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James Duncan

1835

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

Bio

My life goal is to give Glory to God by showcasing the talents he has given me and developing them.I've always loved history, economics and science. The reason is I want to know how things work and why. I have a passion for learning things not everybody knows. I want to be a leader and knowing what to do in certain situations could help save others lives and give them direction and hope in times of adversity. I love learning about how to account for, invest and save money. It is important to be a good steward over money because it can be a safety net and allow you and those around you to be worry free. What separates me from the other candidates? I don't want to be separated I want to build a better community. I believe anything I put my mind to I can do. My purpose is to use my talents to help others. It brings me joy when I can offer help to others in a meaningful way, even if it is just a word of encouragement. I know that by helping others, I don't have to worry about my needs being met. This is how we build our community. By controlling what we can, and taking care of our neighbors we build a better neighborhood. If everyone focused on that, I think the world would be a better place. My life and career has not been easy. I've worked odd jobs, and battled depression and anxiety. At times I felt like a failure. Even though I was low, The Most High had plans to bring me up. I want to be an example of what the Lord can do in your life. Through hard work planning and resilience, I have worked for some really cool companies but I still have a lot to learn.

Education

Georgia State University

Master's degree program
2022 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Accounting and Related Services

Georgia State University

Bachelor's degree program
2012 - 2017
  • Majors:
    • Finance and Financial Management Services

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Taxation
    • Accounting and Related Services
    • Finance and Financial Management Services
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Accounting

    • Dream career goals:

