Growing up in Los Angeles, I knew it was to survive. At an early age, I knew I needed to have several methods of income to make it in Los Angeles.
In high school, I never knew I would commit to college and call a small town called Grambling located in Northern, Louisiana to call my home for my next four years.
I realized I had more opportunities than others, getting an education is a privilege, not a gift.
My family always expected me to go to college and find something that I enjoy doing and use that in the world. College taught me to take care of myself without my family's assistance and start working to support myself. I have been working a 9-5 job since I was 16 years old and until now.
After attending and graduating from a high school, I decided to move across the country and pursue my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication concentration in Integrated Communication at Grambling State University.
I packed up four suitcases and flew from Los Angeles to Grambling and moved in the fall semester in August 2017.
That was the first time I ever left Los Angeles and the first time I ever lived without my family.
My first semester was the hardest, I never had experienced culture shock before.
I never thought there would be a place that doesn’t have sidewalks. I was so shocked to find out that there was no public transportation.
I was so used to having access to so many places living in a big city. I had to learn how to adapt and rely upon and trust people.
These four years at Grambling State University have been a life-changing experience. It was the big transition of my life and it made me humble. I will say.
I entered into Grambling as a shy person who didn’t know how to come out of her shell and express herself to others. I made a lot of friends here who shaped me into who I am today.
I finished my degree throughout my four years here, after I had changed my major from Computer Information Systems to Mass Communications.
My most proud accomplishment will be to say I graduated from a Historically Black and College University (HBCU), Grambling State University.
I have been blessed to have a gift of photography, I started doing photography in high school and took my talents to Grambling State. I have never thought I would experience life on campuses such as attending FSUB Events, Homecoming, Spring Fest and the Organization/Clubs.
I’m very grateful that I can say one of my images in the hallway at the Eddie G. Robinson Practice Facility.
I have also captured some of the most well-known celebrities such as Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young and Birdman. Most of my images have been placed on newspaper articles, The Los Angeles Sentinel and News4UsOnline.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped shape me into the woman I am today.
I’m very thankful for this experience.
I’m very thankful for the friends I made.
Mom, thank you for never stop pushing me to become great. Even though, we fight I’m going to always love you.
Dad, thank you for accepting me for who I am and loving me unconditionally. Thank you for introducing me to Dame Dash. I want “Hustle for My Last Name, not my First.”
Thank you to all my friends back at home, I can’t celebrate and see you. I miss you guys. Thank you for not switching up.
To my friends, I’m grateful for the memories and lessons. Let me know when you are ready to pull up and I can show you the real Los Angeles, because as Inglewood rapper, TwoFive said “I was born in the Land, you (people) just live here.”
– Jada Stokes plans to move back to Los Angeles after graduation. She will be interning for a production company called Eleven11 owned by her father.