"A Different World:" My Stepping Stone To College

"A Different World:" My Stepping Stone To College

How a TV show opened my eyes about higher education.
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I always told people, “It was my mother, my sister, and 'A Different World' who helped me on my path to college." My mother was a single mother and a student at Medgar Evers College getting her nursing degree. I was a toddler at the time, coming with her to school. My sister, Nneka, went through obstacles in her life, but that never stopped her and she graduated college. "A Different World" was a TV show that let me know that people of color can get a higher education and make something of themselves. We don’t have to be stereotypes, we can be better and do better in our lives.

"A Different World" ran from 1987 to 1993 on NBC. Around that time, I was a baby and really wasn’t watching the show, but I knew my sisters did. When they started showing repeats of the show on various channels, I was older, and that’s when I started watching. "A Different World" was focused on Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) going off to her parent’s Alma Mater, Hillman College, a fictional college in Virginia. What I love about this show was that Denise wasn’t an honor student. She wasn’t an A+ student, she was just a trying to get by and finish college. Even though her grades weren’t the best, she made do. Denise did what she had to do to get by, even when she had to call her parents to get out of a jam. She realized that there are things that you have to do for yourself, without your parents' help, and she did just that.

In the second season, Lisa Bonet left "A Different World," because she was pregnant with her daughter, Zoe. The concept of Lisa’s character on the show was “The girl next door." It wasn’t a good look that she was 20 and with child on the show. The show then focused was on Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) and Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy), two people who hated each other in the beginning, but ended up together at the end.

"A Different World" also tackled with a lot of issues at that time, like teen pregnancy, the apartheid in South Africa, HIV/AIDS, racism, and sexual harassment, just to name a few, and they showed you the view of being in a HBCU (Historically Black College Universities) and academic and social views of college life, like Greek Life. I knew, when I got older, that I wanted to go to college, because I didn’t want to be yet another statistic about the Black community and I didn't want kids yet. I wanted the higher education, I wanted the degree, and I wanted to graduate with honors, because that showed me that we, as African Americans, we have the mindset, we have the power of making it in the world and doing something with what we learned in college.

Now that I’m much older and graduating college, I can say that "A Different World" showed me a view of being in an all-black college and knowing that you don’t have to be a number, you don’t have to be on the streets, hustling, or be a statistic with three or four kids (that’s how some people view African Americans, that we are lazy and we don’t do anything). That’s not the case here. More African American men and women are going to college and even going on to get their Masters. "A Different World" was a stepping stone for me; it showed me I can do anything, not only as a woman, but as an African American woman. I just have to set my mind to my goals and reach them.

I wish there were more shows like "A Different World" to show that getting an education is a beautiful thing, but also it's also a privilege that we should be honored to have. To this day, I still watch the show on Netflix, because my mom, my sister, and "A Different World" pushed me to make the choice to further my education and reach my dreams, no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Mental_Floss

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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10 Special Places In Your Hometown You Can't Wait To Revisit When The Semester Is Over

I can't wait to go home!

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Everyone has their favorite local spots that they love in their hometown. These could be famous staples that everyone knows about, or your little getaway when life was hitting you hard growing up. Since being away from home I never understood how important they were to me until I wasn't there. It doesn't matter if you live in Maine or California, everyone has their spot or multiple spots.

Here is a list of 10 places that you will stop at once you get home.

1. Your Favorite Local Restaurant(s)

This restaurant or restaurants always come through whenever you want to eat your favorite food(s). It always made everything to perfection, and nearly every person knows your name in there.

2. Coffee Shop

The place that you always can meet your friends, or a quite place to get work done.

3. High School 

Going back to your local high school is always a positive walk down memory lane to see all your old teachers, and people that affected your life for the better.

4. Friends' Houses 

So many memories are there, and it's always so refreshing to see their faces and talk to people that you have grown up with.

5. Nature Spots 

You know those places that whenever you get to them can make you so much happier and more relaxed? That's what I'm talking about.

6. Walking Around Your Neighborhood 

Walking around your neighborhood is always fun, and you get to see a bunch of familiar faces.

7. Your Bed 

Because what's better than that...

8. Your Local Church 

It is always nice to see your youth group and elders whenever you come back.

9. Grandparents' House

You know when you are going over something good is always waiting behind the door.

10. Top Of A Parking Garage 

The ultimate best view to watch fireworks, sunsets, and sun rises.

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