Sometimes, I feel as if I’m not doing enough to be successful. Sure, this is the story of nearly every college student as we fight our way to success. Sometimes we don’t see what’s in front of us. My problem is different though. I clearly see what’s in front of me. I see the 15,000+ followers on our Instagram page. I see us getting viral post every day. I see the awareness of the brand around the nation increase. Yet, I often don’t feel fulfilled. I even hit my lowest point on last Wednesday and admitted to myself that I was unhappy.
As I sulked in how low I felt, a level of understanding came over me. Growing HBCU Pulse has been one of the most redeeming factors of my 22 years of life. I’m literally living my dream. However, dreams don’t pay bills and student loans in six months. (I graduate December 14, 2019 at 9:30 AM). Your dreams and external success also don’t make you feel fulfilled when you’re lonely at night or when you feel the need to talk to someone but you realize that no one is there. Sure, my family is supportive of me but I often don’t want to tell them the issues I struggle with. I don’t want them to worry. Through my low point, I discovered that what will heal me and help me find a portion of my happiness is to stop isolating myself. I needed to fearlessly start to connect with people that I feel aligned with my beliefs and grind. After my low point, I promised myself that I would work to get myself back together.
Throughout the next few days, I spoke on how I felt and those that genuinely are interested in both my personal and professional success reached out to me. I started to no longer feel low. I started talking on the phone until 3 AM. My phone was no longer dry anymore! It was a euphoric feeling. Still, that was only one part of my happiness. True happiness doesn’t come from people you surround yourself with, no matter how positive and well meaning they are. True happiness is predicated on what you feel about yourself. Sure, I’m confident in myself and proud of the journey I’ve walked to sit where I am today. However, I often find myself unconfident that my journey will lead me to the success I long for.
Enter: Jamila Mustafa. I’d been a fan of her since I learned about her via the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. She was supposed to attend the lecture series that they brought down to Fort Valley State University last year but she was called on assignment to interview a celebrity (goals). Still, I followed her and looked into her work. I found out that she went to Delaware State University and served as Miss Delaware State University. Sure, that was impressive but what stuck out to me more was that she was only three years and a few months older than me. I was born in 1996. She was born in 1993. She’s attained such high levels of success at a young age. Plus, I loved her spirit. I aspire for my journey to be similar to hers. She inspired me.
So, when I found out that she’d be appearing at Fort Valley for this year’s edition of the Lecture Series I was determined. I told my Dad that I would meet her. I told my peers that I would meet her. I even was bold enough to go on the Instagram story and say that I would meet her and that, “She was my mentor and didn’t know it.” Who knew that she’d immediately see the mention on her story and repost it. Who knew that not only would we connect, but she’d affirm in my life everything I was unconfident about when it came to my purpose and prospective media career? Who knew that this was the moment that seeds I’d sewed in my peers would harvest at this very moment? This was destined to happen.
I must readily admit that I’ve been successful in my college career. I went to the White House representing all HBCUs, I brought actors from BET’s The Quad to FVSU’s campus by myself and with no money and I even interviewed my role model Michael Baisden and 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate Stacy Abrahms. However, this moment with Jamila hit differently. For the first time, it really occurred to me that I was on the right path. I spoke upon what I wanted and it came to me in a larger quantity than I’d even expected. I got more than a picture or video with Jamila. I feel as if I’ve made a connection with someone that will help me in getting where I want to be in my career after I graduate next month.
I don’t truly know what the future holds. However, I realized that I have to step out on faith and affirm what I believe in. Sure, the road won’t be easy and storms come but the only things storms do is block the sunshine. And, I felt that the NBCAHOF lecture and my opportunity to meet Jamila Mustafa will illuminate my light for years to come.