Overcoming adversity to achieve college dream

Oct 08, 2020
Logan Kemp

Adversity comes in many forms.

Logan Kemp ‘20 said he learned a very important lesson during his time at Newman University: “The best way to do things is the right way no matter the circumstance. Integrity in oneself and one’s work over everything. That carries into all aspects of life.”

Logan’s love for science brought him to Newman and he began his education toward a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2015, yet he began to struggle in his academic studies in ways he didn’t quite understand.

He persevered and kept moving forward but during his junior year, Logan experienced two life-changing moments.

In early August 2017, his father, Wayne, was killed in a motorcycle accident. Shortly after, a diagnosis of dyslexia explained Logan’s academic struggles.

He felt defeated. 

But it didn’t take too long before he realized what he had in him and he didn’t want to give up on himself or his dreams. He knew his father would have wanted him to finish his degree more than anything. So once again, Logan persevered and moved forward.

His father’s passing brought new responsibilities into Logan’s life — paying a full list of bills and maintaining a house was among them. Some nights consisted of turning off or fixing appliances until midnight followed by studying for several hours after only to wake up at 7 a.m. and begin another full day of work of school and work.

“I focused on having a plan and keeping the gears turning in my head,” he explained. “If I had any negative thoughts, I made sure to question why and get to the bottom of it so I could get over it quickly.”

For Logan, completing his studies was at the top of his plan. He also wrote down his one-, five- and 10-year plans, knowing nothing is set in stone, but using them as a guideline and framework for what he wanted to achieve.

The hardest part, he said, was losing his dad. His mental and emotional state was not the same for many months after; his focus lost. He dropped a large number of classes as his feelings got the better of him. But his determination won in the end.

Logan began meeting with a dyslexia specialist, his grades began excelling and he was on an upward scholarly path from there. He had to adjust to a different way of reading and learning.

“I was impressed and concerned with myself at the same time … but at that point, I was really trying to take my studies to the next level.”

He said he never did anything without thinking about his dad.

“There were many times I wanted to give up … but I did not allow that as an option for myself as it was never an option given to me by my father. He raised me to be (present) and taking this whole thing as serious as I did, (willing) it to make me better iwas the only option in my book and it’s all I knew, so it worked.”

He struggled financially, living paycheck to paycheck, yet he said he never went without. Scholarships and part-time work for his family’s business helped him achieve his dream. His job allowed him to put his education first and his scholarships helped him feel encouraged. The financial support inspired him and provided him with some mental strength to keep going, he said.

His first post-graduate goal is landing a career as an entry-level chemist or lab technician and gaining some real-world experience. His longer-term goals include everything from starting his own business to earning a master’s and even a doctorate degree.

“I couldn’t have done this without those who helped me get to where I am today — most importantly my advisor at Newman, Ryan Huschka; my girlfriend, Lexi Hamilton; my parents, grandparents and the rest of my family and friends who were there every step of the way.”