Finally! Reflecting back on the gradual, challenging, yet amazing journey I have been on to get here is completely unreal. I am officially a college graduate! I attended LIM College and studied Fashion Merchandising, which is related to the business side of fashion and in short pertains to the selling, promotion, distribution and buying of fashion products. It’s a profession that requires both – creativity and a business savvy mindset. I’ve been intrigued by fashion since my JHS days and to now be in a position where I’ve gained unique insights about the world of fashion, is a dream come true. Living and attending school in New York City has been a major plus as it has afforded me the opportunity to land some amazing internships in order to round out my education.
While graduating from a college or university is a huge deal in itself, for me it's an even greater accomplishment being a first-generation graduate and because I became a mother at the very young age of 16 (let that sink in). Wild, right? I had no idea what I was getting myself into at that time but when I learned I was pregnant, I knew early on that the only choice for me was to have my baby and face whatever set of challenges that were ahead. My daughter, Tiana or as we like to call her, TT is now 10 years old and saying that out loud startles me.
I would like to dedicate this post to the prevention of teen pregnancy since it is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). As a young mother, I certainly do not recommend this path but should you find yourself in that situation know that there will be setbacks, you will often be ostracized, you may have to sacrifice your social life, loose some friends, you might have to do it alone, but if you never loose sight of the goals you have set in place for yourself, you will come out stronger at the end.
I thankfully, had the support of my family for help when I needed it but I understand that this will not be the case for everyone therefore; I strongly encourage you to find a support system if you can whether that be through friends, school or some kind of community based organization and don’t be afraid to seek the help you need.
It took me a lot longer than four years to obtain my BA degree. I switched majors, took time off and attended a few of my semesters as a part-time student, but I did it in my own way and in my own time. So whatever goals you may have for yourself, acknowledge the small victories and go at your own pace.
If you’re a teen, young adult or would just like to learn more about what efforts are being made to prevent teen pregnancy visit www.stayteen.org and www.thenationalcampaign.org for information about the importance of prevention and making healthy choices when it comes to relationships, sex & birth control.
Photos by Martim Thomaz