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What I Wish I Had Known (before Business School)

Alayah Wood She-EO Intern

Hello, I am Alayah Wood, currently a graduate student at Hampton University and an intern for SheEO Academy. I will walk the stage May 12th as a two-time graduate of my Home By The Sea with my MBA in hand, God willing. I want to share with all those reading a little bit of my story in reference to being a full-time adult.

There are five things I believe they do not teach us in grade school when talking about what we want to be when we grow up. Here are five things I wish I had known before going on my HBCU journey.

  1. It’s okay to fail!

  2. Be your own advocate!

  3. Create your own opportunities!

  4. Sacrifice now so you can live more later!

  5. Most importantly Trust God and His plan for your life!

It’s okay to fail. Failure is inevitable to success and it builds one’s character. When we were younger most of us always had our mommies and daddies coming to the rescue when things didn’t go our way. Even when we failed somehow our parents would see fit that we at least got something out of the deal. But let me tell you something about being an adult - YOU WILL FAIL. It is what you do after you fail that matters. Questions that we should ask ourselves are: what did I learn, what were my true intentions, and lastly how can I grow and become a better person from what I have just learned. If we never fall, how would we know what getting back up felt like? How might we gain perseverance and persistence throughout our lives?

Be your own advocate. Often we forget that not everyone has our best interest at heart and we sometimes have to learn that the hard way. We must always be confident with our skills and abilities that we were given and try and improve out areas of development. No one will have your back like you have your own back. I had to learn that in the most trying circumstances that could have been avoided if I was not so dependent on the opinions and thoughts of others. We must speak up for ourselves while remaining poised and true to ourselves.

Create your own opportunities. Sometimes we get consumed by what those around us are doing and how their lives seem to be always so well put together. I credit this to the age of social media, where our peers paint a picture of what they want us to see. We as the consumers unfortunately can’t differentiate between what is real and what is fake, so we just chose to believe what we see. How about we stop trying to fit in with the status quo altogether. Let’s network and create opportunities that align with our passions and interests instead! What is supposed to be for you will always be for you.

Sacrifice now so you can live more later. My mother always tells me sacrifice now so you can live more later, yet I never understood the validity of that statement until now, being a 22 year old independent adult. Take that statement and apply it directly to your personal life. Relate it to finances, jobs, friends, time, assignments and careers. In a time where everyone dresses with designer brands that they cant afford, long European hair that isn’t theirs and living a lavish lifestyle, how do you make yourself standout is a question I am sure we all have wondered. I’ll tell you, remember who you are and what your goals and aspirations are. We can’t have a dream career in California (which requires relocation) without an adequate savings account. Ask yourself - what do I have to sacrifice now so that I can ultimately live the life I aspire to have?

Trust God and His plan for your life. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb and only wants His best for you. Why not trust Him and His will?

From kindergarten to 12th grade, I always wanted to be just like someone else, imitating their clothes, their speech habits, and even how they treated others. When I came to Hampton, I found out who I was and that being my authentic self was enough! I wonder how my days at Hampton would have went if I trusted God, saved money, and deemed myself worth it. After reading this I hope you understand that you are more than enough and you can do anything you put your mind and heart to!


Alayah Wood

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