      Tax Accountant

    • AP Specialist

      PGA Tour Superstore
      2020 – 20211 year

    Sports

    Basketball

    Intramural
    2000 – Present24 years

    Research

    • Retail

      PGA Tour Superstore — AP Specialist
      2020 – 2021

    Arts

    • Self

      Music
      Today is All we Have
      2011 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Hands on Atlanta — Distributor
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Ruthie Brown Scholarship
    I believe the debtor is a slave to the lender. Since 2017, I have been fighting college debt like the plague. While I was working odd jobs and not making much money, I still made payments towards my student loan debt. I eventually got a full-time job in my career field. I continued to pay loans off while listening to Dave Ramsey, and read other financial books. For many Americans, the obligation to pay off loans can be frustrating when striving toward their financial goals. In Spring 2022, household debt reached over $15,000,000,000,000. Being debt-free is important to me because I will be able to help my parents as they reach retirement age and I will be able to protect and provide for my family when I choose to have one. I recently took on a second job to pay off my debt. The long hours and grueling schedule can take a toll on me but I know it is worth it. I also decided to return to school. I have been using my spare time to write essays and search for scholarships. At times I get discouraged but I know nothing is impossible with God. I've been watching videos and doing research on grants. I may have to take out loans for my first semester but I am happy to show what I can do. The average net worth for Black families is $24,100. This number is $164,100 less than the median net worth for white families. This is partly due to the amount of debt we take on and a lack of investment knowledge. According to Melanie Hanson of Education Data Initiative, Black college students owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than other ethnic groups. Black students are most likely to struggle financially due to student loan debt, with 29% making monthly payments of $350 or more. One possible solution for the discrepancy in net worth and homeownership is a personal finance course in community centers. The course would teach how to save, invest, and budget. It would also teach how to structure your business, apply for and maintain licenses, and finance your business. A prize can be awarded to students who show outstanding performance in the coursework with an application of the material in their own life. This program is a project I would love to work on. I would also like to see this program implemented in public schools, grades k-12. To do this, I have to become a subject matter experiment , and I would appreciate your help. I have been applying to scholarships, working and taking advantage of the forbearance period to get out of debt. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay and for the opportunity to be considered. I would appreciate any help you can provide so that it will be easier to help others in my community and achieve my goals.
    Health & Wellness Scholarship
    Health is something that you can't buy in the store. You can have all the wealth in the world but without health, you will not enjoy it. This is why health is crucial in living a successful life. Health is the synergy and well-being of one’s mind, body, and spirit. If one element is off the other elements will suffer. It may be difficult to tell which one is off balance. Part of maturing is learning how to balance your health with other goals you may have. To perform at the highest level maintaining health is vital. My mind needs to be challenged with new information and new books to read. It also needs time to rest, reflect, synthesize and store information for recall. My body also needs to have regular exercise which challenges my mind and my body to push past its perceived limitations. The body needs rest and proper nutrition as well to recover. Diet was the hardest challenge to overcome on my health journey. I had to figure out how many calories I should be eating. The next step was to find out what the macronutrient totals should be. I had to adjust to weighing my food and counting calories. After 4 years ,this habit has become almost second nature. I often compare weighing my food to brushing my teeth. Fad diets don't work but being in a caloric deficit does. I am thankful for all the resources I have learned from along the way and though I love the shape that I am in, I see my journey as a learning experience. An important component of taking care of the mind is not taking on too many tasks. I came to this realization while attending a business conference a few years ago. The speaker had us write down all the goals we wanted to achieve in life and then organize them in order of importance. He then told us to focus on the top 3 priorities. My areas of focus may change depending on my goals at the time. This strategy has been important for me because I can become overwhelmed by trying to achieve all my goals at once. A contributor to my mental health is doing things that I am passionate about. I also spend time in nature, appreciating its beauty and meditating on different ideas and philosophies. This allows me to digest all the information and reflect on my life. A factor in my mental health is the relationships that I create and maintain. It has been said that you will be the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. To avoid becoming someone that I do not want to be, I ask myself if the person I am interacting with has similar goals. This has helped me avoid being around dangerous or stressful situations. If they are not aligned with my goals, these relationships can only distract me. It is important to audit existing relationships as well and always evaluate if the relationship has a positive impact on my life. As you can see, maintaining my health is simple but not always easy. We may not have been taught all the various components of health in school, but as adults it is our responsibility to educate ourselves. I will continue to grow in my learning and application of new health knowledge so that I can teach my family, friends, and those around me. If we have stronger and healthier people we will have a stronger and healthier community. It may not be easy but it is worth it.
    Bold Wise Words Scholarship
