It's no secret that younger sisters have an advantage over older siblings when they
recall the best decisions made in their lives. After all, younger sisters benefit
from their parents wisdom and the vantage point of their siblings' shadows.
This year's Bearer of the Mace, Jessica N. Young, is no exception. While her 3.97
grade point average resulted from hours of studying, she said this accomplishment
began four years ago when she decided to follow her brother, Samuel, to ECSU. She
accompanied the family to the university years earlier when he attended an Open House
session. After noting his progress at the university, she thought about enrolling.
It was the right decision. Her determination to spend more time in the library studying
than socializing led her to a pivotal point----the front of the spring 2013 commencement
line. The honor of bearing the Mace is reserved for the graduating, non-transferring
senior with the highest grade point average. While it wasn't her goal to become Bearer
of the Mace, she is delighted.
"It is still shocking to me, but an amazing honor--Bearer of the Mace! It shows that
hard work really pays off. I know it will make my parents proud. They instilled in
us the importance of education," Young said.
"When I went to college I knew what I was going to do. You have to set goals for yourself.
You have to stick to the goals you set. There are a lot of distractions in college
and you could easily forget what you learned at home."
Home is Roanoke Rapids, N. C. for this business administration major. She was pleased
that ECSU was located nearby. She could easily return home to visit her parents, Cornelius
and Naomi Young. They'd often warned their children to not get "sidetracked" by the
behavior of other youths. As an undergraduate, she returned home to visit other relatives
and to take a break from classes and exams. Her brother, now working on a master's
degree, is just two years older and has been at the university throughout her stay.
Still, she valued those return trips.
Young said participating in organizations such as the National Society of Leadership
and Success, Beta Gamma Sigma, Enactus (Each of us has an entrepreneurial spirit)
formerly known as SIFE, (Students in Free Enterprise) helped her enjoy her time at
ECSU. She met students in those organizations were serious about their studies. Young
also participated in related competitions and learned from faculty members in a different
"By participating in these activities, you can take what you learn from the (text)
book or the class and place that knowledge to work. With those organizations I attended
competitions and met students from other universities who have the same major. Sometimes
you even meet company representatives at conferences who are interviewing students
for internships and jobs."
"The professors here at ECSU are informative. You have the one-on-one instruction
that you might not find at a larger university. We enjoyed trips to conferences (hosted
by professional societies) with professors who accompanied us."
Now that she is graduating, she realizes she is much closer to becoming an entrepreneur.
That dream arose during her junior year at Northwest Halifax High School. Following
three internships and a full curriculum of courses at ECSU, she will be a much better
informed entrepreneur than she would have been as a high school graduate. She was
particularly glad to have interned with the NC Small Business Technology and Development
Center, an agency that provides counseling to prospective and current business owners.
The services there are similar to services she looks forward to providing to her prospective
"The education and internships made my dream of becoming an entrepreneur more of a
reality, not just a dream. I know how to dig deep and I know what I have to do. I
know how to write a business plan which has so many parts -- getting the right financing,
doing all the research, understanding how marketing will play a role in the success
of your business."
Her plans are to celebrate her graduation with her family. Young said she might go
shopping later Saturday. She will fondly recall the second Saturday in May when she
reached an important goal--earning a B. S. in Business Administration.
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