Success must begin with vision, persistence

“If you can see it, you can achieve it.”

Two years ago, I watched a good friend of mine graduate. I made a promise to myself that day.

Looking up in the sky, I vowed that the next graduation I would go to would be my own. April 30 will mark the day I stayed true to my word.

I wanted this farewell to be funny, like a run-down of my most memorable moments. Then I wanted it to be inspiring.

Finally, I decided that my farewell would simply be – honest.

Two years ago, I was sure I would not be graduating. I was positive school was not for me and that I had already wasted too much time on something I was not sure I wanted.

Supposedly, school was going to make me better than the rest of the “deadbeats” in my neighborhood. Supposedly, it was going to make my mother proud. College was supposedly going keep me from taking the wrong path. College had been fun, but it had never been about me.

I was tired of chasing other people’s dream. I wanted to live for myself.

But something happened to me at that graduation. When I saw my friend reach for her degree, I saw me.

I decided it was time for me to take control of my life.

I changed my major to something I wanted. I decided if I was going to graduate, it would be because I wanted it for myself.

The past two years have been the hardest. The minute I decided I was going to stay in school, everything that could go wrong in my life did.

Deaths, family illnesses, financial problems, cars breaking down, evictions, losing my job, losing friends…and the list goes on.

But in all of this turmoil, I kept one thing with me.

“If you can see it, you can achieve it.”

I am not sure when I first heard this, but these words have stayed with me for a long time.

If I learned anything during college years, it is the power of faith.

I know in life there are going to be obstacles and, sometimes, those obstacles can feel as if they will never end, but they do.

I am overjoyed, not because I am graduating, but because I did not let anyone or anything hold me back, not even me.

College has been the best years of my life. It is a world of freedom and responsibility, friendships and heartache, achievements and losses. Just think, this is just the beginning.

Where I go from here, I do not know. I do not know and I do not care. I know that whatever I do, it will be my decision.

My advice to anyone, have a dream and follow it. Remember if you can see it, you can achieve it.

Congratulations class of 2005, we did it.

Tiffany Pitts is a graduating broadcast journalism student from Jacksonville. She can be reached at