    There is no knowledge above the Most High. I'm not sure exactly where I heard it but has brought me peace and understanding. I've studied different religions and other modalities but they could not bring me peace. I often read the words of Solomon and glean something new every time. Proverbs 26:4 says "Answer not a fool according to his folly lest thou be like unto him." This proverb has deep resonance because it easy for one to get trapped in war of words with someone who is ignorant of a subject and is arrogant about their beliefs. It is better to leave them alone, and spend your time doing something more productive. What I find interesting is that the next line tells you to do the opposite.Proverbs 26:5 says "Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own conceit". Meaning if someone is doing something in correct, you should try to correct them or they will be prideful in doing things the wrong way. These two lines point out that there is nuance in every situation in life, and that you should be flexible in how you address them. Correction may be seen as constructive by one person and corrosive by another. There is wisdom in knowing when to give advice and when to let people figure it out on there own. I know you were not looking for a Bible essay, but I can't recall any wiser words than what I find in the Bible. Every time I read them I get a new meaning or greater depth of understanding. The world is chaotic, ever-changing and sometimes scary. One thing that will never change is God and His word. Peace comes when you submit to His law and know he will comfort you.
    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    At 18, students have to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Without apprenticeship , many students take on thousands of dollars in debt. Some students will change their majors many times, not sure which career they want to learn about. Students' uncertainty about their career path stems from feeling pressured to choose which career they want to have. One aspect of our education system I would change is: teaching students trade classes in grade school. Skills learned in carpentry and home economics seem antiquated but can have a profound impact on students' lives. Classes like HVAC, plumbing, landscaping and mechanics can help students earn a living while they determine which career path they want to travel on. We could also have counseling for high school students who need help discovering which career they are passionate for. According to Professor Brian Jacob in "What We know about Career and Technical Education in high school", Career and Technical Education has been declining for several decades.Jacob also states, “ a growing perception that all young people should be encouraged to obtain a four-year college degree, led to a sharp decline in CTE participation.” Funding for CTE is declining and students are receiving a one-size-fits-all education. This will only lead to frustration, unemployment, and massive student loan debt. We can take corrective action by showing students they should only go to college if their chosen career path requires it. We can encourage students to self-examine and think about what they are talented at or have passion for at an early age. Vocational classes or boot camps can be offered to middle and high school students with a particular interest in certain careers. Bootcamps and classes may cause students to become better students once they become galvanized by the goal of becoming a professional in a field they are passionate about. At 18, I was told that being a college-educated professional was the best option for me. I had an idea of what field I wanted to be in, but for many, this is not the case. This point in American history is crucial to the development of the future. Is our current education system producing a better future, or is it producing more debt? If we can solve this issue, we can soar to greater heights. If we fail to solve this problem, calamity is sure to come. Jacob, Brian A. “What We Know about Career and Technical Education in High School.” Brookings, Brookings, 9 Mar. 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-we-know-about-career-and-technical-education-in-high-school/.
    Healthy Living Scholarship
    Health is simple but not always easy. Health is the synergy and well-being of one’s mind, body, and spirit. If one element is out of balance, the other elements will suffer. It may be hard to tell which one is off balance if you did not receive the tools to do so when you were younger. Part of maturing is learning how to balance your health with other goals you may have. Learning about health has become an integral part of life. The spirit is paramount because every thought and action flows from there. My spirit is the energy I naturally carry and the essence of who I am. I revitalize my spirit with regular spiritual practice.Spiritual practice instills character and core values that will drive my actions. My spiritual practice involves reading the Bible, listening to gospel music, and fellowship with like-minds. These actions reinforces the values I have, I can ask questions, and I can be corrected when I make a mistake. Once I developed my core values and sense of identity, I focused on my mental health. Mental health tends to be the most challenging for most people. The aspect that has been the most challenging is taking on more than I can handle. Someone once made the analogy that the brain is a computer with tabs open. If you have too many tabs open, your computer will run slower than it should.I combat memory overload by having only 3 or 4 areas of focus at once. I realized this while attending a business conference a few years ago. The speaker had us write down all the goals we wanted to achieve in life and then organize them in order of importance. My areas of focus may change in priority depending on my current goals. My current goals include; finding a way to pay for grad school, developing a better social life, and developing a better relationship with God and my family. A contributor to my mental health is doing things I am passionate about. I practice this habit by reading books on history, science, or playing basketball. I also spend time in nature, appreciating its beauty and meditating on different ideas and philosophies. Pondering ideas allows me to digest all the information and reflect on my life. In my experience, it is good to connect with nature and not think so much. Resting helps me overcome more challenges with the same amount of vigor as I had before. Another factor in my mental health is, the relationships that I create and maintain. Some say you will be the average of the five people you surround yourself with. I ask myself if the person I am interacting with has similar goals. This process has helped me avoid being around dangerous or stressful situations. If they do have similar mindsets, these relationships can only distract me. It is also necesary to audit existing relationships and evaluate if the relationship has a positive impact on my life. The final and most crucial component of maintaining mental health is submission. For me submitting