WU Sophomore Year

I enjoyed my first year of college and away from home so much I couldn’t wait to get back to Rock Hill for my sophomore year. It was one of the first times in my life that I felt accepted and fully comfortable in an environment and atmosphere.

That being said, I still needed to find my people, or even my person.

I had made some good friends my first year, and many more my sophomore year. I was getting involved more on campus, getting into leadership positions, going to conferences and appreciating the campus more. I was going home less on weekends also so that helped.

Many students at WU had various ways and reasons to make friends and getting involved. It ranged from where they sat in the cafeteria (The Cafe) or who they hung with on Thursday nights. Either way, you had to find your own path. I believe I was slowly finding mine.

That path for me was mostly Residence Life. I was involved in most every aspect you could be during my WU years: Hall Council, Resident Student’s Association, and then I was named to be a Resident Assistant for my junior year. This would be an important position with lots of responsibility that would shape and mold me.

#imjustdrew

WU Freshman Year

OK now the wait was over! It was August 17, 1996, and I was beginning my new life in Rock Hill, SC on the campus of Winthrop University. It was truly a different world, and more diverse, thus easier for me to make friends from all walks of life.

I didn’t have a roommate that year has mine moved out within a week. I had to get adjusted to a new schedule, environment, city, culture and schedule, whew! I went home a lot more at first and I missed my family and hometown so much.

However, the more involved I got, the better it was. I met so many people that year, and really ended up liking it. Many make fun of my country accent (which I didn’t realize was so thick prior), but I was still social. I made some good friends and connections, and followed some paths that would pay off later.

By the time the end of the Spring 1997 semester came, I didn’t want to go home. I then wanted to make a plan to stay on campus or in town as much as possible,…

#imjustdrew

A Little Intermission For Shoutouts

I figured I would take some time out before I began telling you all about my life post Blacksburg High School to shoutout the folks that I have grown close to over the years, and have been friends with me. This list is much longer than I ever imagined, and some on this list are no longer with us.

Bill Moore:

He’s my longest friend of 33 years, my dude, brother from another mother. We were friends all throughout school, and took different paths in life. However, we have always picked back up where we left off.

Shaylan Morrison:

He was my second friend and we have been friends for over 30 also. We weren’t as close as we grew older and both moved out of Blacksburg. But he and I have grown closer again, and I like how I never have to doubt where I stand with him.

Rob Lecroy:

Lecroy and I have had our ups and downs throughout the years but we have stayed in touch. We have unique bonds as our moms both have the same birthdays as each other, and his youngest son’s middle name is “Andrew”. We get up a couple of times/year and “medicinal purposes” (insider) are often involved. 

Darrius Hoey:

Darrius became a guy I looked up to as he was cool, suave and charistimic. Most know him for his athletic prowess and talents such as tumbling, dancing and singing. But his loyalty has been second to none. He has always been there for me just at that right time.

Jarvis Jefferies:

We met in Upward Bound in high school. He was a star football player for Gaffney High, and always made everyone feel good around him. He knew how to treat others despite his joking, reckless nature. It’s been almost 14 years since he and I spoke on the phone. We had planned to get up. About two months later, he was murdered in Shelby, NC. I still miss him terribly.

Tim Brown:

Tim was another I met in high school. He moved and then returned to Blacksburg. He was a big listening ear for me when I was going through my growing pains and heartbreaks. We once again went our separate ways but then reunited via social media. I then saw him for the final time on New Year’s Eve 2012. He passed away about a month later. Such a special guy and my muse.

Marcus Austin: 

I was as close to Mark as I am anyone. That dude was one of the best people I have known. He didn’t let his disability limit him, and he was always helping and encouraging folks. To this day, when I feel down or that I don’t measure up, I think of Marcus. That guy was simply awesome, and I’m grateful I had the time I did with him.

Nino Walker:

One of my first friends at WU, we stayed close for years until he left school. We then reconnected a few years back and I got to see him recently at Homecoming. He is still one of the most intelligent guys I know, and I’m glad he lives closeby again.

Chris Farmer:

Former next door neighbor, coworker, and one of the funniest guys I know. I could pick up the phone now and call him and he would have me laughing within minutes. He has one of those personalities that just makes you feel at ease. He may be 3,000 miles away, but we have made the effort to stay in touch.

Andrew Dean:

We both had the same major in college, and were even roommates after school. He’s as intelligent and loyal as they come. We bonded over family, sports, and careers. He lives outside of Seattle with his 10 year old daughter, being a single dad like his father before him. He’s been a good friend to me throughout the years and very helpful.

Rashad Newson:

Another brother from another mother and someone I have had great times with. He’s also been my coach during my brief competitive eating career, and I was a groomsman in his wedding. We both have crazy schedules, but we still get together a couple times/year.

Mario Washington:

This guy has slowly become one of the closest guys to me. He really loves who is around and doesn’t trust many folks. He has taught me a lot of things and encourages all to speak their mind. He is a good listening ear and very protective of those he loves.

Troy Gardner:

He and I haven’t hung out as much but we are in the same circle and talk more as we get older (it seems I do more of the talking since he’s so quiet). But he’s a good guy despite our differing sports allegiances and has awesome taste in music. He’s one of those you know automatically that you all are cool.

Bubba Wilson:

Bubba and I have known each other throughout school, and our mothers were even cool. However, we didn’t get really close until high school was almost over. Now as we have grown older, we both speak our minds more and he is 100% honest on any matter. I’m blessed to know this guy. 

Thomas Sansing:

Thomas and his entire family have pretty much taken me in as one of their own. I played football with Thomas, and we became cool again when I moved back to Blacksburg. He has always made me feel welcome, especially when he ran his own collectible shop and helped run the family restaurant. He’s married with three daughters now and has a hectic work schedule. However, I see him at family functions and birthday parties that his family throws, and all is cool. I’ve been blessed to know them.

I will do another piece later on highlighting more friends. I really don’t wanna leave out anyone, as all have made me a better man, and helped out in my journey.

#imjustdrew

Senior Year Part 2

It was almost over!!! More social, better grades, some more respect, but still less popular.

I was just reminded today how bad cliques can be and how I was left out of a lot of fun activities mostly due to pettiness and shear jealously. The bullying was behind me. Now the behavior I experienced was mostly like that from the movie “Mean Girls”.

It was no nevermind. Things were already looking up. I finally got my driver’s license, and had decided I was going to Winthrop University in the Fall of 1996, all was paid for. My grades were excellent, and my test scores were good. I simply had to sit back and roll with the punches.  I knew I wasn’t one of those kids who was getting a brand new car for graduation or going to the beach Senior Week. It was cool because I finally felt confident in myself.

Prom was awesome. I ended up taking a good lady friend and we had a blast. Dinner, a couple of dances, and then home by 11. Short and simple.

Then graduation day came. Many were sad. I was happy high school was over and I was moving on to a different world.

Goodbye Blacksburg, hello Rock Hill!

#imjustdrew