On Monday, October 2nd, 2023, Delaware State University was given the amazing opportunity to hear from James McBride, an award-winning author of the works The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, Deacon King Kong, The Good Lord Bird, and more.
During his time at my illustrious university, Mr. McBride shared a couple of tips and tricks on how we can utilize our time in college wisely and put what we learn to use in the real world to be successful. Here are some of my favorites:
- Get a Liberal Arts Education
- How You Start Doesn’t Have To Be How You End
James McBride graduated from Oberlin College as a Communications Major and went on to get his Masters Degree in Journalism at Columbia University. Despite his education, McBride spent about a decade of his early life as an accomplished musician. He has helped write songs for some of the most famous people in history, including my personal favorite from the list: Barney.
McBride explained that he was able to do these things because he had a ‘Liberal Arts Education’, which essentially is studying things that interest you instead of studying only things that relate to your selected field of study, a.k.a. your major. McBride’s advice reminds us that the more we learn, the more we can do.
Another piece of advice that was given during this time goes something like this: Educate yourself in so many things that when an opportunity comes, you can take it. According to McBride, college just helps you get your first job; once you gain experience, you can do whatever interests you. One specific occupation that was discussed was being a writer. Regardless of what you do, whether you’re a doctor or a politician, you can always make money by telling a story.
Another piece of advice from the author that really stood out to me:
- Learn To Be Independent
James McBride was asked about how he was able to balance his education, personal life, religion, and everything else he had going on during his time in college. According to him, as young adults, we have to break the habit of telling our parents everything and talking to them 24/7. We will benefit a lot from creating a community out of the people around us. We should reach out to people; people we think are nice, people that are similar to us, and even people who are different from us. We have to learn to live and think on our own for us to grow creatively and intellectually; according to McBride, creativity and innovation are where we’ll make our money in current times.
These three pieces of advice were only a few of the things discussed in our hour-long session with the New York Times Best-Selling Author, James McBride. In only an hour, McBride was able to change my perspective on multiple aspects of life.
If you’re someone who wants to learn more about the author’s perspective on life, check out his latest novel: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store and his previous works. I’m more than sure they won’t disappoint.