to God’s will brings me peace. I know that things will go the way they should with hard work and dedication. If things do not go my way, I know that He will provide for me and that things will work according to his timing. Yeshua said in Matthew Chapter 6 verse 26, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns: yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not much better than they?” If you are not a spiritual person, you can find solace because you have done your best and let it be. Maintaining physical fitness is less challenging for me, but it is still essential. Lack of fitness, can affect my mental state. The main habit I have developed is exercising six days a week. I think it is important to move my body every day because I spend a lot of time sitting down. I look forward to feeling the pump in my muscles after lifting weights. I love pushing myself to the brink while doing cardio. The discipline used to exercise has helped me develop discipline and self-control in other areas of my life. This habit is crucial on days you don’t want to work out. I push myself as an exercise in character. The final component of physical health is diet. Diet was the most difficult challenge to overcome on my health journey. The key to a healthy diet was to figure out how many calories I should be eating. The next step was to find out what the macronutrient totals should be. I had to adjust to weighing my food and counting calories. After four years, this habit has become almost second nature, and I often compare it to brushing my teeth. I have learned fad diets do not work, but being in a caloric deficit does. I am thankful for all the resources I have learned. I love the shape I am in, but I see my journey as a learning experience. As you can see, maintaining my health is simple but not always easy. We were not taught all the various components of health in school, but it is our responsibility to educate ourselves. I will continue to grow in my learning and application of new health knowledge so that I can teach my family, friends, and those around me. Strong and healthy people means strong and healthy communities. It may not be easy, but it is worth it.
    Bold Optimist Scholarship
    Start with the end in mind. One way I stay the course when there are obstacles in my way is to envision my end goal. Obstacles may occur before achieving it but I think about how I will overcome those obstacles. I have a daily routine that gives me energy, and keeps me grounded. Keeping my spiritual health intact with reading Scriptures and gospel music revitalizes my mind. Once I feel rejuvenated, this gives me motivation to improve my physical health. I keep a journal that has my goals for the year, which is reevaluated every 6 months and I do check-ins with myself to see where I can improve. After studying history and the feats of great men, I realize that anything worth doing is not going to be easy. To be great requires great sacrifice and dedication. I am blessed to have a family that supports me. I read books on self development and autobiographies like; Think and Grow Rich, How to Win friends and Influence People, and Rich Dad Poor Dad to learn insights on mentality towards life and business. Be kind to oneself. Your mindset permeates everything you do. If there are obstacles in my life I have found it effective to turn self-criticism into constructive feedback on how I can get over them. I also do things that I am passionate about, so that I have desire to find a way to a solution. Instead of complaining, having a solution mindset has been how I have remained positive when setbacks occurs. Set backs will occur but I don't treat each issue like it's a sign of Armageddon. I have been able to step back and think about what needs to be done. Problems are like rain, they will not last forever.
    Bold Happiness Scholarship
    What makes me happy is to see an idea I have come to life. This can become a labor of love because I may not have all the skills to execute the idea at the time I thought of it. I then spend time talking with friends and others to see if they can help me bring it to life. This collaboration and input from others makes me happy because it seems like they are giving me their best. We are pouring our passion and knowledge into this great work that becomes bigger than us. I am an artist so most of my works are creative writing projects. It is great to see people appreciate something that I have crafted for months or even years. When someone tells me they like a certain song or line from my poetry, it feels good to know they took time to listen and think about what I was saying. It also makes me happy to make God and my parents proud. All of my works are the result of the talents and abilities God has given me. When I push myself and give my all to my passions, I feel I have used everything the Lord has given me. I want to make my parents proud, to show them the sacrifices they have made are not in vain. I also want them to enjoy the rest of their lives as they get older. I don't want them to worry about whether or not I will be successful and be able to take care of myself. I recently learned how to play the game Cashflow. Learning new things excites me because it allows me to travel down new avenues and opens my mind to the possibilities.
    Bold Simple Pleasures Scholarship
    During the week I keep a strict routine to accomplish my goals. My routine usually involves a lot of multitasking and I relish Friday where I can usually indulge in my simple pleasures fully. I usually start with a pre-workout meal biting into a chocolate donut No cow protein bar. After fighting the temptation to eat the whole box (sometimes losing), I begin working out. I exercise body parts I haven't focused on during the week for hours and this makes me feel a sense of relief. After my work out I usually play basketball which is my favorite sport, which allows me to be in a flow state. This is a feeling of synergy between body and mind that is rarely reached in day to day activities. After that I sit in the whirlpool, letting the jets massage my muscles until I enter a state of bliss. I leave the gym feeling like I've given my all, leaving no stone unturned. On the way home, I sing along to one of my favorite album's Voodoo by D'Angelo or MTVUnplugged2.0 Lauryn Hill. This makes me happy because I appreciate the artistry and the level of skill that it takes to make albums of such a high caliber. I enjoy trips to the museum to look at great pieces of art and enjoy the jazz music playing on special occasions. This makes me feel like the level of skill and attention I put in my work and in designing my life can be appreciated as well. I feel comforted and I forget about my day to day issues and find myself immersed in the messages the artist are expressing. I also enjoy learning about different cultures or information I did not know . This makes me feel alive.
