Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Personal Growth and Overcoming Challenges: A Conversation With Imani Baptiste

Imani Baptiste talking about personal growth and reflection When it comes to talking about personal growth, Imani Baptiste has a lot to say. On the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Series, we talked to her about her personal journey, setting daily goals, overcoming challenges, and more.

Imani Baptiste is a digital marketing student at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in New York City, Imani headed across the country to live out her dreams. Right now, she’s a freshman on track to graduate in a few years with a promising career in her sights, and there’s not a lot out there that can get in this New Yorker’s way.

The Fashion Institution of Design and Merchandising, Imani Baptiste’s school in Los Angeles

Chasing Dreams From Coast to Coast

One of the biggest challenges Imani has faced on her personal journey is packing up and moving across the country, from New York to California. It was pretty intimidating and a really big change for her, but she says “you just gotta follow your dreams no matter what.” From a very young age, one of Imani’s life goals was to go to California, so she made it happen for herself by attending school at FIDM.

For many people, that would be a pretty intimidating move. Imani says she’s one of the first people in her family to make the jump from coast to coast. But for her, it was a necessary start on her personal journey to live out her dreams.

In fact, heading across the country and meeting new friends in a completely different state is one of the best memories Imani has had in university. Of course, she had to get used to a pretty big shift in climate, but it was completely worth it. In high school, people tend to stick within their comfort zone. They meet with the same people every day at lunch, hang out with the friends they meet in class, and don’t really branch out too much from there. However, in university and college, all of that changes. Imani says that some of her friends now aren’t even in the same major as her. And that’s precisely what makes the experience so special for her. She’s been able to make so many valuable connections and close friendships she would have completely overlooked back in high school.

If Imani’s connections have inspired you to make friends and get outside your comfort zone at school, here are some great tips on making friends and avoiding negative people in school.

Imani Baptiste focusing on her life goals in her dorm room

Personal Growth Comes From Within

As easy as Imani makes it seem, things weren’t always seamless for her. Imani learned about overcoming challenges early on. Looking back on her teenage years, she says she faced a lot of internal struggles. She suffered from depression and an eating disorder, and was really hard on herself.

Now, in college, Imani is fully recovered and focused on keeping up with her personal growth goals. But she always makes time to keep her mental health in check. There are always going to be a few slip ups and mental breakdowns along the way, but she’s managed to keep her recovery and happiness at the top of her mind.

Here are some of Imani’s guidelines for good goals to set for yourself to keep up with your mental health:
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have your entire life ahead of you to learn, grow, and make mistakes.
Take time for yourself, and focus on your mental wellbeing.
Every day, say something positive about yourself in the mirror. Try to do this at least once a day.
Let yourself be happy! You deserve it.

When asked what she would go back and tell her younger self, it’s all about overcoming challenges and the importance of self-empowerment. “I feel like we bring ourselves down a lot. And it’s so sad, because we should just be uplifting ourselves,” Imani says. “I would just say keep your head up high and not be so hard on yourself, ‘cause you can do this.”

Imani hanging out at FIDM, LA, working on personal growth

“Everything Happens For a Reason”

Imani is a firm believer that everything that has happened to her in her life so far happened for a reason. They were supposed to happen so she could learn to face adversity and experience valuable personal growth. She wouldn’t take back any of the experiences she went through because everything she did led her to where she is now.

Campus anxiety and depression is very real, and has a profound impact on students across North America. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone, and you can get through this. The first step is taking things day by day and recognizing where you are and why you’re there.

Take Imani’s advice: “Every day is a new day. And every decision that you make or every action that you do, it leads up to something new.”

Overcoming Challenges Starts With The Right Mindset

Mental health is extremely important to Imani. Being true to yourself and accepting who you are is a big component in keeping up with your mental health and wellbeing. It’s going to take some hard work and dedication to get to where you need to be, but nothing in life comes easily. As long as you keep a good mindset along the way, you can overcome any challenge.

Right now, Imani balances a part-time job at Starbucks in Los Angeles with about five to six hours of studying per week and full-time classes. What’s her secret to staying on top of it all? Knowing her own mental state and how much she can handle, and not pushing herself past those limits. If you can’t handle the stress of working and juggling all of your schoolwork, and you have the option not to work, then don’t push yourself to do it.

