It ain’t college, it’s the real world!

It’s that time of the year… the glimmer and glam pave the way from prom to the pomp and circumstance of graduation as girls are marching beyond high school, off to realize dreams. And as a great number of our girls continue to march their way on to college campuses, far too often they do so guided by the philosophy that a college degree will be their passport to the real world. It’s true, a college degree does afford entry into greater opportunities. However, we have got to halt the perpetuating send off that says personal control over their livelihood is on hold until they return home from a 4 year stint of academic and social revelry.

The truth is,  without getting too deep into the metaphysical, the moment they leave home and have to make choices independent of parental direction or adult dictation, girls (or more appropriately young women) have stepped into their real world.

When I made my transition to college, I remember clinging desperately to lessons from the closest ideal of college life I had, the television hit show, A Different World. That show dealt with almost every possible issue a Black girl could experience on college campus.

Just like then, we should equip girls with a few key beliefs as they make their way in the real world. While A Different World is still a media resource full of lessons for our girls heading off to college campus, they also need a dose of reality. Here is a vital list of mind sets our girls must adopt when heading to college real world:

Be enterprising: tap into an innate gift and skill set to earn supplemental income while away at college. From fashion design, hair and nails, blogging, makeup, tutoring, photography there are tons of ideas for dorm room enterprise. This income can be used at their discretion to fund clothing and personal hygiene expenses; spring/summer break excursions; or general expenses. Furthermore, this is money that can be saved for major investments right after college. Think first home, relocation, car, stocks.

Be a conscious consumer: Never too early to learn this! But college is definitely an opportune time to harness power over the dollars young women spend. Take a critical lens to brands which attempt to influence loyalty without much accountability nor personal return. Look at the brands that support causes and community initiatives that are relevant to you as a consumer. And take special note of brands that offer paid interns to college students like you.

Have an open mind: There are millions of perspectives and viewpoints beyond what you were raised around. Be open to gaining new experiences and getting to know people from various backgrounds whose beliefs and perspectives may be completely different than what you are familiar with. Expand your perception.

Be intentional: There will be plenty competing for your time and attention. Everything from classes to social clubs to campus involvement. Be sure whatever you devote your time to is intentional and aligned with the goals you have set for yourself. Joining organizations, like a sorority, should be given careful consideration so that it is not about popularity or hanging out, but connected to your future career and community service goals. Even your travels and breaks should be intentional. Yes, it would be fun to party in Miami for Spring break, but remember you can gain some international exposure as well. Many universities offer study abroad courses; perfect for those looking to secure a career in foreign relations, global diversity, government, teaching, etc.

Be healthy! Your health is real from the moment you take your first breath, and it becomes all the more important with every new plateau you reach. The “freshman 15” is real…mentally and physically your body must adjust to its new environment. Weight gain, stress, new sleeping patterns all have an impact. Stay fit. Take advantage of your campus recreation and health care facilities.

Be protective…and selective! Take precautions to become familiar with your campus  AND surrounding areas. Being on college campus does not mean young women will be immune to real world risks. From natural disasters to sexual relations, young women MUST be prepared. Become familiar with emergency plan on school’s website. Know safe routes when walking alone or at night. Be aware of areas off campus that may pose risks such as robberies, rape, etc. Observe new acquaintances to see who is trustworthy, as well as to see who exhibits self love. Be wary of those who have destructive tendencies (drinking, drugs, bad study habits). Also, be proactive in your intimate relationships. Protect yourself. Remember STI’s and unplanned pregnancy are most high on college campuses. Dating violence is also a factor, so again be keenly aware of acquaintances and their behaviors. Have your safe stash with emergency money, condoms, up to date prescriptions for medications, emergency contacts and numbers.

A few websites to check out for safety:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

The SIWE Project

Planned Parenthood

Black Youth Project

Federal Emergency Management Agency

This list is just a start. What else should be included? What words of wisdom should our girls pack in their luggage heading to their “real world?” Share in the comments below.

Oh and just for fun, here are a few of my favorite “life-lesson” Different World episodes:

 

Advertisements

Holiday shopping with Girl-preneur power!

One of the biggest honors of 2013 was the opportunity Girls Like Me Project had to foster the independent spirit of girls like me by supporting businesses of  girl-preneurs.

There is mutual pride that comes from investing and empowering our girls through enterprise and economic development. This blog post is dedicated to all the girls who dare to dream a dream, and those who are legacy builders.

The girl-preneurs featured below have provided services and/or donated items to support GLMPI giveaways and raffles.

Please help support their dreams and consider shopping with them for the holiday season and beyond. Here are our favorite girl-preneurs!

76068_360882800709431_504434997_n

Angel Beasley of Angel & Co.

Little Angel is indeed an earthly Angel! She started her business by the time she was 10 years old. Today her sweet, soft voice is reflective of the care she puts into her business Angel & Co. ; a multi-division company which offers Cookn’ Cookies by Angel; Heavenly Scents by Angel; and Designer Angel Origami Owl.  She is a big power broker in a small package! Visit Angel & Co. website and make a purchase, or book her for your next vendor event!

Amaya Anderson 13 Freshman AngelFace Collection™ by Amaya

1372128635

AngelFace Collection by Amaya is an accessories company. All items are handmade and uniquely designed with your individuality in mind. Man or woman, boy or girl, sports or formal, AngelFace Collection by Amaya is here to accessorize you.

She’s always loved arts and crafts and needed a way to make money. She saw some jewelry at a market fair and decided she would make her own and sell it for profit.

AngelFace Collection custom item

AngelFace Collection custom item

AngelFace Collection bracelets

AngelFace Collection bracelets

The name of the company is inspired by her nickname given to her by her deceased maternal grandmother. Visit AngelFace Collection online to make your purchase today! 

GLMPI would be remiss if we did not highlight the business of a woman whose selfless giving and community responsibility only enhances her enterprising spirit!

Ms. Peggy Riggins of Soul Purpose

561280_518759218160082_1807241337_nPeggy was so very generous  to provide the products and service to deliver hand massages at the first GLMPI Pampered Power Talk. We cannot thank her nor promote her business enough. Not only because she has been so generous, but because she truly believes in creating opportunities to empower girls and women.

1269648_642516492448306_1625552622_oShe is a gracious and humble servant, one who believes in giving back to the community. You can support Peggy in the Holiday season or for your self-care regime needs. Her products are perfect for special gifts and tokens of appreciation. Also, keep Peggy in mind for fundraising partnerships. Visit her website to find out more information and to get your pamper shopping on!

Girls Like Me Project, Inc. is so very proud of each of these Girl Power-Girl Preneurs and we look forward to partnering and supporting them in bigger ways in 2014 and beyond!