UMES: where perseverance pays off

  • Friday, July 22, 2016

    Antoine Cobb, Class of 2007 

    Editor's note:This essay byAntoine Cobb, a 2007 graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, appears on the “First Generation” webpage of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.


     

    Alumnus Antoine Cobb with Dr. Bryant C. MitchellI am the only child of a high school graduate and a high school dropout. Both were substance abusers the majority of their adult life - in and out of prison throughout most of my childhood.

    I am also a product of one the nation's least-effective school systems and was erroneously placed in special education from grade two to grade 10.

    Living in a drug-infested, crime-ridden community, there were no adults to guide me. I had to create my own opportunities. These are daunting problems. I am proud I emerged from this cauldron as a stronger and highly motivated professional.

    Early on, I discovered a passion for technology. Computers allowed me to overcome many of my childhood difficulties. I was attracted to computers because they provided useful information otherwise inaccessible to someone like me with limited personal and educational resources. Technology helped level the playing field for me.

    I studied electrical / electronics engineering technology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 2007. I am proud to be the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college.

    UMES was where I first believed I could do anything I wanted if I persevered.

    One class - freshman math - changed my life. Studying hard but performing low on exams resulted in a mid-term grade of “F.” That propelled me to work harder to pass the class. Working with a math tutor, I spent three hours every day on homework assignments as well as additional questions.

    I earned a “B,” which gave me the confidence to believe anything I put my mind to and work hard at, I can achieve. After this experience, I never doubted myself and changed my way of thinking. I know I can come up with solutions and reasons why things can be done and goals can be accomplished.

    In the ensuing nine years, I have benefited from working in the private sector for employers who exposed me to federal government systems, reinforcing a confidence in myself nurtured by my college experience.

    My goal is to create large-scale positive change through technology and business practices. So, I am going back to school. I will pursue a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

    Ideally, I want to do what I can to keep the United States competitive and reclaim manufacturing jobs migrating to other countries.