To keep herself in check, Imani likes to find that perfect balance between working hard and not overdoing it. She still sets daily goals, but they are based on her mindset and how much she has on her plate. In high school, she’d get stressed and anxious about getting perfect marks. Now, her focus is on what’s best for her. If she does her best and she still doesn’t get an A+, she doesn’t get herself down about it. What matters is that she tried and got the best score she could.

When it comes to finding that balance, Imani says, “School is important, but also you can’t really get through school without being yourself.”

Imani Baptiste working on a modeling shoot for fashion school

Setting Personal Growth Goals in College

Going away to college or university is a big time for personal growth. For many people, this is the time when you discover who you really are, develop new interests, and explore the world around you. Sure, you’re there to get an academic education and kickstart your career, but there are so many more things to learn while you’re there.

Whether you’re heading off to college this year, or are currently in college, you have the opportunity to focus on your self-improvement and set your own personal growth goals outside of your academic studies. Here are some ways you can do this:
Don’t skip out on events like Frosh Week and trivia night.
Join a club. This is a great way to meet people who share your interests and passions.
Talk to everyone and give people a chance. Everyone you meet has something to offer you, and you shouldn’t take anyone for granted.
Go out and explore your new city. Step outside of campus now and then to get to know the world around you.
Don’t hide parts of your personality from others. If people don’t accept you for you, they aren’t worth your time.

There is No Limit to Your Personal Journey

If anyone lives by the mantra that the sky’s the limit, it’s Imani. When asked about her long-term goals, she’s open to anything. She says, “I want to be involved in the entertainment business somehow, like modeling, acting. Maybe have my own brand.”

It’s a world of options for Imani, and she’s embracing them one life goal at a time. When it comes to your own personal journey, you can easily adopt this mindset as well. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to your future because you have a world of options available to you.

Right now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard for a lot of people to focus on their future and stay driven toward their personal growth goals. Like many students, the transition to online school hasn’t been completely easy for Imani. She’s normally more of a hands-on learner, and had to adjust to virtual learning, but she’s making it work with what she has and staying safe in her New York City home. If you find yourself struggling to adjust too, take a look at our helpful tips for online classes.

But the pandemic hasn’t stopped Imani from focusing on herself, her own personal growth, and gearing up for her future. She is still doing a full workload of online courses while taking time out to make sure she gives herself the mental care she needs.

“I’ve still been taking the time to self-reflect at where I want to be now and in the future,” she says. One thing is for sure – her future is looking very promising.

Modeling Shot of Imani Working on her Career goalsl

Imani the Instagram Sensation

At the end of each interview, we ask each influencer what their favourite social media platform is. Imani can’t get enough of Instagram, but it’s not for the reason you’d think.

Her love for Instagram stems from the fact that you can be your true self, and share content that spreads awareness or inspires other people. Most social media platforms have a stigma associated with them that implies that people are fake and don’t show their true selves because they want to get those likes. But for Imani, there is a world of opportunity for self-improvement and be who you really are. You can share funny things, serious things, important things, and showcase how unique you are.

In fact, Imani has embraced the powers of Instagram so much that she’s actually made friends across the world through the platform. She’s made some friends in London, England and has grown so close with them that she talks to them almost every day. That’s the power of the Internet when you use social media for good.

Imani’s Instagram page is full of colourful and motivational photos that she hopes will inspire her followers to be their true selves. We could all take a lesson out of her book – don’t be afraid to show the world your true self and stay true to who you are. Individuality is an amazing thing, and people will always love you for you.

Life Goals and Words of Wisdom

When we asked Imani if she had any parting words of wisdom for current or future students, and anyone else in general, she had a lot to share.

Here are some of Imani’s final insights and life advice that she thinks everyone should live by:
Live every moment to the fullest.
Be yourself.
Don’t change for anyone, and don’t let anyone convince you to change.
Make sure you’re happy, and put yourself first.
Take care of your mental health.

We couldn’t agree more with this refreshing perspective, and we hope that her vision inspires you on your own personal growth journey.

Hanging out on a photoshoot in Los Angeles, California

Hear More About Imani’s Personal Growth Journey on The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast

So, what’s Imani’s advice for students who are starting college this year? What’s her favourite motivational quote? You’ll have to tune in to the podcast to hear the rest. There is so much more to learn from Imani, and we have the full scoop on the Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast Series.

Listen to the full podcast here or watch the video version on The Homework Help Show YouTube page and get more of Imani’s amazing perspective on personal growth, motivation, and positivity. She offered up some helpful advice you don’t want to miss.

On The Homework Help Show Student Influencers Podcast, we regularly feature interviews with inspiring students that can help you and inspire you to succeed in your own academic career. To catch up on past episodes of The Homework Help Show, check out our Student Influencers Podcast on or on your favourite streaming platform.


Lesley [00:00:04] Welcome to today’s Student Influencer Podcast. My name is Lesley, and I’m here joined with Imani Baptiste. So hi Imani , and welcome to the podcast.

Imani [00:00:14] Hi. Thank you for having me.

Lesley [00:00:16] It’s super, super great having you today. We’re really excited to dive into your thoughts and insights. So if you’re ready, we can get started.

Imani [00:00:26] Totally ready.

Lesley [00:00:28] So we’re going to start with some initial get to know you questions.

Lesley [00:00:34] So let’s start off with where are you currently located?

Imani [00:00:39] I’m currently located in New York City. I’m born and raised here. But I go to school out in L.A.

Lesley [00:00:45] And what university do you go to in L.A.?

Imani [00:00:49] I go to FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

Lesley [00:00:53] Awesome. What year are you in right now?

Imani [00:00:57] I’m a freshman, so I’m in my third quarter right now.

Lesley [00:01:00] Oh, that’s so exciting. That’s a really exciting time in the whole student life circle.

Imani [00:01:07] For sure. For sure.

Lesley [00:01:10] And what are you doing right now?

Imani [00:01:13] Right now, you know, I’m just quarantined in my room with everything going on, it’s like crazy, but I’m doing online classes. I just had one before this, actually. So that was pretty cool. But it’s- it’s definitely an adjustment I’m trying to get used to right now.

Lesley [00:01:29] Yeah, it’s definitely- that question’s actually kind of funny to ask right now because everyone’s kind of doing the same thing.

Imani [00:01:36] Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:01:37] Trying to just deal with quarantine and lockdown with this whole pandemic.

Imani [00:01:43] Yeah, it’s crazy. Everything is really crazy right now.

Lesley [00:01:46] It’s nice that you were able to get home to New York, though, and kind of stay there. Are you by yourself or with family?

Imani [00:01:54] I’m with my mom right now and my grandma. I was, like, so happy when I heard that I can come home because I was worried I was gonna be stuck in L.A. for a bit. And I was like, you know, during this time, I feel like I would feel safer with my family. But, yeah I came home just in time for lockdown so that’s great.

Lesley [00:02:11] Yeah, that is perfect. At least you don’t have to be alone or… you know, what’s the word I’m looking for… I guess alone would be the word I’m looking for, just quarantining, you know, in your apartment. I know, I know a lot of students- students like international students probably are having a lot harder time with that.

Imani [00:02:31] Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Lesley [00:02:33] So that is fortunate.

Imani [00:02:35] Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:02:37] So now that we’re kind of introduced to you a little bit, in your experience, how is university or college different from high school?

Imani [00:02:49] I would say… this question is honestly so hard because I used to think about this all the time in high school. But it’s different in the way- the major difference would be responsibility. You’re more responsible for everything that you’re doing in college. Like, you’re not having teachers come up to you like, “Oh, you didn’t complete this assignment today.” It’s like, in college, it’s more on you. And if you didn’t do it, it’s like your loss, you know. And like, it’s just you get to grow up faster in college. Like more responsibilities and just the workload is a lot more, I would say, especially depending on your major, like I’m an art major. So there’s a lot more creative stuff to it, but there is definitely a lot more work and responsibility is really key in college.

Lesley [00:03:34] Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot that that accountability factor is… You don’t really expect it when you go from high school to university until all of a sudden you’re just kind of thrown in there and you realize I am responsible for all of this. How am I going to keep myself on track?

Imani [00:03:54] Right. Right, for sure.

Lesley [00:03:56] So that is pretty hard.

Imani [00:03:58] Yeah.

Lesley [00:04:00] What’s one of your favourite memories so far in university?

Imani [00:04:05] I would say just being able to, like go across the world like, you know, to California since I’m from New York. That was crazy. And just getting used to the weather and everything. But my favorite memory would probably be meeting all of the new friends that I’ve met. It’s not like high school at all where it’s like, you know, you go to lunch and you sit with your, like, group, but it’s not like that. You meet- you meet a lot of new people. And honestly, a lot of my friends, we’re not even in the same major. So it’s kind of cool that we got to connect and everything. And we’re really close already. So I love that. I would say that meeting all the people I’ve met so far is my favorite memory.

Lesley [00:04:42] That’s amazing. There must have been a big move going from literally coast to coast.

Imani [00:04:48] Yeah, it was- it was so crazy because like, you know, I’m probably one of the first people in my family to just move across the coast. Like, you know, it’s- it’s crazy. But I just knew from a young age that I wanted to go to California. You know, I- you know, you just gotta follow your dreams no matter what.

Lesley [00:05:05] Yeah, definitely. Did you always want to study fashion?

Imani [00:05:10] You know, at first I wasn’t really sure. I even thought about going to like Yale in ninth grade. I just was like, oh, I want to go to like an Ivy League school, like, I don’t know what I want to study, but I want to go to an Ivy League school. And as the years progressed, I would say around tenth grade, I realized that I can get my voice out there and be creative in the art majors. So I was like, you know, why not do something with that? I want to be in that field. So I need to go to a school that offers that to me.

Lesley [00:05:39] That’s amazing. So you are quite literally following your dreams.

Imani [00:05:43] Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:05:45] That’s awesome, I’m sure not a lot of people get to say that. So that is really fortunate.

Imani [00:05:50] Yeah, it’s- it’s really a blessing.

Lesley [00:05:53] Yeah. What struggles or challenges have you faced as a student so far? I know that moving across the country is probably a challenge in itself.

Imani [00:06:03] Right. Yeah. For sure. I would say just like the drastic change, probably. Like, I didn’t really know what to expect for college except like what everyone says, like, oh, it’s hard and this and that, but I would just say the change in being more responsible especially because I live in an apartment. So I’m kind of like dealing with bills and stuff, I’m kind of like having to be an adult already, which is really drastic. But I’m loving it so far. It’s hard, but I’m getting used to the change, you know, and I would say just the workload, too. It’s like in college, I feel like a lot of people think, oh, I want to major in this, but like I want to go the easy way out, you know? But it’s not like that. You gotta work really hard to get where you want to be. And this is just the beginning for me. You know, I’m just really glad to be doing this. And there’s a lot of challenges. Like, I’ve been stressed. I’ve had a few mental breakdowns in college already, but I’m learning. And, you know, I’m still working toward being the best I can be.

Lesley [00:07:05] Amazing. Yes. It seems like you’re- you’re able to tackle those challenges and overcome them pretty well.

Imani [00:07:13] Yes. Yes. Just with the right mental ability, you know, to be happy and try to get through it.

Lesley [00:07:22] Would you say that going to university is beneficial or is it worth it in your opinion?

Imani [00:07:29] You know, I feel like for everyone it’s different. I would say probably in today’s world, yes. But also, it really depends, because if you look at certain idols, like a lot of people didn’t go to school and that’s totally fine as well. I wouldn’t knock down anyone that doesn’t go to school because if that’s not your choice, then that’s not your choice. Like, I’m not really one to like school, but like, you know, if I’m going to school, I have to because my parents really wanted me to and like, why not learn something from it and learn something that I love to know about? You know, like art. So just you got to do whatever you feel is best for you. It definitely has- it definitely has its benefits in some parts, but it really depends on the person. If you don’t think it’s right for you, then that’s fine as well, you know?

Lesley [00:08:15] Definitely. It definitely is kind of either you’re cut out for this or not kind of thing. But also too, in today’s world, with tuition being so expensive, it also comes down to a lot of the whole is this practical for you, what you want to do with your life?

Imani [00:08:33] Exactly. Some people don’t have the opportunity to go.

Lesley [00:08:38] I think a lot of people feel pressured to go too when maybe they don’t really need to. Maybe it’s a different path. So it’s definitely not for everyone.

Imani [00:08:49] Yeah.

Lesley [00:08:52] How many hours would you say you spend studying? I don’t know quite what comes with the fashion program. If that’s a little different in terms of your assignments or not.

Imani [00:09:04] Yeah. So we take like creative classes. But also the general ed class like English and stuff like that as well. I took a lot of those my first quarter, I would say around… it depends, but maybe out of the whole week six hours? Honestly, because I also work as well. So it’s like I have to make time to balance. In between, I have to go to class and then I have to go to work right after. And then like I have to make time for homework and studying. But yeah, I just try to set a goal for myself because I know in high school I would get super stressed and anxious about tests and just studying in general, I’d be like, I have to get a 100, like I have to. But it’s more like I gotta do what’s best for me. And if I get the best score that I can get then that’s fine, you know, it doesn’t always have to be an A plus like as long as I do my best. That’s what matters. And like, I just make sure I have time to study whenever I can, but I’m not going to overdo it ’cause I don’t want to get into that bad habit of like being stressed all the time and then not getting anything done. You know?

