Congratulations, sis 👩🏽🎓! You’ve made it through 12 years of schooling and now you’ve decided to take on at least four more.
✅ you’ve completed your FASFA
✅ you’ve picked out your roommate
✅ you’ve got your on-campus food card
✅ you’ve registered for first semester classes
✅ you’ve got your outfits lined up in your head
*in my best Martin voice* “You Go Girl!”
Whether you’re going to a community college first or straight to university, there’s something you should know that has nothing to do with the previously mentioned checklist.
You, my dear, are not playing by the same rules as you’re counterparts.This statement isn’t to rain on your parade or to cause discouragement. It’s intent is to make you aware and prepared.
As a young black woman, you may have been coached in your life to be “a strong black woman.” I invite you to be strategic. It’s a much better use of your intellect and energy.
Put your big girl heels on and let’s take a walk around campus.
👠 Honor roll and good grades are no longer the focal point to be recognized. Yes, strive for A’s and B’s if you wish. However, there’s no grades listed on diplomas and experience will be your greatest asset. As early as possible, you’ll want to take on an internship, job or work study that aligns with your major. It’s okay if it’s not spot on as many skills are transferable. You don’t want to look up four years later in an interview and have zero (nada) work experience to reference.
👠 Get comfortable with resistance and befriend it. Resistance will come from within as you transition into adulthood. It will come from friendships you outgrow. It may also come from classmates and professors who question your intelligence because of your outer appearance.
👠 Save your money! Hopefully you’re on some sort of scholarship or grant. If you had to take out student loans, be sure to start a savings account and save what you don’t need immediately. I know it’s hard to see four or five figures with your name next to it and not think of thousands of things you want to buy. But hear me, whether you land a job or not, the loans will be due shortly after you graduate.
👠 Build a network outside of your friend circle. Yes, make memories. Lots of them but your immediate friend circle can only elevate you so far. Just like you have an Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, you need a professional account on LinkedIn. This is where you’ll keep your on-line resume. Gone are the days of paper resumes only.
👠 Stay ahead so you don’t have to play catch-up. Assignments will come fast and you don’t want to make a habit of working from behind. It’ll cause burnout and fatigue. If you know what’s due, do it. Then party. College professors don’t have a dog in the fight whether you graduate or not.
👠 Remember what your parents, guardian, a positive role model taught you. When you walk in any room, you represent a last name. A legacy. They’ve sacrificed a lot for you to get to this point. They have a vested interest in seeing you succeed. You can use them for motivation when you want to give up because trust me you’ll have those moments.
👠 Start interviewing for careers your junior year. You want to master interviews which is essentially selling yourself. The more interviews you do the more confident you become in sharing your experiences. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get the job. Your objectives are to build future connections and practice your interview skills.
👠 If you have a passion for something, start a business. Use the excess of funds you receive to invest in yourself and let that be your side income. You can always bet on yourself.
👠 Most importantly, don’t sell yourself short. Not in relationships, not in experiences, not in exploring. Use your spring breaks to travel to other countries to expand your awareness of the big world out there. Panama City and the beach will always be there.
If you’re a parent or student and want to talk more, leave me a comment or send me a message using the Contact Me form. You can see my resume on LinkedIn.