Hello to all! My name is Darren Barnet and I am a junior International Studies and Visual Communications major here at Berry College. To start this off, I would like to tell you a bit about myself and illustrate my very unexpected journey to Berry College. I hope you are ready. Here we go!
If someone had told me three years ago that I would be attending college in a place called Mount Berry, Georgia, I probably would have run from them in fear of their impending lunacy. Okay, this may be an exaggeration but you get the point. I have lived in big cities my entire life and the thought of living in a smaller town always made me uneasy. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until the age of 13, moved to Orlando, Florida, and graduated from Dr. Phillips High School, and now my permanent residence is in the bustling city of Miami, Florida. So I guess you can say that I am not accustomed to polite drivers, free flowing traffic, or the incredible recipe of chicken and dumplings that I have been deprived of for so long. The thought of living in North Georgia never even crossed my mind until it came time for college, and even then I was not too keen on the idea.
Financially, my family has struggled for a very long time and worrying about money has almost become second nature to me. Panicking to find an affordable college was a task that I would never wish upon anyone. I had always planned to move back to California for college or go to a big school in Florida. However, financial constraints placed a formidable obstacle in my path and I was desperately trying to find the tools to overcome it. My best friend's father, Berry alum Bill Pence, offered to take me on a road trip to Berry to see if I liked it. I remember the first time I set foot on the Berry campus, I loved the feeling that overcame me when I was surrounded by the beautiful buildings and lively students that were all on a journey to attain their degrees, but I honestly could not see myself ever attending the school. The scenery was amazing and the people were incredible, but I didn't feel like the small school thing suited my personality. Interestingly enough, it was not until I visited other schools and saw what they had to offer that I truly realized how unique Berry was and how enthusiastic the school is about building a strong foundation for a successful future in the lives of its students. I was not just another identification number or possible tuition check, I was a prospective student and member of the Berry family. This explains why I was so excited about applying and taking a second road trip to this hidden treasure called Berry College.
At first I was very hesitant about applying to Berry, considering the cost of the school, but Bill Pence reassured me that, if I really showed a desire to go to Berry, the school would do everything possible to make it a reality. I applied for the Gate of Opportunity scholarship program, which is a work-study program that emphasizes working for your education. I remember it was after school and I was at the Pences' house when my mom called me in tears shouting, "You did it! You did it!" I was officially a recipient of the Gate of Opportunity program and a full-fledged student at a school that seemed completely out of my financial grasp. I did it!
Since then, I have accomplished so many things here at Berry. The scholarship program set me up with a wonderful job as a sports videographer, and I am now hosting, filming, writing, editing, and producing my own sports show, for the athletics department called, "The Viking Zone". I have worked as a Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration leader here at Berry and have appeared in the Berry Magazine as well as on a billboard in Atlanta, Georgia. I have experienced so much as a student of Berry College, and the lessons I have learned so far have opened my eyes in a way that I can not explain. Everything that seemed impossible three years ago has become a reality in my life, and I am excited to see what else comes my way during my next two years at Berry. Expect the unexpected.
To view "The Viking Zone", please visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/BerryCollegeSports