Certifications: CompTIA A+, IT Fundamentals, TestOut PC Pro, Network Pro, Routing Pro, Switching Pro, ALHEI Guest Services Gold Certification in customer service. Working on Linux Pro and Security Pro.
Awards: I won a gold medal at the Alabama SkillsUSA State Championships and a $2,000 scholarship. I also won 1st place in Networking at the JEFCOED Navigator's Cup.
Effective study habits: Excessive domain reviews before every practice exam. I always try to get 90 percent or better on each exam. I put in extra study time outside of school. During summer, I studied from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., four days a week, and during the school year I stayed after school three times a week to study. It was hard. Sometimes I just didn't want to study, but it was worth it in the end.
Extracurricular: President of the Computer Club, captain of the Cyber Security team, Student Council Parliamentarian, and a member of Zeta Nu Phi Sorority. I'm not sure when I sleep, probably just occasionally. It's exhausting, but I really enjoy being busy and being with friends.
Why Mr. Rick's class: Didn't have a choice. I started the semester late and it was the last class available. Once I began working with computers, I quickly realized that I liked it.
Educational and career goals: I'm attending Tuskegee University in the fall and will study computer science. I'm considering a career in cybersecurity.
Toughest aspect of becoming certified: Keeping a dedicated schedule caused conflicts with other responsibilities. My social life suffered. While friends would go out to eat and see movies, I went to practice. I constantly had to prioritize all my extracurricular activities.
Best part of being certified: The satisfaction of knowing my hard work paid off. I've never worked this hard for anything. I felt so accomplished.
Advice to other students: Don't get discouraged if you run into trouble. Just keep at it. The more you work for it, the easier it will be and the more satisfaction you'll have in the end.