Often times college leaves students worried and discouraged. This feeling hits it’s peak around the time of final exams, when students question why they’re even in college and if they have the fortitude to keep pushing until graduation. Admittedly, college is more challenging in high school. A student used to straight A’s in high school might find themselves with C’s or D’s on their midterms and it’s not because of lack of trying.
In college, there’s often an inverse effect with grades and social life. Rarely do you see students that are socially relevant and at the top of their class. Not to say that it isn’t possible but the position of a valedictorian requires immense hours of study. You wouldn’t normally see your valedictorian at every campus event imaginable. You wouldn’t normally see your valedictorian displaying so much school spirit her presence is felt even when she isn’t around.That perfectly describes Fort Valley State University 2016-2017 Valedictorian Abrahana James.
Abrahana’s presence at Fort Valley State University made campus life better. There was never a dull moment with her. If you ever saw her walking the campus she’d find some way to make you smile. Often times I’d be walking to breakfast in the cafeteria and see her recording her daily morning inspirational videos for her brand Inspirational Soul Food. Abrahana, a Business Management major, found the time to tutor students in their business classes and was even able to tutor some students in their challenging Physical Science class (mainly me). It’s hard to see Abrahana move on with her life but it’s empowering to know that she was able to stay on top of her studies while still making the best of her college experience. I had the privilege of talking with the new alumni on her college experience and future plans.
RB: Tell us about your four years of college. How have you grown? What have you learned?
Abrahana: I have grown so much over these four years. Walking into college, I didn’t know my purpose, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I did know I wanted to play ball and get my degree. Walking out of college, I wholeheartedly know my purpose which is to motivate and encourage people, I know exactly what I want to do in life to fulfill my purpose, I gave ball up to put all my time and energy into new dreams I wanted to pursue and accomplish. I started college with a fro, but I’m leaving with locs. My mindset has grown and expanded. I have learned that everyone who starts the journey with you may not finish it with you and that’s okay. I have also learned that hard work can never go unnoticed or unrewarded for too long.
RB: Did you overcome any adversity on your road to becoming the valedictorian of your graduating class?
Abrahana: Yes, I have had some adversity on my road to be valedictorian. Freshman year 2nd semester, I received a B in 1102 English and I was heartbroken. Before I came to college, I had the goal that I wanted to be the valedictorian of my class, and with that B, my goal could possibly be unachievable. I vowed to myself to not worry about it and strive to get high A’s in the rest of my classes. Anything is possible because today I am the valedictorian of my class. I was in the running with another person to be the Valedictorian and what separated us was a 0.02 difference. So, I am extremely humbled to say I am the Valedictorian.
RB: How does it feel to be Valedictorian?
Abrahana: It feels amazing to be the valedictorian. People walk up to me all the time to congratulate me and it makes my day. Most of the time people really don’t know their valedictorian because they were always in their books, but this isn’t the case for me. I was heavily involved on campus all 4 years. To know, I will be remembered as the valedictorian who was way more than just the valedictorian is a wonderful feeling.
RB: What have you learned in your four years of college?
Abrahana: I learned to make do with what I had. To be content with where I am at in that current moment of my journey. Trust the process. The greatest investment I can make is in myself.
RB: After graduating, you’re moving to Orlando to work with Kellogg. How’d you cultivate that relationship and what will you be doing for the company?
Abrahana: I will be Kellogg’s Walmart sales team for our morning foods division traveling to different Walmarts in Metro Orlando selling in products and promotions.
RB: Do you have any inspiration for upcoming freshman and those that are in collge pushing to get where you are? (I know you do!)
Abrahana: You know I do! My inspiration for upcoming freshmen and people trying to get to where I am is this: Speak things into existence, but understand without work and action they will not manifest. Stay true and be you. People will respect you so much more for just being yourself. Plus it’s extremely hard not being the only person you know how to be and that is yourself.
Follow Abrahana on Social Media!
Instagram: @a1likedasause & @theneighborhoodhopedealer
Make sure to download her app Inspirational Soul Food on Itunes & in the Google Play Store!
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.