My student conversation this week is with Kenya Johnson, a recent Howard University graduate. We chat about how starting to prep for college as a 9th grader; making college visits; being clear about what she desired and required; and starting to mine for scholarships as her part-time job, as a high school senior, paid off big time. Planning smart before she even started made all the difference!
During our conversation, Kenya shared what she’s up to now, her colleges of interest, scholarships she applied for, and some of the choices she made along her undergraduate journey. I’ve included a summary and links below:
As a high schooler, she benefited from participating in the Duke Tip Program, a nonprofit organization that has served over 2.8 million academically talented students in grades four through twelve since 1980. Each year, Duke TIP enrolls nearly one hundred thousand new students in its talent searches. TIP’s talent searches help these gifted students assess the extent of their abilities with above-level testing, recognize them for their achievements, and provide them with a variety of enrichment benefits. 


Here’s a quick summary of what contributed to her successful college launch:

  • Family support – many in her family began talking about the importance of education early and often
  • She started looking at colleges in the 9th grade
  • She started visiting campuses in the 11th grade to see for herself what each college offered, the environment, culture, etc.
  • She was decisive and knew early on what mattered to her – she knew what she required and desired
  • She talked to folks who attended the colleges she was interested in applying to attend
  • She was open to having new experiences
  • She approached mining for scholarships like it was her part-time job; she established a process and committed to it, spending time everyday either applying, writing essays or editing essays
  • She applied for 150-175 scholarships – both big money and small money awards

Kenya is inspired by the Zora Neale Hurston quote:

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

She considers herself, in her twenties, in the years where she’s asking questions and looks forward to the years that answer.

She also mentioned that she’s inspired by India Irie’s words from her song,  A Beautiful Day.

See lyrics and video clip below:

Life is a journey,
Not a destination,

There are no mistakes,
Just chances we’ve taken
Lay down your regrets cause all we have is now
Wake up in the morning
And get out of bed
Start making a mental list in my head
Of all of the things that I am grateful for
Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes new dreams new ways
I open up my eyes and
I open up my mind and
I wonder how life will surprise me today
Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes new dreams new ways
I open up my heart and
I’m gon’ do my part and
Make this a positively beautiful day
La la la la la la la la la [Repeat: x3]
It’s a Beautiful Day [Repeat: x3]
Life is a challenge not a competition
You can still smell the roses and be on a mission
Just take a moment to get in touch with your heart
Sometimes you feel like you’ve got something to prove
Remind yourself that there’s only one you
Just take a moment to give thanks of who you are
Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes, new dreams, new ways
I open up my eyes and
I open up my mind and
I wonder how life will surprise me today
Early in the morning
It’s the dawn of a new day
New hopes, new dreams, new ways
I open up my heart and
I’m gon’ do my part and
Make this a positively beautiful day
La la la la la la la la la [Repeat: x3]
It’s a Beautiful Day [Repeat: x2]
Let’s make this a wonderful
Let’s make this a powerful
Let’s make this a Beautiful Day
It’s a Beautiful Day
Life is a journey,
Not a destination,
There are no mistakes,
Just chances we’ve taken
Lay down your regrets cause all we have is now

Songwriters: India Arie / India Arie Simpson / Joyce Simpson / Nick Trevisick
A Beautiful Day lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Take a peek at RobbiCrawford.com where you’ll find a resource hub of freebies and paid services for students and their families who are eager to get unstuck and spend less time, effort and money on their educational journey.  

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YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE, CHOOSE CONSCIOUSLY!

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