During this past year, many students have had to overcome many changes, especially seniors with plans for senior prom and graduation. For me, this journey has been full of twists and turns, but I’m proud to say that on Saturday, December 11, I will be graduating with honors from the illustrious Hampton University with my BA in Strategic Communications. It’s been a long time coming, so let me tell you a little bit about my journey. 

I decided at 15 that I wanted to attend Hampton, so in high school, I did everything within my power to make that happen.  I got my acceptance letter the weekend of my 18th birthday, which I’ll never forget. I started taking my college courses at Hampton weeks after graduating from high school in May 2017 by enrolling in their pre-college summer program which took place on campus in June and July. 

When I started my Hampton journey, I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted my college experience to look like. I knew what I wanted to major in and that I wanted to study abroad in a French-speaking country. I even had an idea of what clubs and organizations I wanted to be a part of from attending the annual High School Day event, and how I wanted my dorm room to be set up and decorated. I had a plan, but when I actually began my college journey almost everything changed.  

I ended up studying abroad my sophomore year fall semester in my father’s country, which was the last place I expected to end up and I did not know was even an option. That led to me choosing to minor in Liberal Studies, and since I focused on my minor courses while abroad, that postponed my ability to take the courses for my major. This ended up being a setback of sorts and led to me graduating in December instead of May of this year. But you learn through all of this, what it means to remain flexible. You have to be able to be willing to adapt throughout your respective journeys. I also knew that nothing would deter me from this goal of mine.

That’s my Hampton journey, in a nutshell. And you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. By graduating later than my peers, I was able to get time back on campus that was lost over the past year, and create new relationships with people who I would not have met otherwise. I’ve also been able to have access to academic and professional opportunities that I would have missed out on if I had graduated on time. I chose to see the good in my detour. A positive mentality in most cases is what will get you through the obstacles that life is sure to pelt at all of us.

The moral of my story is this, learn to trust the process. What’s meant for you is for you, so don’t compare your journey to the journey of others. 


Lydia Makondo is a Senior Strategic Communications Major Liberal Studies Minor attending Hampton University. She loves storytelling and sharing the stories of others through various platforms. She has a brand called The HBCU Experience where she shares the culture, history, and legacy of HBCUs on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. As a graduate, she plans to continue her studies in business and communications and will begin working in those fields while pursuing her Ph.D. in education. Check out these and her other initiatives on Linkedin and Instagram