    Bold Hope for the Future Scholarship
    The internet has the power to change lives. It can change our lives because people have access to information only few were privy to until recent history. There is vast amount of information on a myriad of topics. This makes learning easier for those who have a desire to. What makes me hopeful about the possibilities of the future is that the internet will have a huge impact on learning, business, and collaboration. One can now learn engineering from MIT professors at home. Elon's Musk's designs for the Tesla Model S are readily available to see for someone interested in studying it. Instead of spending hours in the library looking for the right book on ancient monolithic structures, one can have what they are looking for within seconds. With sites like Skillshare, Udemy, and MasterClass, one can now learn from world-renowned experts in any field at a low cost. People are using these avenues to question conventional ways of doing things and it has led to a modern renaissance. Being an entrepreneur is easier than ever before. According to George N. Root III of smallbusiness.chron.com “One of the more significant effects that internet has has on global markets for small business is the ability for small businesses to reach an international audience for a very low cost.” We now have the opportunity to go direct to consumer. This allows small businesses the ability engage in commerce internationally, providing more opportunities for ambitious business people today. Blockchain will change our finances . A digital general ledger that keeps track of everyone who has touched a piece of currency is one of the greatest changes in accounting and technology. This technology will have a huge impact on our financial system. Criminals will find it hard to hide how they make their money if every transaction is public. No longer would banks hold any currency, trading would be made easier without having to worry about exchange rates, and it will be easier to hold government officials accountable for their actions. Ease of access make Collaboration more effortless. This opens the door to more innovation. People can easily share files, have meetings and communicate with features like dropbox ,email, teams and skype. No longer does one have to travel long distances to meet with new people across the globe. Businesses can now expand their partners which could allow for better quality materials and or cheaper materials that would allow them to thrive. The ability we have to connect with others, to trade and learn would be unbelievable to our ancestors 100 years ago. With great power comes great responsibility but I think that we can handle any obstacles that may come our way. The world’s greatest minds can now meet on a zoom call, or livestream on Youtube for the world to see. I believe that we have only seen a fraction of what is possible.
    Bold Books Scholarship
    The Most inspiring book I've read would have to be the Bible. I tried to think of another book, but you asked about the most inspiring, so here we go. Compared to the other Gospels, John seems a little more personal. Here you have an eye witness account of the miracles of Christ and you are inspired to do His work. In Matthew Chapter 25 verser 42 through 46, Christ says "For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me." This will make you think twice about not giving that dollar to the homeless man on your lunch break. The idea is to live with empathy and a sense of understanding. Understanding that you are that the other person under different circumstances. There are so many lessons that can be gleaned from one book of this collection of many. In the book of proverbs Chapter 16 verse 18, Solomon states "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." What this means is that one should never think so highly of themselves they cannot take correction, taking on an arrogant spirit. You can see leaders who have fallen victim to arrogance and self-indulgence through out history such as Caligula and Nero. This has inspired me to always humble myself and listen to other 's advice.Not only is this book a book of wisdom, it is a book of inspiration to live a righteous life. The world may change it standards, but God does not. This is a manual for life.
    Bold Financial Literacy Scholarship
    Debt makes you a slave to the lender. Debt is a hole that is hard for many to climb out of. Total Money makeover has changed my life for the better. During the past two years I have been able to pay off several thousand dollars worth of student loan debt but it hasn't been easy. Debt has robbed me of the opportunity to put that money into investments that will help me generate money and retire early. Minimizing the amount of debt one accumulates is as simple as living within one's means which is easier to do with a budget. I have learned to create a budget every month and stick to it. It is important because this allows me to save interest on payments while paying off loans.During this time of student loan forbearance, it is important to pay off as much you can because it can save several years of interest payments. Making payment after payment without seeing progress can leave people depressed and desperate. Desperation and feeling trapped can lead people to do some vile and wicked things. That is the reason why we should avoid debt like the bubonic plague. I have dreams of one day being debt-free. Not having to wake up in a cold-sweat, screaming that Sallie Mae is coming to get me. Okay, maybe I haven't waken up in a cold sweat but it's something that is heavily weighing on my mind. I imagine a life where the only debt I have is a mortgage, and my mortgage is something I will only take 15 years or less to pay off. If you help me avoid student loans, I will be forever indebted to you...with gratitude.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    I have learned the hard way that self-care is a part of a successful life. A couple years ago I was working 2 jobs, and considering taking another one while working out 6 days a week. While traveling on the highway I found myself sometimes struggling to stay awake. One day while turning into a church parking lot, I was forced to consider self-care. It was a turn I had made a million times, I was not paying attention and a truck was speeding towards my passenger side. The impact was huge and the other car flipped over my car landing in someone's front yard. Luckily I was able to walk away from the accident without any injuries. The experience taught me to relax, get proper rest and not try to take on more than I could handle. Right now I don't just have a self-care day, I incorporate it into my daily routine. I usually start the day with prayer, a Bible reading and gospel music. I exercise daily, but listen to my body to determine how intense my work out should be. I try to get at least 6 and half hours of sleep every night (8-10 on the weekends). I spend time in nature and reflect on my week and lessons I learned, or simply enjoy nature. These habits have helped me recharge and have more vitality. I was obsessed with "hustle culture" and I've learned that extremes often do not work. The best solution lyes in the middle. To overcome obstacles it helps to stop, and rest from the work you have already done. Incorporating a spirit gratitude to God for what He has brought through can help you realize that He will help you overcome whatever challenges may lye ahead.