It’s the day after graduation and the made-to-order omelets after chapel service are no longer at your disposal. Warm days on the yard don’t mean the same thing anymore. The music from the marching band has subsided. Your favorite professor is going on sabbatical, and you have crossed those proverbial burning sands. Your time as a student has come to an end.

Your loved ones want to know, “what’s next?” The world is your oyster, right?

There’s a perception that college is the best place for us to be: safe, protected and sheltered.

But is it really?

The way I see it, college is a four, sometimes five, course meal, not an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Eventually, we all have to get up from the table and set a place setting for the next group bright-eyed leaders thirsty for knowledge…hungry for enrichment.

Throughout each course of our college experience, we learn to appreciate the small things: the pomp and circumstance of President Barack Obama speaking at convocation, the Biblical-like truths from our favorite African-American studies professor or the melodic sounds of our friends coming out on the yard.

We learn to make tough decisions and live with the consequences: dropping that class might mean an extra semester in school.

We also get to look forward to those not-so-tough decisions:  an alternative spring break service project in the Ninth Ward or “livin’ la vida loca” in Miami with your floor-mates. Decisions. Decisions.

As you consider your life’s next phase, remember these tips: set clear goals from the beginning, network outside of your comfort zone and go to class! The last one is a given, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t take heed.

Avoid pitfalls like cutting corners and procrastination. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them.

Finally, live your dreams. You only get one undergraduate experience so shoot for the moon. Take those taekwondo and fashion merchandise classes that you’ve always wanted to take. Just be sure they don’t deter you from your goals.

If you’re like me and sat at college’s proverbial table a little longer than you should have, I implore you to get up. Leave some “food for thought”  for the next generation. As a matter of fact, bring three or four deserving people to the table.

College is a great place to be for a time. After that, there are better places to be. Trust me!

Give H.O.P.E. Live H.O.P.E.

LaToya Archibald
Community Alliance Coordinator
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship