Demetrius Jones thought he wanted to be a doctor when he was younger, but an interest in reading driven by his mom inspired him change his focus by middle school.
That's when he entered a short story contest—and he won.
Demetrius brought his passion for creative writing to UB, starting as a freshman. He plans to pursue English as his undergraduate major and was excited to start his writing classes in his second semester.
Along with his 100-level classes, a determined Demetrius enrolled in a 300-level class on short stories. The class was about reading rather than writing short stories, but he enjoyed being exposed to new writers and stories.
"There was one, it was about Edwidge Danticat where we read about her life and how difficult it was for her to tell her parents about wanting to become a writer, which I definitely sympathize with," he says.
"I was basically learning a lot more about the environment that I didn't really know before, because I hadn't really kept up with the environment, but now that I've taken this class, I think I definitely will now," he says. "The last class I took was psychology. ... It's really nice to like hear other people's mindsets and opinions on things that I simply don't hear from the people I surround myself with."
Demetrius' freshman year was different than most as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted all of his courses to a remote learning environment. He had never taken an online class before, but says his professors eased the transition and the experience helped him overcome his initial concerns.
"A lot of my teachers allowed us to do Zoom meetings if we needed a coach, so they were definitely helpful," he says.
Missing part of his freshman year because of the pandemic certainly changed Demetrius' perspective of college, but not his purpose.
"To me, nothing comes before my education. When this whole thing happened, my No. 1 concern was, how am I going to adjust to not meeting face to face? This is obviously something I never did before."
He had to adjust to working on assignments, including with other students, while he was at home by himself. He also lost his job due to a lack of demand.
"All of those are fine, all of those will come back eventually once this whole thing is over. But the No. 1 thing I needed to focus on was my education," he says.
"This has taught me that I can adjust to any circumstance that I'm thrown into because all this happens so quickly," he adds. "No matter what's thrown at me, as long as I stay focused on what I need to do, I can accomplish that."