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    Knowledge is sweet. Learning promotes the ultimate growth mindset. Since a child I've been studying ancient religions, history and philosophy to try understand why things are the way they are. Some of my favorite books include 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Think And Grow Rich, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. These books challenged ideas I had about the world and spurred me to implement certain philosophies to become successful. For example my life changed when I first learned of Steven Covey's (author of 7 habits of Highly Effective People) idea of the being proactive instead of reactive. Instead of focusing on what you cannot control, take responsibility for what you can control. Begin with the end in mind. Ask am I doing what you I was put on this earth to do and I am passionate about? Napoleon Hill (author of Think and Grow Rich) taught me to visualize my goals, write them down and the power of self-belief. You cannot achieve what the mind cannot conceive. The philosophies and modalities in these books helped me to overcome struggling to find a job after college and while juggling creating music. I saw myself being an accomplished polymath despite working in a soap factory for 8 hrs a day. I remember visualizing, and writing down my goals. I recently looked backed at them and was shocked that most of them became a reality. Another important lesson I have learned is to come from a place of understanding. This way of thinking is further expounded upon in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Although it is not always easy to do, my brightest moments came when I sought first to understand and not to be understood. I keep these concepts in mind which foster my growth mindset.
    Bold Make Your Mark Scholarship
    I want to build a school. I think the biggest gap between the wealthy and the poor is education. Not degrees, not certifications but true education. The word Educate comes from the Latin word Educere meaning " to led out." Most of today's schools do not "led out" or bring out the intelligence within students. Schools put in ways of thinking that do not promote critical thinking skills and practical knowledge. Due to this, the average 10 year old can tell you what a political party represents but cannot put together a budget. To create leaders and great thinkers it important to teach them skills and knowledge that can readily be applied to their lives. Skills learned in shop, and home-economics seem antiquated but can be implemented right away and have a profound impact on students lives. Instead of depending on McDonald's to feed them, children would be able to prepare healthier more nutritious options. Learning the basics of wood working in high school, children may discover they have a talent and passion for carpentry. By learning the basics of personal finance and accounting in middle school, they may be able to start businesses early and have a sense of purpose for the fields they want to study in high school and in college. I want to teach kids subjects that will change their lives. Our school system may have worked in the past, but it is not working now. With our economy uncertain, threats of war and possible recession on the horizon it is important to provide critical thinking and resilience in our children. It has been said that children are the future, lend a hand and let them lead the way. How can they lead the way if they don't know up from down.
    Bold Career Goals Scholarship
    I agree, thinking about your future can be daunting. This was the case when I younger and uncertain about which direction I should go. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and knew I wanted to start my own business, but was not sure what it would be. I received my bachelors in finance and ended up working in accounting. I developed a love for it. While working with clients preparing taxes, I was shocked at how little my clients knew about certain tax strategies. I decided to learn everything I could so I could help others become more financially savvy. My plan is to go back to school and study all aspects of accounting. Once I have a foundation in accounting, I want to start my own business. I want to help small businesses have a better understanding of their financials and help them tax plan. I believe that thriving small businesses will have a positive impact on the community. I also want to teach classes to kids and adults on basic accounting and personal finance topics like; budgeting, take-home pay, and sources of income. Learning these topics at a young age could help kids gain an advantage in their life and steer them away from common financial mistakes. My dream is daunting when I was more focused on the needs of my ego. It seemed like my work was never good enough. Now that I have a plan I know my work is worth-while and this helps me with obstacles that come my way. I write down my goals and strive toward them everyday. I ask that you help me along my journey so I can do the same for others.
    Bold Fuel Your Life Scholarship
    What fuels me is the hunger to learn. I'm always motivated to improve. I love learning about history because one can learn how certain things came to be and gain wisdom from learning from other's achievements and mistakes. Since I was a kid, I've always loved learning about people like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Julius Caesar. I spend a lot time reading self development books, watching videos on how to do new things and I am currently learning how to play piano. I've always thought that the idea of being a renaissance-man was cool. At times, trying to take on too much can be overwhelming and I have to remind myself "who can know everything?" St. Augustine once said trying to know everything is like trying to fit the entire ocean into a bucket with a whole in it. To unwind I spend a lot time at the gym, in nature and with my family. I enjoy taking trips to new places in the city and emersing myself in different cultures. A place that has become one of my favorite hang out spots is El Super Pan. Here I enjoy Latin music and dance, and learn about the Latin American culture. I also have taken trips to the Atlanta Beltline, being mesmerized by the city's skyline and the vibrant people in the city. Whether listening to live music at Bar Vegan or cruising down the beltline on a bike, I've learned that recharging is just as important as pushing the limits.You can learn just as much as from a conversation from a stranger as a book or blog post. Seeing things in realtime can solidify an idea in your mind. Balancing drive and rest has allowed me to learn even more.
