By Khali Raymond, Berkeley College Student, Business Administration
My name is Khali Raymond and I am currently a student at the Berkeley College campus in Newark, NJ. I am majoring in Business Administration and will be graduating in the spring of 2019 with my Associate’s degree. Then, I am going to be attending Kean University where I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing – I will be living on campus as well. I am a published writer, poet, and artist. I was born and raised in Newark. Growing up, I have dealt with a lot of adversity.
My dad died when I was just 1 year old. I was raised by a single mother of four in a poverty-stricken neighborhood that was atoned to violence and dilapidation. At the age of 6 years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning version of autism. In school, I was bullied a lot, for years on end. This caused me to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in addition to the things that happened outside of school as well. I struggled with depression later on in life, which ultimately led to two failed suicide attempts.
I found ways to deal with the struggles in my life, and used writing as an escape. It was a safe haven for me. At first it started off as a hobby, but one day I sat down and thought about the direction that I wanted to go in with my craft. I realized that I could make money from it. So…
When I was in the tenth grade, I self-published my first book, “The Ballad of Sidney Hill.” I was fifteen at the time. Fast forward almost five years later, I have published more than 100 books, I have received many accolades, am on my way to graduating from college, and my work has been featured by the Obama Foundation and other countless blogs, and newsletters.
Adjusting to college didn’t come without its obstacles either. I had to learn how to manage myself and keep a schedule of the project assignments and deadlines. A few weeks after I started at Berkeley in September 2017, my aunt passed away. This left me distraught for a while. The following semester, I failed hard and was considering dropping out of school. Luckily, Earl Brown, M.B.A., Campus Operating Officer in Newark, really helped me get back on track. We sat down and mapped out a plan as to how I would meet proficiency once more, along with the help of Academic Advisement. Now, I am about to graduate.
I came to college with a plan. I wanted to meet people who would help point me into the direction that I should be going in. I came to reinvent myself, not just collect a piece of paper and leave. Most of all, I came to pursue my craft of writing. My goal is to become the best artist that ever came out of the Brick City. I also want to use my skills to help others realize their potential and show them that there is an alternate way to achieving your dreams. All you have to do is follow your heart, and let your passion run wild.