’d been recruited by Columbia University .
My soccer coach at Kent is one of the best coaches I've ever had. Obviously he helped me with my soccer skills but it wasn't just that. He always told me that my work on the field is important but my work in the classroom is more important. That really stuck with me. I think he's like a big brother, watching over and guiding me in the right direction. He's so busy but he always finds time for me and the other players. That's the way all the teachers and faculty are at Kent.
And what helps you at Kent isn’t just the people, it's things like going to chapel. OK, it was very different than in Jamaica. At home, our songs are really upbeat and lively, with lots of instruments; they make you want to dance. But here at Kent, it's quieter; you have to listen more. So I did. The chaplain was my literature teacher. His sermons made you think deeply about life. But I also paid attention to his style and the way he put his messages together. They made me a better person but they also made me a better writer.
Kent has prepared me well—academically, physically, and spiritually. You know, one of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice. It's about men born with good luck and how they rule society. It's not that I feel similar to those characters—that was a totally different time and place—but there is some truth to it. If you use what fortune brings you, it will empower you and make everything better.