    I Am Third Scholarship
    My why is being a fountain of knowledge for my family and community. This will allow me to provide for others and protect them from foreseeable hardships. Education is a tool that I use to edify my soul and to see how we are all connected. Through developing my talents, I shine light on my God-given talents and become a resource for others. By educating myself I can inform others, and encourage them to educate themselves on issues that are important for survival. My education in accounting can help people keep track of their expenses and plan for the future. It is important to have control of your finances because this will allow you to create projects that could change the world. Programs like the World Food Program and Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere require intricate planning and coordination. Without education on how finances work, operating these organizations would not be possible. I think it is important for children to be financially literate at an early age. I remember learning about the different type of coins, and their value in elementary school . We later went onto study subtraction, which plays a role in your take-home pay. I think that deductions to take-home pay are something that could be taught in elementary schools. We could also teach children the importance of saving a percentage of every check, and choosing to invest in companies with a proven track record of good performance. These ideas should not be hard to teach children and would have a positive impact on our economy and the lives of billions. By introducing personal finance classes to children, we can financially empower the next generation. Instead of being uneducated consumers, they can begin saving and developing good financial habits which change their quality of life. We have gym classes to teach the importance of physical fitness but fiscal fitness is also important in developing well-rounded productive individuals. So many adults struggle understanding and planning their personal finances, lamenting the fact they were not taught what to do when they were younger. By making personal finance a fundamental part of our education system, we can change the lives of many. With American household debt hitting 14.6 trillion as of the Spring 2021, we are facing a huge problem. We are mismanaging money, and living beyond our means. This makes it impossible to build wealth, causes fear and anxiety, and causes desperate people to do very strange and wicked things. We have the power to change that. I see 18 year old kids being able to pay for college themselves without taking out student loans. I see parents being able to buy their kid's first car without struggling to pay back loans. I see people taking vacations without having to pick between which bill they have to default on the next month. I see people being more willing to give, the homeless population drastically decreasing. I see community centers and booming local economies. I see most people retiring at the age of 40, and dedicating the rest of their lives to developing whatever talent they have, creating inventions and new ways of doing things. I am excited about the endless possibilities! It all starts will being financially educated. So I am asking you to please help me on my journey. Help me be a fountain of knowledge so that I can help change the world.
    Jae'Sean Tate BUILT Scholarship
    Hey Jae'Sean, I know what it feels like to be an underdog, to be counted out but still strive towards achieving your dreams. Thank you for taking the time to read this essay, you are making a huge impact on my life and the lives of others. I remember heading to McDonald's as a teenager, desperately trying to get a job. I was dressed in a suit my uncle had given me, wearing dress shoes. I had a resume and asked to speak to the hiring manager. I had already put in an application online, but wanted to make sure he received it. No call back. This was the case for me, throughout my teenage years and early twenties. I finally managed to get a job at Waffle House as a server. This was the first time I was making stable income. (it wasn't that much money, but it felt like it). I felt proud walking into the bank on a regular basis to make deposits. I was saving for my future. That semester I was working 35 hours, and going to school part-time. I managed to save enough to cover my living expenses and my books for the following year. I was really proud of myself and I was able to graduate the following semester with a degree in Finance. I no longer had to worry about cleaning other people's dishes, but being a server instilled in me an attention to detail, thinking ahead and a willingness to serve. I worked as a tax-preparer part-time and struggled to find my first major accounting role after college. I had several temp jobs, doing things I never thought I would do. Sometimes I felt depressed, anxious and uncertain about my future. Was my degree for nothing? The long nights studying, the student loan interest compounding, my parents questions about my future plans, it was a lot to deal with at 23. I'm sure you've faced pressures that could be overwhelming being an undrafted player, playing power forward at 6'4. We all have our own challenges but you seem to handle your own gracefully. I was not battling for rebounds but it seemed I was facing Goliath with no sling shot. Through my faith in God and finally submitting to His will, I started to see my life go in a better direction. I got my first major role doing accounts payable and accounts receivable at Home Depot's corporate office. I started tackling my student loan debt and saving money to move out my parent's house. I worked hard and I loved the company I worked for but it was not a permanent position . I hated the feeling of being in limbo, uncertain of my future. I decided to switch jobs to a sales position because I knew I eventually wanted to start my own business. I became a salesperson at a callcenter, although the work was intimidating and grueling at times, the skills I learned were invaluable. I was able to move into my first apartment and then the