Week 9- Catch Your Breath, And Keep Going


“There are more tears shed over answered prayers, than unanswered ones.”

-Truman Capote 


I almost had to quit school.

I was within 48 hours of having to withdraw from my program–with 8 weeks left to go.

My financial aid was non-existent. There was no one that I could borrow the money from.

Then, God stepped in.


Let me back up.


I had to get about $3700 together by October 10. I had paid $100 towards my tuition. This semester I haven’t been working, because my classes have all been day classes. Working nights is not possible because of day classes. So, every week–EVERY WEEK–has been done in faith.

Last week, last Thursday I was told by my school (University of Missouri-St. Louis) that I had to pay this money by that Friday, October 10th. It was Thursday, October 9th. I all but cried to the nice young man on the phone, pleading with him not to drop my classes due to non-payment.


This phrase has haunted my academic career! Haunted and hunted it. This is the crux of the BAB (Broke And Brilliant). My school told me that if I couldn’t come up with the minimum of $1888 (no without other unsaved activities–aka hoeing!) I could come up with $950. Which was knocked down to $850 after I paid the $100 on my bill. I had until 10/16 as the ABSOLUTE LAST DATE to pay this $1888.

I had to fight tears. I was so close, am so close. I am due to pick up my cap and gown in 2 weeks. I have been allowed to wear my father’s fraternity stole (Kappa Alpha Psi)! But I didn’t have the money. I talked to my best friend, assured her it was not a joke–I was on the verge of being put out–with mere WEEKS to go!

I was enraged!

My best friend said if she had the money, she would give it to me. I told her I wouldn’t ask for this. “But if you got $40, I’ll take it.” I was half joking. And then she sent it to me…

I talked to my Facebook girlfriends, Freck and Kellz. Freck told me to put my CashApp up and be sincere. Kellz told me to keep the faith. In that, with that, I got mad. I was stirred with this holy boldness–I made the appeal.

I asked my Facebook friends to help a chick stay in school. Meanwhile, I called everyone I knew! My sister, my mother, godmother, adopted aunts–anyone that I could get any money from! I was desperate. I didn’t want to quit.

I was scared…

My CashApp notifications started. My PayPal lit up. My fundraiser got traction. And a benevolent benefactor stepped up and paid the entire balance.

All $3678.46 of it. ALL OF IT!

I cried. I wept. I wept because there were people that saw my gift, my drive and my heart and gave towards it. Which rarely happens to me–I normally don’t get that kind of support. To to have it? Amazing.

With it paid…I went to class on Monday.

The monies given? They were funneled to the Be A Torch Sponsorship at The Ideal Firestarter. The blog I have run since 2016. Click here to become a Torch.

Dr. Jennifer P. Harris.

This title is, was, has been a secret I have kept in my heart. Since I was 16.

As a Junior in high school, I wanted to be an English teacher. I wanted to go to NYU. I wanted to be a professor. And I had really told no one. It just so happens, after everything that happened with paying tuition, I met with Dr. Kimberly Welch. The Monday after almost being put out.

She told me that I should think about grad school. And I had–and I had no idea what this meeting would hold. Or how deep it would go.

We spoke for an hour. Over an hour really.

I found out there is another way to get to my Ph.D. from my BD–without a MFA or MA in English. The greater part?  I have a professional mentor–Dr. Welch.

I know have to prepare to take the GRE. Prepare a writing sample. And push my gift, strengthening my academic writing. My Achilles’s heel. But the talent out weights the anxiety.

My career is not my call and the call my career.

I wanted God to give me guidance in this process…I wanted help to do this right.

And the Creator of the Universe and all therein, answered me.