Lesley [00:10:16] Yeah, because there is a point where you can’t- where you kind of hit a wall where you’re so stressed out of all the things you have to do, but you’re so stressed out that you can’t start them and then you get stressed out because you can’t start them. And it’s just this whole vicious circle. It’s really hard to get out of.

Imani [00:10:31] Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:10:31] So I think that’s probably a more effective way. And I think too, when it comes to studying, sometimes it is more about the quality of your studying as opposed to you could spend 20 hours a week studying. But if you’re not really dedicating that time and you’re not really studying efficiently, it doesn’t really- it’s not really going to matter.

Imani [00:10:52] Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Lesley [00:10:54] So I think that that’s probably a pretty reasonable time limit. Five- Six hours a week is still a lot. Yeah. It’s like an hour a day.

Imani [00:11:04] Yeah. For sure.

Lesley [00:11:07] So you do work part time at school?

Imani [00:11:11] Yeah.

Lesley [00:11:11] You work in L.A.?

Imani [00:11:13] I work in L.A., yeah. I work at Starbucks. I got hired in New York and then I just applied to transfer out to L.A. So I have like, you know, something to do after school. I’m not just like stuck in the house all the time or like doing work all the time. You know?

Lesley [00:11:26] Right. And obviously, it helps pay the bills and the rent.

Imani [00:11:32] Right. Yeah. For sure.

Lesley [00:11:34] Would you recommend working part-time during school? I know that a lot of people kind of have no choice but would you recommend it in general?

Imani [00:11:43] Um, like you said. Yeah. Like some people don’t have the choice whether or not like they can work or not, like sometimes they have to. But it really depends on your mental state. Like I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it, but I was like, you know, I have to do this. I have no choice. I need to be able to have my own income and to have that- get- get in that cycle. Because at the end of the day, when I get my full-time job, I’m going to have to work and still have like homework, you know. So, I mean, as long as you think that you can and you have the option, like if you can work or you have to work or you can’t work, like it’s really up to your mental state, and like it’s also how much you can handle. But a lot of people recommend not working in the first year of college. But honestly, it’s different for everyone. For me, I- I’m- I’m getting through it and sometimes it’s hard. But at the end of the day, I’m still doing it and I’m pushing myself no matter what, you know.

Lesley [00:12:38] Right. That’s a really good attitude to have. That kind of leads into my next question, which is how do you manage all of those responsibilities as a student? So I know you have a lot going on. So how do you really- how do you manage all of that time?

Imani [00:12:55] So I try to… So every quarter, we have to switch our class like depending on the day and stuff like that, just like almost every other college. So I try to make sure I have class on like three days a week max or four days and then I’ll work right after class once I finish with school. And then I’ll have like two or one day off in the week. So I have time to like have a day for myself for like just to catch up on homework. And also I have therapy as well, so I make time for that too, because I just want to make sure I’m not stressed all of the time. It’s like, some people it helps to write it out or just like say it out loud. But for me, I just go with the flow and I’ll plan it out in the beginning and then just try to get used to it as the days go on, because it’s different for everyone. But for me, it’s- it’s working out so far. So I’m glad about that.

Lesley [00:13:48] Yeah, that is fortunate. I think that’s- that’s a really important thing I think a lot of people overlook when they’re trying to juggle all of their responsibilities and manage their time really efficiently is not stepping back and taking that time for themselves, whether it is just a little bit of therapy or even just like a self-care day or something like that and taking out that time.

Imani [00:14:15] Yeah, like your mental health is really important. And like school is important but also you can’t really get through school without being yourself.

Lesley [00:14:22] Right. Do you think that little bit of- that taking that time for yourself helps you a lot with your balance?

Imani [00:14:28] Yeah, I would say so for sure. Because in the past I wouldn’t really take time for myself. I would just be homework on homework and not do anything and like, I wouldn’t do self-care or anything like that. And it was- it just got me in a really depressive state and it wasn’t good for my mental health at all. So doing that now, and just reflecting on myself even during a quarantine right now, it’s like helping me have time to take time for myself, you know, and that’s super important, especially in college. Like once you leave high school as a senior and go into a freshman, that’s something you really need to make time for.

