How I Survived

Want to talk about someone who was scared to apply to grad school? As I slowly raise my hand, I am willing to admit I was petrified about the application process.  See, I attended UNC Chapel Hill for my undergraduate studies and it wasn’t necessarily the easiest time in my life. I wasn’t prepared for the rigor and at times felt like a failure because I was used to being successful in my studies.  So here I was applying to the School of Social Work at my alma mater and thinking the entire time, “Why I am even applying here?” But I will say I had support surrounding me giving me tough love but also encouraging me at the same time. After months of waiting, I found out I was admitted to the school of social work. I couldn’t contain my excitement, so I just called and text everyone who would answer the phone.

My next thoughts were, “I made it! Now what? How am I going to survive my first semester and not have a repeat of freshman year? And I’ve taken two years off from school, am I ready?” My goal was to be successful in the program and to navigate graduate school better than I did in undergrad. They had already told us the first semester was the most rigorous so, I connected with professors who were teaching our classes as well as other professors who were in the building. Not only did I connect with my professors but, I came to the School of Social Work with Monique, whom I met had seven years prior when we were both in summer bridge. We then became college advisers with the Carolina College Advising Corps and spent two years advising high school students and helping them navigate their journey to college. So we used each other to survive; we found tips and tricks that helped us with all of the readings we had to do (there were a lot). Then Alexandra joined us and with a third resource, we were able to process our thoughts with each other and ask each other questions for clarification.  We spent at least one night a week, many times two nights, having paper writing sessions, motivating each other when one of us started tiring out.  We were not only classmates, but we became friends.  We now have a standing date Thursday nights where we watch one of our favorite shows, Scandal, and enjoy a snack potluck.  So now I sing the chorus of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor”  (even though it is an old song) because I am just that, a survivor of the first semester of graduate school. If I can survive, you can too!

1st semester

1st semester….


Now we are all smiles!


About Kayla Humphrey

Hey y'all! My name is Kayla Humphrey and I am a second-year student in the full-time program at the UNC School of Social Work. I'm originally from Richlands, NC, a rural NC town near the east coast. I am interested in assisting military families or assisting underserved youth and college access. My self-care includes crocheting, watching movies, and going to the beach when it's warm!
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