Pandemic hit. I was now jobless, but thankfully I had a decent savings and I was able to work part-time as a tax preparer. I also had the support of my family when I needed it. It was tough but I eventually landed my first full-time position with PGA Tour Superstore. They happened to be owned by Arthur Blank the co-founder of Home Depot. It's funny how life works sometimes, things came around full-circle. I took advantage of the student loan forbearance and started aggressively paying down debt. I was hard for me to transition from a saver to debt-payer, because I felt saving money is what got me through my tough times but I wanted to strive towards building something for my family. I'm still in the process of paying off debt, and I have also decided to go back to school to get my masters. It was a tough decision but I don't want to live check to check anymore. I've been thinking of starting a family and there is no way I could support a family on my income (which makes me wonder how my parents did it). Through all my parents hard work and sacrifice, I want to help them enjoy the fruits of their labor. I've still got a long way to go, but this scholarship would help me do that. You have taken the time to develop your talents. I can only imagine everything you guys go through to perform at that high-level. Not just practice but the personal sacrifices, the missed birthdays, holidays away from family. Like you I know that sacrifices need to be made to become great, all I'm asking for is an assist.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    If your spirit is not right, everything in your life will be out of balance. This was my experience. I was facing a spiritual battle that manifested into bad mental habits. These mental habits created anxiety and depression and robbed me of my natural joy daily. I was my own worst enemy because nothing I did was good enough and I felt I had to constantly hide my true self. God has shown me that I should stop focusing so much on myself and focus on understanding others. Through service of others, true expression, and devotion to God I have finally found peace and joy. When I was suffering from bad mental health, I focused on what others would expect from me and this had a huge impact on my goals. I was not in alignment with what my purpose is on the earth. This is why I studied Finance instead of Economics in college. I had always loved economics and had even considered journalism, but due to my parent’s expectations, I decided to study a more marketable subject. This internal conflict not only showed up in my professional and academic life but permeated all of my being. I never felt I could comfortably express myself around others without judgment, which was like a prison in my own mind. As a result, I had trouble creating a lot of meaningful relationships in high school and college. I was blessed with a few but I also felt I had to hold the goofy, sometimes corny side of myself back. Because of this built-up frustration, I had trouble dealing with stress and every setback or obstacle seemed like I was trying to climb Mount Olympus. I had heard stories of how my parents escaped the Liberian Civil war and the sacrifices they made to give my brother and I a better life. Being the oldest son, I felt pressure to make them proud. Throughout high school and college, I studied different religions and philosophies. I took up meditation and read every self-help book under the sun. These books had some great ideas but they could not address the heart of the problem, which was my heart. I had been hiding my heart from people for so long, I walked around jaded, angry, and afraid of others. This barred me from truly understanding the world because I was in a pessimistic mindset. Instead of thinking about how an interaction could be mutually beneficial and positive, I would think about how the other person was trying to manipulate me. The only solace I had was creating music. I felt proud that I created something that had pieces of me in it. I wasn’t being completely authentic in music but it was my goal to create something others would think was cool. I got a lot of attention, but I still did not completely feel comfortable in my skin. Through all the worldly knowledge I gained, studying religion, philosophy, and even self-worship I was not finding the peace I so desperately craved. It was not until I completely submitted to the will of God that my life began to change for the better. I began reading the Bible more and wanted to know more about the righteous way to live. I started a new job at a call center after not being able to land a permanent job in accounting. Some would say that it was chance but I know it was God that helped me stumble across a beautiful apartment complex just minutes from my job. My childhood friend was looking for an apartment too and asked If I wanted to be roommates. I began working out 6 days a week and got in the best shape of my life. When I felt the job was not the right fit anymore I decided to quit. It was not an easy decision because I had just moved to my first apartment. It was a month before the pandemic and I had no idea that all of our lives would drastically change in the next few months. After ignoring my gut feeling for months, I decided to listen to my heart. Thanks to my savings and my part-time job at Jackson-Hewitt I was able to weather the storm. For years I could not find a permanent role in accounting. I ended up doing odd jobs that didn’t require my educational background which made me feel like a failure. Through prayer and submission to God’s will, I was able to land my first permanent role as an Accounts Payable Specialist. I continued to walk with Christ and I learned that everything in the flesh is temporary. I should not be beholden to anything in this life. I began to feel a lot better and I was extremely grateful for my new life. But there was one more roadblock ahead. I had to stop being so critical of myself. This brought the joy of the Holy Spirit. I began doing charity work, giving away food, and helping others whenever I could. As Christ said, it is better to give than to receive. Deep down we hate to see each other struggle. When you ignore that feeling and don’t help when you can, you build up guilt. I truly believe a lifetime of shame and guilt is what robs people of their happiness and freedom. I would encourage others to let God direct their paths. Today I want to help people tax plan and prepare their taxes which is why I have decided to go back to school. This is something I feel passionate about, and I don’t care what others may think about it. I have purpose and I know that if I lean on my Father in times of adversity He will be there for me. I want others to let go of what you can’t control and don’t let your thoughts rob you of your joy.