Where I Lead: Advocating for others

John Blessing, a senior from Gainesville, Georgia, pursuing a bachelor’s degrees in political science and history with a focus in pre-law, was selected as UNG’s first Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Scholar and the university’s first entrant into the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program — both programs are for students seeking careers in public service.

To what do you attribute the success you’ve experienced at UNG?

This university gives students like me a chance that other universities wouldn’t. I messed up in high school because I was a kid. But UNG said “Let’s bring him in and see what he can do.” Since then, I have never gotten less than an A, and I’ve founded three organizations. That’s because this university gives students who normally wouldn’t have a chance the option to make something of themselves. It’s not something you would find at other universities.

Why did you apply for the Truman Scholarship?

Interestingly enough, it was when I won the Newman Civic Fellow for the 2016-17 academic year. I met Dr. Anastasia Lin (assistant vice president for research and engagement and an associate professor of English), and she said “You are a good candidate for the Truman scholarship.”

What do you think stood out about your Truman application?

My hope is that they saw that I have grit. I don’t quit. When it comes to getting something done, I am on that route and I don’t stop. I made a decision and that’s where I’m going. My hope is that they saw that I am genuine. Leadership is something that I use to ensure myself and others benefit in some way. I’ve done well and plan to do more.

What is your ultimate goal?

Ultimately, I want to defend the rights of those who have difficulty being able to advocate for themselves. I know from my background I had difficulty advocating for myself, and I had to climb my way up to do that. Some people don’t know they have these opportunities. Right now, elections lawyer is my goal.