Lesley [00:15:01] Yeah. So you’re kind of just starting this whole… You’re starting a new life kind of.

Imani [00:15:07] Right. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Exactly.

Lesley [00:15:13] So on that note, if you could go back to your high school self, your fifteen-year-old self, what advice would you say or what would you say to yourself?

Imani [00:15:26] Yeah. I was thinking about this question. I will say, so fifteen, that’s towards like the beginning of high school I would say like that’s a freshman. Yeah. So during ninth grade, it was super hard for me. I was dealing with a lot of internal stuff. And that’s the time around like when my eating disorder started to develop and I was in a deep depression. And I would say just now, looking back on myself as fully recovered and more happier that everything is going to be OK. And to not be so hard on yourself because you have your whole life ahead of you and you can’t really get through life with all of those struggles on you. It’s like, you need to take time for yourself. And even if it’s every day, once a day, say something positive about yourself in the mirror and like you’re beautiful or something just to get yourself through the day, because that’s super important. Like, I feel like we bring ourselves down a lot. And that’s- it’s so sad, because we should just be uplifting ourselves, you know, especially during school it’s like so hard. And some people feel pressured. I know I definitely felt pressured. So it’s like, you know, I would just say keep your head up high and not be so hard on yourself, cause you can do this.

Lesley [00:16:37] Yeah, I think high schools, especially high school, can be pretty bad for that. For that just tearing down your self-confidence or even just like your emotional well-being can be really tested. So that’s really great that you were able to take that and turn it around. Now you’re where you are now, right?

Imani [00:17:01] Yeah for sure. I’m super happy now.

Lesley [00:17:03] I’m really glad you were able to overcome that part of your life and you were kind of able to move on. That’s really inspiring.

Imani [00:17:11] Thank you. Yeah. I’m super proud of myself.

Lesley [00:17:14] Yeah. Do you have any- right now I know that obviously the quarantine and the pandemic have kind of put a wrench in a lot of people’s goals. But do you have any current long term or short term goals that you’re working on right now?

Imani [00:17:32] Yeah. I would say there’s a lot of limits to what we can do right now, you know. But I’ve still been taking the time to self-reflect at where I want to be now and in the future. I would say my short term goal would be just to make time for myself every day. I can’t even- I’m caught up in a lot of schoolwork with online.

Lesley [00:17:53] Right.

Imani [00:17:54] And just like get through the quarter. You know that’s the short-term goal. And then a long term goal, it would be like my career for sure. I just- I want to be involved in the entertainment business somehow, like modeling, acting. Maybe have my own brand. But I’m still working on that. Those are like my long term goals for sure. But I’m just focusing on like what I can do now and I’m super excited for when everything hopefully slows down so I get my life back together again.

Lesley [00:18:24] Right.

Imani [00:18:24] But yeah, for sure. I would say that.

Lesley [00:18:27] I know that’s a lot of- a lot of people I guess right now the short term goal is just taking things day by day.

Imani [00:18:33] Right.

Lesley [00:18:33] Because you don’t really know. Is your- are you able to do some of your program online? I know with fashion it’s probably pretty hard to do that online.

Imani [00:18:44] Yeah, for a lot of things. A lot of classes were like canceled. But I have, most of these classes this quarter, I mostly work now on my computer stuff. So that’s great for me. So I did that. And yeah, I mean, it’s hard because for me, I am like a really hands on learner. So this is a difficult transition for me still. But it’s… I’m trying to get used to it because there’s nothing really we can do right now. You know, and like as long as everyone’s safe and we’re still trying to get the best out of our program, that’s fine. You know?

Lesley [00:19:19] Yeah, I think that that’s something a lot of people tend to forget is that with these online classes, a lot of people are having a really hard time adjusting to it. But people don’t really remember- people tend to forget the fact that nobody really had a choice and that everyone is kind of learning as they go, including professors and the schools. And I think…

Imani [00:19:43] Right.

Lesley [00:19:44] I think that’s definitely something that people need to keep in mind, especially, you see a lot of people on social media complaining about their online classes.

Imani [00:19:53] Yeah.

Lesley [00:19:54] Sometimes I think you should be lucky. You should feel lucky that you were able to do that.

Imani [00:20:00] Yeah, for sure. Like I’ve seen myself complaining sometimes but it’s like, it’s just out of frustration that I’m not getting the experience that you want.

Lesley [00:20:08] Yeah.

