AIU Blog

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Guest Article: Looking Back at My AIU Graduation

Guest article by:
R. D. Alexander
AIU Graduate (BBA) October 2010

Single mom, stressed out, broken dreams and a broken bank account. Rings a bell to anyone? The infamous high school dropout now falls in love with the idea of being a rock star, gets pregnant then runs home to mommy where a bed of post-partum depression is waiting on her. Still doesn’t ring a bell? How about this: My life simply started to suck.

So here’s the truth: I’ve always had a passion for two things; business and music. But I also had a passion for not finishing things. This very unhealthy characteristic helped lead me to being a high school dropout and then dropping out of my first attempt of getting my bachelor’s degree at a traditional college. Immediately after that, I decided to follow my dream of being the next big female superstar in music and make Atlanta my home.

It wasn’t too long after that when I realized that my passion for music had its downside – it’s called stage fright. I’m talking about being terrified of absolutely nothingness! Could I sing? Yes – and can still run with some of the best! But could I watch an audience full of people watch me do it? Sadly the answer is no. So then I thought to myself, maybe music isn’t my purpose, maybe it’s just another gift that I’ve been given. So what’s next? If not music, what can I successfully do?


After running home to my mom four months pregnant, it was then that I realized that I needed to finally get focused on being successful and creating a new normal now that it was no longer going to be just me. One of my dear friends from Atlanta, also a single mom, told me about American InterContinental University and a week later I applied. Not really knowing if I still had the skills to attend class and be studious, I went in feet first with my mom, my family and my faith in tow supporting me every step of the way.

It was during my last few classes that again, I began to lose motivation. But somehow, in a very divine turn of events, when I started my Bachelor of Business Administration program at AIU, my 60-year-old mother was also inspired to return to school after almost 40 years and get her degree from AIU as well. It was when she graduated with her Associate of Science in Criminal Justice that, in return, motivated me to finish my program.

In September 2010, with a degree under her belt, the most loving and supportive mother in the world, who had helped me fight through the hardest time of my life, was now fighting for her own life and placed on life support. And in October 2010, I had the opportunity to receive my very first degree ever. As I continued to hold back the tears during the graduation ceremony, I could not help but to walk across the stage at the Atlanta Civic Center as a tribute to all of the love, support and inspiration from my mother.

So to the graduates of this upcoming ceremony, know that you are not walking across the stage alone. You are walking shoulder to shoulder with everyone who has ever inspired you to push past your limits and achieve more during the toughest times of your life. So be encouraged! Because the rest of your life will be the best of your life!