(Pictured: Alice Walker)
By: Jimeria Williams and Luckey Merritt
J: Establish your own perception of success. Success is not confined to the context in which it is portrayed in the U.S. media—it does not merely contain materialistic value. Dismantle your perception of success, as socialized by Eurocentric principles. Identify your desires, and begin your journey to success by tailoring your actions and reactions to your terms of happiness.
L: Set the highest attainable goals for yourself. You must establish personal goals in order to be successful, but ensure they are realistic. Goals are intended to push you to reach your greatest capability. Stay focused and do not lose sight of your end goal—envision attaining success and plan accordingly to do so.
J: Prepare to fail. Understand that greatness does not exist without struggle. Inevitabilities naturally occur, and will sometimes prevent your immediate access to desires. Avoid experiencing discouragement and defeat in failed situations by always putting forth your best effort and understanding that trying your hardest is all you can possibly do. Your experience of success is shaped by how you react to hindering occurrences. Recognize failure as a milestone which merely interrupted your trail to achievement—carry on.
L: Build a network among others who are similar to you. The people with whom you associate yourself have a great influence on your actions and the decisions you subconsciously make. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and goal-oriented to ensure you are supported on your path to success.
J: Build a network among others who are different from you. Understanding others’ difference in experience and background makes a significant contribution to your personal development. Building relationships with others who do not share similar experiences will broaden your holistic perspective. Approach these relationships and new concepts with an open mind—avoid complacency in your current practice of life. Learn and do not be afraid to adopt methods from others which are appropriate for your lifestyle.
J: Seek mentorship. Identify the presence of the woman whom you aspire to be in another woman. Build a significant mentor-mentee relationship with her in order to receive the best guidance toward becoming the best you. Clearly convey what you want from the relationship and allow your objective to heighten as time increases to avoid complacency of the relationship.
J: Identify your talents and deficiencies. Focus on exhibiting your strengths in all areas opposed to leveling your deficiencies with your talents. Advance both your strengths and weaknesses. Place a higher emphasis on enacting your talents to your utmost ability which will advance your success most efficiently.
J: Be healthy. Health disparities are predominant within Black communities due to a plethora of determinants such as hereditary contributions, inadequate access to healthcare, and a lack of access to quality and healthy foods, to name a few. Lessen your chance of experiencing health disparities by:
- Being familiar with your family’s history of health issues and how it affects you
- Understanding your body’s needs to apply them to your health plan
- Eating healthy foods.
J: Liberate yourself. Become a free-thinking woman through education. Understand the impact that socialization has on your life and the ways you adhere to these concepts. Intersectionality is a term expressed as the overlapping of two or more oppressions which shape one’s experiences. Because you are a Black woman, you are subject to overlapping oppressive experiences based on your identification with two targeted groups, first as a Black person, and secondly as a woman (not including other areas of oppression). Become well-versed with social concepts such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious oppression, disableism and ageism. Your consciousness will reshape the context in which you see the world around you, leading to the way you approach existing within it.
J: Lead and serve. The Black community is the most underserved community within the United States of America. The negative factors impacting this community are multifaceted and everlasting. It is your duty, necessarily once you have established success, to advance the condition of Black life. Your commitment to social justice is not limited to the assistance of Black people, however your contribution is mandatory.
Proverb: [Editor’s note] “The most potent weapon of the oppressor, is the mind of the oppressed”- Steven Biko. A women of color who can liberate herself with knowledge of the world, and more importantly have complete respect and love for herself, without hearing the judgements of others, will be a catalyst of change and the foundation of world continuity.
Jimeria Williams is a rising sophomore dual degree engineering and mathematics major from Leeds, Alabama who attends Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Luckey Merritt is a rising sophomore mathematics major from Statesboro, Georgia who attends Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.