"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.

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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To My Little Sister, Don't Wish For Time To Move Faster, Soak Up The Stage Of Life You're In

Live in the moment and you will come out having no regrets.


To my best friend,

Time goes by quickly, do not wish it away. Enjoy living in the moment you are in right now because you will never get it back. Stop wishing you were in college already because you have so much to live for right now.

I know all you want to do is get away from home and start over, which is normal because I wanted to do the same thing at your age. But as your older sister, and as someone who has gone through that stage already, I am here to tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine 24/7.

With the time you have left in high school, enjoy every second of it because eventually, you will come to miss it.

Graduation is just around the corner for you and it honestly freaks me out how fast time is going. And it only goes faster in college. As kids, all we wanted was to be in high school and be able to drive on our own and once we hit high school, all we want is to be in college. With almost being in college for two years, I can easily say that all I want is to be a kid again. We have been wishing our whole lives away since we can remember. Enjoy today.

I see so much potential in you and I am beyond excited for what the future has in store for you.

Many times, you have been the one to give me advice even though I'm the older sister and this shows how caring and loving you are. Life is going to treat you so well and it already has.

There is one piece of advice I must give to you though. Make sure to thank mom and dad and tell them you love them as often as possible. I know they can get on your nerves and may make you angry at times, but they have given us the best life. You will learn in college just how much they love us and how much they have given up just to make us happy.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I know life is going to turn out to be exactly what you wanted. Just don't wish it all away. Some of my favorite times were when I was a senior in high school.

I'm always looking out for you so don't ever think you are alone in this crazy world. Remember, I am just one phone call away.

I love you so much sis, you got this.

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