Fatima Kebe is an industrial engineer and a member of Ford Motor Company’s “Thirty Under 30”, a philanthropic program working with nonprofit organizations to provide innovative solutions to their everyday challenges and increasing volunteerism among millennials.
I graduated from high school with a 4.6 G.P.A. Straight A's. Then in college, my first semester I had a 2.3 G.P.A. I realized that I was behind in a lot of areas and that I had to do something different.
It was overwhelming and surprising. It was the difficulty of college, and taking five classes at once. It was a defining moment for me—I had to re-balance myself. It was stressful, but the fact that I got through it was good.
Speaking to people and reading testimonies helped. I learned how other people go through similar things, especially when they first get to college. I was involved with the Minority Engineering Program. Some of those students were first-generation college students and went through similar experiences.
One of the things that I saw was how people were stressing themselves out, putting added pressure on themselves by feeling like they were not only disappointing themselves but also their families, friends, and mentors. Once I realized that, it helped me. I needed to do this for myself, not for anyone else.
Even if I failed and someone could look down upon me for failing, I no longer cared about what other people thought. That allowed me to appreciate the struggle, and focus on myself and the work that I had to do.