Imani [00:20:08] But it’s like we’re so lucky to have the resources that we have right now. And like just having Zoom classes or like go online and get tutoring. It’s just we have a lot of resources that we can use now that in the past we probably couldn’t use. You know?

Lesley [00:20:22] I know, I keep thinking of like, what would- what would people- what would I have done as a student if this happened twenty years ago?

Imani [00:20:30] Right. Yeah.

Lesley [00:20:31] I would be very bored. So it’s nice that- it’s nice that people still have an online class to do. So at least you can still do that because I wouldn’t think that with fashion. I mean, I don’t know a lot about the actual fashion programs, but I would have assumed that it would be a lot of hands-on. So it’s really nice that you can still, still inch towards that degree and get some of the other stuff done.

Imani [00:20:55] Right. Yes, for sure.

Lesley [00:20:56] That’s really nice. Here’s another interesting question. If you could summarize your life story, what would you say?

Imani [00:21:10] This is so hard.

Lesley [00:21:11] I know.

Imani [00:21:12] Like, every- every aspect that’s happened in my life is so beneficial to where I am right now. Like, I wouldn’t- there are some things that hurt so much to think about but it’s like I wouldn’t take it back. Because it made me who I am to this day. You know, I would say if I could describe it maybe in like one word, I would say growth, because there’s a lot of growth that comes from me when I was little to now. Like, I’m a completely different person, I’d say. And like I speak, I view things in a different way than I would have before, you know, and it’s just. It’s just because of the connections that I made, who I’ve surrounded myself with, what I look, like- who I look up to, what I look up to, and just what I’ve learned throughout the past years. It’s- it’s hard and it’s like in the next twenty years, I could be someone completely different. But I would just say, yeah, growth, because you’re growing every day. Every day is a new day. And every decision that you make or every action that you do, it leads up to something new. And I believe that everything happens for a reason. So all the things that’s happened to me. It was supposed to happen and made me who I am. You know?

Lesley [00:22:25] That’s amazing. That’s a really positive way to look at your life. I’m sure it’s super beneficial because if you’re- if you’re already acknowledging that now, like how much you’ve grown as a person now, imagine what you’ll look back and say 10 years later or even 20 years later.

Imani [00:22:45] Right. Yeah, for sure.

Lesley [00:22:49] On that note, do you have a favourite motivational quote that you want to share?

Imani [00:22:57] I would say, I don’t even know. There are so many quotes that like I love but there’s this one particular quote. I have it in my room, I made a poster when I was in treatment and I decided to put it up in my room. It’s called whether- it says, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Because at the end of the day, you’re your worst enemy and you have to be the one to choose what you’re going to do. No one else should choose what you’re going to do. It has to be you. And even if the outcome is bad in your opinion, or it’s good, like you did it and it was your decision. And it’s just you grow from there. From that. And I think that quote, even though it’s like a short quote, it has so much meaning to it and you can take it in any direction that you wish to take it. And I think that’s just the way that I look at life. You know, it’s just everything happens for a reason and you take it wherever you want to take it.

Lesley [00:23:53] Right. And I think too, with that quote in particular, that’s- that’s actually a particularly powerful quote, too, because it’s… People are going to do what they decide to do for themselves regardless. So making those right decisions for you, what makes- what makes sense for you for your life or if it were me for my life is very important, too.

Imani [00:24:20] Yeah, for sure. You’ve got to take life however you take it, you know, and make the most out of it.

Lesley [00:24:27] That’s awesome. What advice would you give for anyone who is starting university this year or starting now I guess?

Imani [00:24:39] I would say just be yourself. And if you want to, like, change something about yourself, too, that’s good. I feel like college is a way for you to have a fresh start in life. You know, like high school could have been horrible and like you could have had so many bad experiences. But college is way different and you might not even see the same people that you were in high school with. So you just got to make the most out of it. Take all the connections you have. And like, if you could just, you know, be who you want to be because you got to make the most of your life. And yeah, just don’t stress so much because high school has a lot of stress to it. Like you’re worrying about SATs and if I get into this college, how do I’m- how am I going to pay for the college application? It’s just a lot of stress I feel like could have been avoided if I took it in a different route. But don’t really worry about it. Because you’re going to end up wherever you need to be. And it may not be where you want to be, but you’re always going to end up somewhere that’s going to be better for you in life. And you’re just going to have to make the most out of it. So not to stress and just believe in yourself.

