Shakeidra Sanders becomes first in her family to become eligible to receive a college degree

When Ferriday, La. native Shakeidra Sanders announced to her family and peers that she would pursue a college education, she got mixed opinions on her decision.

“When I told them I wanted to go to college, most of them were excited, but some were discouraging,” said Sanders, a psychology major. “Some of them were saying that I was wasting my time paying money to further my education. There were some people outside of my family who said that I wanted to get my education because I thought that I was better than everyone else.”

Despite the naysayers, Sanders will become the first person in her family to receive a college degree when she walks across the stage at Alcorn State University’s 2015 Commencement. Sanders said that she attended college to secure a successful career in the future.

“I wanted to further my education so that I can have a great career. I realized that I still had a lot to learn despite what I thought I knew already. Going to college helped me improve my skills.”

As her big moment approaches, she reflected on the lessons she has learned over the course of her college career. Sanders said that those lessons helped her to improve as a student and an individual.

“My college experience has enhanced my life in so many ways. It has provided me with the essential tools to enhance my skills more. Alcorn taught me valuable knowledge about this diverse world. The things I’ve learned at Alcorn will enable me to become more successful in life when I receive my degree. My experiences here are truly irreplaceable and I would not trade them for anything.”

Pleasing her parents has always been a priority for Sanders. Her mother, who has been battling diabetic neuropathy, a disorder that affects peripheral nerves including pain fibers, motor neurons and the autonomic nervous system, has provided her with motivation to persevere through tough times.

“She has motivated me so much. She has always been there for me through the laughs, breakdowns, my high points and my lowest. Some days, I really wanted to give up, but my mother was always right there to lift my spirits. Even though she has her battles, she never gave up and that motivated me to keep going.”

Sanders hope that her upcoming milestone will motivate her family to pursue a better life by attaining a college education.

“I want to encourage my family that it’s never too late to get your education. Hopefully my degree will inspire them to go back to school, get an education and have a career doing something they love.”