RISKY BUSINESS



By now, you know that most of my success in my life comes from making bold moves and decisions. That's why Bold is the first "B" of Phorbe. I took a chance and applied to Chapman. I took a chance and asked the president of the university to help me fund my trip to Italy, while I was still studying abroad in Australia. I took a leap of faith and quit my well paying job to become a full time rideshare driver and start Phorbe.


Just in case you haven't grasped how important it is to take risks in your life by stepping out of your comfort zone, doing something that'll hurt your ego, or being the first to do something, I've listed four more of my own personal examples here.


Success is unattainable if you're unwilling to do everything it takes to reach your goals.


Queen Maree's 4 Riskay (yes riskay) Examples of Being Bold


1. Finessing my Financial Aid

So, when I first got to Chapman, my tuition was about $52,000 including my room and board. I came in with $6,500 that I had won my senior year at Fullerton Union High School. However with all of my scholarships and financial aid, I came up short $5,000 for the year. Of course, this was a stressful situation. I had no idea how I was going to come up with $5,000 especially since I was just talked into quitting my job a Knott's Berry Farm/Knott's Soak City.


It just so happened that my Resident Advisor was apart of a co-ed business fraternity called Alpha Kappa Psi. He spoke so highly of it that I decided to rush my freshman year. I was too much of a go-getter for them and was dropped halfway through rushing process, but not before I met an incredible Chapman Alumna named Cherri. Cherri told me exactly what to do in order to get the extra $5000 for the year covered. She told me the name of a woman in Finacial Aid who I should speak to. She told me to go to Financial Aid, ask for that woman, tell her my story, and see what will happen.


I was so terrified to do this. No one wants to beg anyone for help or money. But I was running out of options. I had asked my grandmother to take out a loan for me and she refused. I had asked my dad and he was denied. This was my last hope.


I went to the financial aid office the next day, spoke to the woman Cherri mentioned, and within 10 minutes not only was my financial aid gap filled for that year, but it was overfilled (meaning I got a return check every semester of $500-750) for that year and the remaining four years I would be at Chapman; including my year abroad.


2. Black Graduation

After experiencing lots of racial profiling in Australia and Italy, I came back to America ready to fight the power. I joined Chapman's Black Student Union my senior year as the Secretary. I ran for president my super senior year, however I wasn't popular enough and ended up winning the Chair of Social Programming Committee. I was appalled at how someone less qualified than me could get elected President over myself and decided to make the best out of the situation and put on the best programming year Chapman BSU has ever seen.


We threw a bomb opening weekend, held a bruncheon with staff and faculty, put on the first ever MLK Social Justice Awards, and made history by planning and executing the first ever Chapman Black Graduation.


Although my programs were lit, I was having a lot of trouble behind the scenes. Once again, I'm too much of a go-getter and that was rubbing the executive board member's the wrong way. On top of that, Chapman University struggles with social justice issues. At the time, I was planning Black Graduation there were a lot of things going on that was dividing the campus. Basically, the University's population mimicked life in America right now. Once Black Graduation was announced, it was met with a lot of backlash. Lots of past and current students though Black Graduation was a segregated ceremony. However, Black Graduation is just away to recognize African American students for not only getting their degree, but getting their degree and beating all the odds that are stacked against them.


Between fighting with the exec board and going back and forth with campus and administration Black Graduation almost didn't happen. It was a lot of pressure and hard work on top of two thesis classes, taking care of LeLand, looking for a job, working two jobs, and preparing for graduation. I have to send a shout out to my ride or dies Amanda, Siedah, and Dr. Kimberly White Smith for helping me, encouraging me, and ultimately throwing the MOST lit graduation ceremony Chapman has ever seen.


3. Becoming LeLand's Guardian

This one was a doosey. When I moved into the dorms of Chapman University, I wasn't as happy as I thought I would be. I felt a lot of guilt for leaving my mom and brother behind. This guilt was always amplified whenever my brother came to visit me or whenever my mom tried to guilt trip me into letting them stay with me in my dorm room. There were dozens of incidents with my mom every year where I would loose roommates or there was one incident where I almost lost my position as a resident advisor and so on. My mom was escorted off of the campus three times yelling, kicking and screaming.


My freshman year, my good friends Josh and Kayla tried to warm me that I needed to take LeLand out of environment he's in so that he could thrive. I wasn't ready then. My sophomore year, a couple of months before I was to leave for Australia, my mom was escorted off of campus and another good friend and mentor Dr. Richard Marks tried to talk me into staying home and taking LeLand in. I still wasn't ready to hear him.



So I went abroad. While I was abroad, there was an incident where my mom and LeLand got separated that ended in LeLand getting arrested and spending the weekend in a Juvenille Correction Facility. He was charged with misdemeanor theft and sentenced to probation. My heart dropped when I heard that news. Still, even when I came back home from Italy and had a moment to sit and get the whole story from him, I couldn't fathom taking care of him full time.


Then there was one last incident with my mom over Spring Break 2014. I spoke to the Associate Dean of Students and I told her that I was seriously thinking about becoming LeLand's guardian. She then told me the words I needed to hear, Chapman would support me in any way possible. They would even provide me with housing for LeLand and I.


I still put the situation off. I was terrified. I had no idea what it would mean to become someone's guardian. I was still getting to know who I was, outside of being homeless. Everyone who I spoke to, everyone who told me to do it made it seem like it would be so easy. But they wouldn't have been the ones taking care of LeLand. So again, I let my fear of the unknown get the best of me.


Until LeLand called me and told me that my mom had asked his football coach to lend her money so that they could move back to Alabama with my grandparents. She's done this before. We moved back to Alabama in the Summer of 2008 and because of that move, my school schedule was messed up and I almost didn't graduate on time. I had to do a lot of Summer school to catch up to my class. I couldn't let that happen to LeLand. So, on July 11, 2018 LeLand and I walked four miles to the courthouse to file a petition for guardianship.


I still had no idea what I was doing, I was still terrified. But I finally decided that helping LeLand to succeed was more important and far outweighed my fear!


4. Asking my Landlord for a Payment Plan

As you know, last year, after my third accident I had trouble paying my rent. My landlord knowing the situation, proceeded with an eviction case anyways. When I finally found a job, the first thing I did was email him and ask him for a payment plan.


Everyone told me that this plan wouldn't work. My mentors, people at my church, even LeLand was doubtful. A woman at church even took me aside to tell me that running a property is a business. My landlord had no time to think about the reasons why I couldn't pay my rent, he could only think about the costs he was accruing because my rent wasn't paid. But I was determined to set this right. So, I kept hounding my landlord. It took us talking in person during mediation on the day of our court hearing for them to agree to a payment plan. The plan was steep, and outrageous, but we all know how the rest of this story goes.


"Sheep are safest when their feet are planted firmly on the shore. But that's not what they were made for."


Making bold decisions or doing something risky is scary. It is. But until you're willing to step outside of the bog and change the mold you're going to be stuck in the box struggling with everyone else who's living bland, boring, and unfulfilling lives.


Where would you rather be? Let me know in the comment section below.


It's a beautiful day to Conquer the world, so be riskay, go forth, and slay!

-Queen Maree

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON JULY 24, 2018