Lesley [00:25:47] That’s awesome. I think that’s something that’s very powerful for people to hear when they’re coming to university. So probably, I mean, I remember when I started university, I was nervous. And it’s very intimidating for people. So I think that’s really inspiring and helpful.

Imani [00:26:05] Yes. Yeah, for sure. It’s like I feel like at the beginning of high school, I thought college was going to be another version of it. And it was going to be hard. And like, everyone’s going to look at me a different way. But it wasn’t like that. Like, honestly, the first day when I first moved into my dorm, like I introduced myself to so many people. And I wouldn’t have done that before in high school. I would have just sat back in the back of the row and like not say anything, but I went up to so many different people and their parents being like, hi, I’m Imani . Nice to meet you. Like, what’s your major? Just to make friends and like it’s a new environment, you just gotta be yourself, you know?

Lesley [00:26:41] And that’s a chance to really, like if there was a certain- like if you were shy in high school, this gives you a chance to kind of like wipe that slate clean and say, I’m gonna be more outgoing and not that you have to change your personality, but maybe it will give you an opportunity to try things you’ve always wanted to do but maybe were too scared that people were going to judge you or say you were acting weird.

Imani [00:27:08] Yeah. It’s like you just gotta get out of your comfort zone more in college.

Lesley [00:27:11] Yeah, I think that’s important.

Imani [00:27:13] Yes.

Lesley [00:27:13] Once you do and then you learn so many new things and meet new people. It’s so worth it.

Imani [00:27:18] Exactly. Yeah.

Lesley [00:27:21] So one last question, and this is more of a fun question, but what is your favourite social media platform and why?

Imani [00:27:32] I would say probably Instagram. Yeah, I’m on it just like all the time. But I feel like Instagram is my favorite because I can just be my true self and I can update people on who I am and like what I’m doing and just preach about what I really believe in. And it’s like a platform where you can just be yourself. Some people- some people say, like you don’t really show every aspect of you on social media. And I truly believe that. But I just feel like, for Instagram, you could take it so many different ways and there’s so many things to learn on that app. And you can just repost things like I repost things that I believe in and that I really agree with where I want other people to be. Just to spread awareness, like there’s so much you can do on that app that I feel like you can’t really do other apps, so it’s really cool and unique. I just love it because I can be myself and I can post funny things, serious things, or just spread awareness. It’s just so much to do and I honestly love it. And I’ve made so many- some of my closest friends on that app actually.

Lesley [00:28:34] Oh, really?

Imani [00:28:34] Oh yeah. I actually have a few friends in London in the U.K. and we’re close. I’ve known them for a few years now and we just text like every day. It’s- it’s so cool because met on Instagram and we just were like, hey, like how are you? Like, what are you doing? Stuff like that. It’s honestly really cool.

Lesley [00:28:54] That is really cool.

Imani [00:28:55] Yeah. I’m so grateful to have met them. And I love Instagram for that.

Lesley [00:28:59] Yeah. Well, I know from- from the Instagram work that we did with you that your- your Instagram is very inspiring because you always, it’s always creative and just always, like, even the captions you use are super motivational.

Imani [00:29:13] Thank you.

Lesley [00:29:13] Do you want to share your handle here right now? And then our listeners…

Imani [00:29:19] Yeah, my Instagram handle is Imani Baptiste. I M A N I B A P T I S T E on Instagram. So you can just follow me, I post a lot of content and yeah.

Lesley [00:29:32] We’ll post it in the description for you too. In case you are listening now or watching now and you missed it. We’ll type it in the description so that you guys can follow Imani and get some super inspiring motivation. And take a look at your photos.

Imani [00:29:50] Yeah!

Lesley [00:29:50] Just before we finish up, is there anything else that you would like our listeners to know or any more insights you want to share?

Imani [00:30:02] Firstly, I would say just take every moment that you’ve had in life to the fullest. Be yourself. Don’t let anyone change you. Don’t change for anyone. Make sure you’re happy. Put yourself first. Your mental health is always first before anything else. And yeah, just take care you guys.

Lesley [00:30:22] Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining us, for taking time out of your day to talk to me and to share all of those insights today.

Imani [00:30:31] Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I had a lot of fun.

Lesley [00:30:34] Awesome. I’m so glad. And yeah, so we will talk to you later. We’ll keep in touch with you and see how you’re doing and keep checking back to you in the future.

Imani [00:30:46] Great. Thank you so much.

Lesley [00:30:47] No problem. Thank you again for joining us. Have a good rest of your day.

Imani [00:30:52] You, too.