In case you guys didn’t know, I am African, therefore I grew up hearing stories about how my father was number one in his class and walked so many miles to get an education. So, college really wasn’t a choice for me. Growing up, I knew that I HAD to go and I would joke about it in the context that if I didn’t go… my father would send me back to the motherland. Funny right? He didn’t think so; education is not a joke to him.
There are stereotypes in the African community that parents want lawyers, doctors, accountants, and (everyone’s favorite) engineers, so choosing marketing wasn’t the way to go. I remember going back home during Thanksgiving break and overhearing my father talking to my aunt about how I like math but I am in school for marketing. I kid you not. He asked her to talk to me about becoming an accountant. Three minutes later he yells, “Samalie, come and talk to your aunt.” And I am sure you guessed it, she talked me into giving accounting a chance. So, I did, and I failed. Financial accounting defeated me twice. The first time, I actually liked it and wanted to get an A or a B so I could carry on into that degree plan, so I withdrew and tried it again the next year. That year when I retook that class, it drove me to tears, and I barely passed it. We thanked God for curves…BIG CURVES. It took me a while but I finally changed my degree plan back to marketing after that one class.
While making that decision, my good friend kept asking me, “Why did you change your major in the first place?” The answer was simple: for my parents. I wasn’t in it for me. I don’t care for accounts, receivables, tax returns, and auditing. The only types of revenues I care about are the ones that end up in my bank account. Looking back, I know I was pursuing accounting out of the respect I had for my parents. They sacrificed so much for me just to make it in America, so giving up four years for an expensive piece of paper shouldn’t have been a big deal. But then I thought farther into the future, waking up every morning, sitting in my cubicle next to Bob, crunching numbers from nine to five. I thought to myself, “The most action I could get out of this job is when my calculator needs new batteries or when trying out a new place down the street for lunch.”Doing that every morning would be a personal hell, and that’s when I made that switch.
I realized my parents just want me to have a secure future by getting a degree in something that will always have a job lined up for me. They want me to have a good house, a stable job, money in the bank, etc. While thinking about why I changed my major, I also came to terms that there are better ways to honor the sacrifices my parents made for me besides getting a college degree.
I’m sure everyone has gone through the phase of craving approval from their parents and making choices based on whether or not you’ll get that big thumbs up from your parents. Therefore, in many ways, I was seeking validation from my parents, which isn’t where it should come from. The moral of the story today is: doing things for the approval of either friends, family, or social media won’t bring you total satisfaction. Whatever it is you want to do in life, do it for yourself. And although it’s hard, do not seek validation through the humans around you because they will always fail you.
Below is an interview with Joshua Adewunmi, the creator of Grade Point Adewunmi, and a brief description of what his organization is all about. I have been watching his organization grow, so of course, this made him the perfect candidate for this topic on education.
What is Grade Point Adewunmi?
“Grade Point Adewunmi started on June 24, 2017. During my freshmen and sophomore years, I was tutoring a great number of students. Eventually, I decided that it was time to increase my tutoring to a larger scale. I founded the organization hoping to tutor college students in all universities. At the start of the new year, I decided to start impacting the lives of younger students more, and partnering with the Lubbock Independent School District was the first step to achieving that. My organization is now in a couple of schools and we plan to expand to more schools in Lubbock and around the nation.”
What are you studying and what year are you classified as?
“I am currently studying Civil Engineering at Texas Tech University and a junior, heading into my senior year.”
Who influenced your decision to come to college?
“No person influenced my decision to go to college. As in nobody talked me into it. It was just something I wanted to do.”
Did your parents help with the application process heading into college?
“They helped pay for some of my applications. They also helped pay for my placement exams.”
Who are you going to college for? (And has it always been that way?)
“I am going to college because I hope to make changes in several communities throughout the course of my lifetime. So, I am going to college for millions of people.”
Do you have any emotional support in college from your parents?
“My parents are always checking up on me and asking how I am. It means a lot to have parents that support me in all my endeavors.”
How far have you gone, to get an A in a class?
“I can’t say I have gone to any crazy lengths to get an A in a class. I am usually relaxed in class. Having to give up large parts of my social life is the farthest I have gone.”
If you could study anything else in college for free, what would it be? Why are you not studying that instead?
“I would probably study any form of business if I was not studying Civil Engineering. I am not studying that because I can make much more of an impact majoring in engineering.”
Do you have a creative outlet? Or an outlet in general?
“My outlet is my organization, Grade Point Adewunmi. My organization tutors, mentors, and volunteers throughout the state of Texas, which my parents have helped sponsor, which means a lot.”
What are your plans after college?
“My main plan after college is to continue expanding my business and engage in more volunteer and community service. I want to use my degree to change lives and, of course, make money.”
What is some advice that you would give anyone that is coming into college, not knowing what degree to choose from?
“Find a passion. Whatever makes you the happiest is what you should study. Also, consider how much money you can make from that degree.”
Until next time my darlings!