Changed schools, majors, now a Morgan graduate
Written by: Osaretin Iyare with SGJC Student News Network
Cebrina Webb is preparing to graduate Friday from Morgan State University.
“Graduating now, knowing where I came from freshman year,” she said, “and being who I am right now is totally, if not a 360, a 180.”
Webb’s first attempt to finish school was stopped in its tracks; In 2014, she was enrolled as a biology major at Howard University. While in the program, her mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and took a turn for the worse.
“For the longest amount of time, I have only known my mama being really sick,” said Webb. College tuition was not something many families can handle, alongside equally expensive medical care.
Knowing the fragile family finances and out of love, Webb said she “made the decision to drop out of college.” That was in 2015.
Getting a degree is a necessity
However, Webb nursed the ambition to return to school. “Getting a degree is something that is a necessity, she said.” The Baltimore resident resumed studies Morgan State in 2017. Webb switched her major from biology to political science.
What changed about her interest and desires? Fatal shootings of Black males often by White authorities and their surrogates triggered a national debate over racial injustice, civil rights and gun violence. Multiple incidents left indelible prints on Webb’s heart.
She named 17-year-old Travyon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman on the grounds of self-defense, Sandra Bland’s death in Texas, Tamir Rice’s slaying in Ohio and the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York.
The political science major said the cases “made me focus on the way that the country is run and the nuances of how someone could be murdered in cold blood and their killer not get any sentence. That’s the thing that made me shift my mindset.”
Webb’s freshman year at Morgan got off to a rocky start:
“My family was going through a hard time, and eventually, we had lost our house.” This was a depressing situation for Webb, who lived out of hotels and found becoming a woman, dealing with family, housing, paying for, and adjusting to college life “super challenging.”
Her focus for her first year on campus was to pour herself into her studies to turn out good grades.
Despite the challenges, Webb did not have to work in college because her parents took on the financial burden: “My only job was to make sure that I brought in the grades.”
Attending college was very important to the family as all her siblings have degrees, and her parents “are very adamant about education,” said Webb. It took a lot of planning and sacrifice to pay tuition.
College is what you make of it
By Webb’s sophomore year, things had begun to look up for the family, and Webb could now come out of her shell. “I wanted to enjoy being a young adult, I wanted to enjoy being on Morgan’s campus, and getting what I could out of being a college student,” she said. Webb joined several student groups, including the Political Science Association.
The native of Washington D.C. credits opening herself to on-campus experiences as what has shaped her worldview today. At the start, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with a degree in politics and had seen herself finishing her studies, proceeding to law school, and then becoming an attorney. However, Webb’s time at the Martin D. Jenkins School of Behavioral and Social Sciences opened up more career paths and filled her with a desire to serve her community one day.
Webb, 25, is filled with optimism for the future, and her biggest motivation is her family. She is grateful for the tough times she has been through, referring to them as a blessing. The process, she says, taught her to believe in herself and trust her potential.
Webb’s immediate plan is to get into community work. Then, soon after earning a master’s degree in political communications, become a political commentator.
And farther down the line and, most importantly, return to teach at Morgan State University.
The writer is a graduate student in the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication