Dear Post-Grads,

For many of you, I’m sure your cap and gown (and/or hood) are all packed away, and you’re patiently waiting for your degree to arrive in the mail. You made it! You should be proud of yourself, but these feelings are fleeting away. Your bank account and the bevy of emails from Sallie Mae serve as a reminder that you’re not quite out of the woods yet. Now comes the hard part….finding a job! I know, I know, you’ve sent out tons of applications, networked your little heart out and still nothing. Now you’re in a funk because you’re dreading summer visits back home where you’ll have to answer the incessant questions about your state of employment from your family, friends and associates who saw your graduation pics posted on Facebook. To top it all off, no one can seem to stop talking about the state of the economy (blame the pending election) or how lazy, shallow and self-serving we millennials are.

I’m here to offer you some advice: Purchase or stream track 10, entitled “Freedom” from Beyoncé’s critically acclaimed album Lemonade. This song will lift your spirits and remind you why you should keep fighting the good fight. The lyrics “I’mma keep running ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves,” stand out tremendously. These prophetic words dance around my ears and throughout my mind long after the song has finished playing. Those anthemic words inspire me to keep trying and never give up despite the challenges I may face along the way.

Think about it, how many times did Michael Jordan miss the game winning shot? Many! How many times did Oprah hear ‘no?’ Plenty! How many times have you heard ‘no?’ I’m sure enough to fill your studio apartment. Don’t focus on the ‘no’’s, concentrate on carving a path to your ‘yes.’ All of your efforts will pay off, but you will only know the value of the ‘yes’ once you’ve heard a few ‘no’’s.

I moved from rural North Carolina to the D.C. area six years ago after securing an opportunity — after a year of applying/interviewing — in the area and have been doing well ever since. Like you, I took the plunge and went back to school. Now I’m a post-grad anticipating what is to come. We all have down days, but don’t dwell on the negative or give up. Life’s a journey, so keep running. Who knows, you might just be a black Bill Gates in the making…

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