Towards the end of my undergraduate studies, I came to the realization that I wanted to become a mentor. I wanted to warn the upcoming generation about issues that plagued them on and off Prairie View A&M University’s campus and I wanted to be a source of hope and help for our incoming freshmen. I also possessed a genuine love for wanting to relay a sense of guidance to the students who were coming up behind me and, as a result, I became a PAL (Panther Advisory Leader).
We were the student leaders who were expected to uphold the spirit of our university while representing the purple and gold to the best of our ability. Amongst our impressive roster were student government officials, military workers, multi-talented performers and run-of-the-mill, everyday students who longed to be a beacon of light in a small, college town.
We worked tirelessly to ensure that our students were cared for and tended to by any means necessary. We were “temporary” mothers, fathers, sisters, friends and teachers who would stop at nothing to protect our girls and boys. We cheered freshmen on as they drudged through each academic semester and, at some point, we were even called to serve as tutors. We led discussions that stimulated the minds of our younger counterparts but we were also capable of revealing a world filled with endless laughs, warm memories and innocent fun.
After I received that first taste of mentorship, I was hooked.
After parting ways with Prairie View in Fall 2012, the fire that resided deep within me continued to burn. But, life started to happen: I set out to look for full-time work, I enrolled in graduate school, I fell in love, I continued to live the life of a twenty-something and I sort of lost sight of the vision that was set upon my heart. But, all that changed last month!
I accepted the responsibility of becoming Nya’s mentor because I want to give back to our upcoming generation. We live in a time where role models come a dime a dozen and it’s particularly difficult to find substantial figures who are dedicated to truly making a difference. The youngsters of today pride much of their respect on social media “superstars” and reality tv moguls; however, they must also learn that there’s another world out there chock full of successful entrepreneurs, college graduates and dynamic dreamers who dare to live life on their on terms.
My personal story is a testament of triumphs and failures. I attempted to plan my life as the best way I saw fit and, of course, it didn’t work out. But, I took each day as it came and I continued to place one foot in front of the other in hopes of getting the hang of things. Eventually, I got to the point where I became happy within myself. And, that’s the type of knowledge I want to pass on to Nya. She’s a young woman full of goals and aspirations and I want her to remain confident in her ideas. I want her to shoot for the stars and aim for nothing less! I will do everything in my power to ensure that her success radiates way past my own. She’s just too amazing.
Now, I’m not rich in any way but I contain the gift of knowledge. And, with this blessing, I plan to touch the life of a young woman who was once in my shoes. I plan to uplift her in every way possible because her success is my pillar of inspiration. The future has never looked brighter!