Texas Tech University

Challenging Path Through College Ends with Another Hurdle

Riley Kearby

May 26, 2020


Riley Kearby has had to overcome many challenges on his path to earning a degree from Texas Tech, the coronavirus being just the latest one.

Riley Kearby earned a bachelor's degree in public relations at Texas Tech University. His reflections of his final college semester is the fifth in a series of senior perspectives, which will appear each Monday and Thursday through the month of May at today.ttu.edu.

My experience at Texas Tech University has been, for lack of a better word, unique.

I was not originally accepted to Texas Tech, but I went through the Gateway program and got in, then went to Red Raider Orientation and participated in Howdy TECHsans. Reflecting on the friends and memories I have made since 2016. I wouldn't change a single memory, and I hold it all to my heart.

As a freshman, I was an intern to former student body president Ben Sharp and to chief of staff Thad Brock, a former public relations alumnus, and if it not for a 1.733 GPA, I would still be involved with them. Since then, I have made Dean's List every semester since 2018 and have a GPA of 3.309. Oh, and did I mention I changed majors three times in college, starting with animal science and graduating with a bachelor's degree in public relations?

Through my time at Texas Tech, I went through deaths of family members and heartbreaks, all while improving my GPA the whole time. It was mentally draining, and I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during this time. If it would not have been for friends and families, I don't think I would have been able to finish as strong as I have over the last year.

My roots with this beloved school date back to the late 1980s, with my mother being the first in her family to attend college, and she gladly chose Texas Tech over other schools. While at Texas Tech she helped charter Kappa Delta, with my aunt joining as well, and my uncle joining Phi Delta Theta. We have been Red Raiders for as long as I can remember, and when my cousin chose Baylor over Texas Tech it raised some eyebrows (we were just glad she didn't choose our neighbors down in Austin). So, as you can tell, my roots with Texas Tech have run deep for a very long time.

Anyone can ask any of my friends, and especially family, how I feel about this school, and they will all tell you the same. I love this school. Texas Tech has made me into the man that I am today, and if it were not for the ups and downs from this crazy college experience, I don't think I would be as ready for the real world as I would be had it been any different.

To address the elephant in the room, yes COVID-19 has made a huge impact on my life. I could go on and on about how much I love Texas Tech, and I mention this because, hopefully, it shows a true understanding of what my graduation day is going to look like.

I appreciate the university trying it's hardest to make this as normal as possible, but the truth is this isn't normal, and that's OK. None of this is normal for any of us; we're all having to adapt and survive. It's a scary time for all of us, and the scariest part is we don't know how long this is going to last. But we're going to get through this, we're going to remember these days for the rest of our lives, and humanity will never forget these horrible days either.

Not only has graduation been altered, but life after college has been altered. In a time where public relations are essential to comforting everybody, nobody in our field is hiring. Although I am graduating with my degree, I have already begun considering different life paths. It's a sad reality for the majority of us graduating in a few weeks and for those who did not get a job after graduating last semester. However, I know we will prevail.

I have loved my time as a college student, and even more so at Texas Tech, and I can't wait for my children to walk the grounds of this illustrious campus.

Strive for honor evermore, long live the Matadors.