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Simington reflects on freshman year
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Darius Simington, a 2013 graduate of Martinsville High School, speaks last week about his freshman year at George Mason University. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

(Editor’s note: The following is the final part in a series of stories on Darius Simington and the challenges he faced and lessons he learned during his freshman year in college. Simington lives near Martinsville.)

Martinsville High School graduate Darius Simington learned inside and outside of class during his first year at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Pursuing a major in information technology has not been easy, said Simington, 19. He had a C average (2.3 GPA) for the second semester, taking Information Technology (IT) 101, IT 103, English 101, applied calculus and public speaking, he said.

“Things are just going to get harder,” he added.

Comparing the first semester of college with the second semester, Simington said he made improvements in several areas and needs to work on others.

“I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes, ask for help and face my problems,” he said.

Maturity was not a problem for him, he said. “I do get a lot of compliments on my maturity,” he added.

However, Simington admitted he should have listened to his parents and others more and also partied less.

He said he did a better job with his study habits in the second semester — in picking study partners and appropriate places to study, in communicating with his professors, in getting to class early and in prioritizing.

Going forward, Simington said, his biggest challenges are “time management, not listening as well as I should and being social.” He added he needs to focus more on academics.

He has made a lot of friends at George Mason; finds the people there friendly, willing to help and honest; and he likes the campus’s location in the Washington, D.C., metro area, he said.

Simington’s career goal is to work in cybersecurity. He would like to live in the D.C. area, probably in southern Maryland because of its lower taxes. He said he likes the area and thinks there would be more job opportunities there.

He played intramural flag football first semester and intramural basketball second semester at George Mason. He was a member of three organizations: the National Society of Black Engineers, the Black Student Alliance and G.E.N.T. Men.

He said he lost 17 pounds (from 275 to 258) in the second semester, partly as a result of getting sick with a sinus infection, but also from eating more healthfully and working out more (free weights, elliptical machines and cardio). His energy level and focus when studying increased, he said.

His final exams for second semester at George Mason were May 13, and he came home for the summer a few days later.

“It’s great to be home,” he said. “It’s great to see family and friends. I don’t miss school yet,” he said after being home about a week. “It’s good to have a home-cooked meal.”

He said his mother, Paulette Simington’s, advice about college has included such gems as, “Follow up and follow through.” His dad, Clarence Simington, has advised him: “Be my own person. Watch whom you trust. Don’t be too dependent on others.”

Paulette Simington is executive director of special education and student services for Martinsville City Public Schools, and Clarence Simington is senior guidance counselor at Martinsville High School.

“I’m looking for a (summer) job diligently,” Darius said.

He hopes to re-energize during the summer and looks forward to doing a lot of positive things next semester at George Mason, he added.

Simington had this advice for incoming freshmen: “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Once you get to this level, everything is not going to be easy. A lot of things are going to change. It’s going to be a new playing field. It’s OK to ask for help. Try to plan out each day ahead of time in order to get things done on time.”

At Martinsville High School, Simington got the Big M Trophy his senior year with a 3.7 GPA. That year, he also was named the national NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Pre-College Initiative Student of the Year (male) and was awarded a $4,000 scholarship. He served as co-president, vice president, parliamentarian and B-Net officer of the Martinsville/Henry County Chapter of NSBE. He was named Mr. NSBE Jr. for Region 2 (several states) at the 2010 fall conference in Pittsburgh.

He was Piedmont District first-team defensive lineman and second-team all-region defensive lineman, both awards his junior and senior years at MHS. He also was captain of the varsity football team.


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