Pictured SC State junior Khamik Cardwell majors in criminal justice.
ORANGEBURG, S.C. – As Khamik Cardwell grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, higher education seemed out of the realm of possibility.
Now, he is enrolled at South Carolina State University, the state’s public four-year Historically Black College or University.
“I really wasn’t planning on going to college because of the environment I grew up in,” the junior transfer student said. “So, it’s pretty much of a shocker that I’m here at an HBCU, but I look at it as a blessing.”
Cardwell’s mother realized he had an opportunity to garner an education. Her belief in him led Cardwell to enroll at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical Community College, where he completed his associate degree while making the honor roll along the way.
“I wanted to further my education, so I decided to come to SCSU,” Cardwell said. “I heard about the surroundings and the environment. It’s family-like. Everyone is like one big family. It’s a vibe that everybody can enjoy and have an experience that no one can ever forget.”
Cardwell arrived at SC State amid the COVID-19 pandemic with classes in remote mode to curb the virus’ spread. Still, he has the support he needs to achieve success.
“During this pandemic, it’s different because everything was separated virtually, so it took me time to get adjusted to it,” he said. “They are making sure I stay on top of my classes and make sure I get out on time.”
He’s looking forward a full campus experience when SC State returns to traditional instruction in the fall semester.
“It’ll be a different atmosphere,” Cardwell said. “It’ll be a different opportunity to see new people and do more things.”
As a criminal justice major, the 21-year-old’s goal is to become a civil or criminal attorney or a social worker devoted to helping prisoners.
What motivates him?
“The drive from people saying I couldn’t do it,” Cardwell said. “Now that I’m doing it, I keep pushing myself to keep going and prove to the people who said I couldn’t do it – even myself – wrong.”
After SC State, Cardwell hopes to attend law school or graduate school. Where is still on the table.
“It doesn’t really matter,” he said., “as long as I get my education so that I can affect other people’s lives.”