We’re proud to announce our 2016 Law Enforcement Family Member Scholarship Recipient: Tasanee Durrett. Below is her essay, titled “A Mother Knows.” It’s a poignent piece about growing up with a mother serving in the Chicago Police Department:
A Mother Knows
Growing up, my mother always told me “everything happens for a reason”. With everything I partake in and do in my life, I remember what my mother tells me. My mother has been an active law enforcement officer on the streets of Chicago for over 12 years and has been a very strong and impactful person in my life. She is an individual of strength and independence, and she continues to empower me in what I do every day. Whether out on the streets in her uniform or walking the streets as a normal pedestrian, she carries herself with confidence. I can recall watching how she walked and how she carried herself when I was a child, and wondered why she never felt downtrodden or defeated. I never expected to always see her in such a way; it was for some reason that I couldn’t imagine always being so confident in myself. During elementary school, I was lead clarinet in the marching band and jazz band. Whenever we participated in competitions and didn’t place, I couldn’t help but to feel defeated for days at a time, and that’s when my mother started telling me that everything happens for a reason, and that God had something else in store for me.
For years, she would say these same exact words to me and for years I couldn’t grasp on to what she meant. I would ask myself, “well if everything happens for a reason, when do you find out that reason, and how do you know what that reason becomes?”. It didn’t start making sense to me until a very pivotal moment of my life while I was in high school. During my senior year, I was nominated to enter a national scholarship competition called POSSE. It was about a month long competition consisting of writing essays, interviews, and group leadership charrettes. After weeks awaiting for a response, I received the dreaded letter of denial and felt devastated. I felt discouraged applying to colleges after this experience because I had worked so hard for something that was going to be forever out of my reach. Once again, my mother told me these words:
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Finally, I understood what she meant by saying this to me. She is telling me to never give up confidence. I should never feel discouraged and defeated from anything because I am a strong and intelligent individual who can get through any challenge. My mother was telling me to always get up after a fall, no matter how hard the fall was. Being raised and brought up by my mother being a law enforcement officer has been impactful to me in becoming the confident and independent woman that I am today. My mother has taught me to never lose faith in what I’m capable of doing and what I’m capable of becoming.
To this day, I still refer back to the words my mother told me. Being a student studying architectural design and working part time as an intern, there are times where I get stressed out and too discouraged to push forward in my studies. Whenever I feel discouraged about the progression of a school project, or get stuck figuring out certain aspects of an evolving project, I look to my mother’s words. Her words both empower me and inspire me to continue designing even during those times when I start to feel too challenged to keep pushing forward. My school projects change as they finalize, and although there are times when I am not happy about how a project is unfolding, I continue to design until I reach the desired outcome.
My mother has had the greatest impact on my life. I continue to look back on her words and I remind myself that I have these opportunities of getting an education and gaining professional experience for a reason, and that reason being to become a successful architectural designer.