After four long years of hard work and dedication at my illustrious institution, Clark Atlanta University, I was finally eligible to cross the stage changing my status from student to alumna.
While I had heard of graduation miracles like debt being washed away or loans being paid off, I did not expect this to happen to me, although I hoped and even wished a few times when the clock fell on 11:11.
This year, Aisha “Pinky” Cole was our commencement speaker. I was excited because I enjoy her food from Slutty Vegan, she’s a Clark alumna with the same major as me and I have enjoyed watching her journey during my time at CAU. She was the success story that I felt looked like me. I had heard her speak before and was moved, so I knew her speech would be exactly what I needed before hitting “the real world.”
She did not disappoint.
I resonated with her anecdotal speech and truly ingested her acronym ‘FAIL,’ which stands for Finding Aspiration in Losses. When she stated, “I want you to fail so hard, you become an expert in failure and you get a Ph. D. in Failology,” I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, like where is this going. I knew she would tie everything together, but I did not know she would give us the tool to do it ourselves.
“I didn’t have a plan, but I’m going to make sure that you do,” Cole told us, and provided the entire graduating class with LLCs (limited liability corporation) in collaboration with Varo Bank.
We now have the opportunity to jumpstart our journeys as entrepreneurs. While everyone doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur, which is natural, the students who do have a chance to create their own wealth.
This gift allowed me and my family to think about business concepts, talk about generational wealth and opened doors for new opportunities. I have been an entrepreneur since elementary school; I would sell candy and drinks out of my lunch box, whatever, to make enough for whatever I wanted. I lost that spirit in college. I was busy trying to start my career, focus on school which was across the country from home, maintain a decent GPA, get into grad school, manage my school newspaper, and focus on the community service organization I founded. And if you know me, you know I cut the list short.
Now, I’m writing a business plan because I want to make the best out of what I was given. Who knows, what if I create a billion-dollar business like Pinky? And if I don’t, I know failure is not an end-all because to FAIL is to Find Aspiration in Losses.