Maliek Blade’s Debt Free Graduation Story

Maliek Blade’s Debt Free Graduation Story

Jay Cameron

May 10th, 2016



On my journey from graduating high school to considering college, it was helpful to have Jay Cameron’s voice in my ear. So often as teenagers transition out of high school they are faced with the pressure of “becoming a success.” At the time I and many others were convinced that the first step toward becoming a success was going to college.

We were also taught the lie that those that do not go to college are somehow less ambitious. Both of these dichotomies trick students into believing they must go to college by any means necessary. Mr. Cameron assured me that going to college is a good thing but it was not absolutely necessary if it meant incurring extreme loads of debt. Most, if not all the other voices I heard spoke of debt as being a normal thing. When I came back

to my parents after deciding to only attend college if I was able to do so debt free, I thought they would try to talk me out of it but they were actually relieved. This let me know that debt had become the necessary evil for many. I did not want to put  the weight of figuring out how to pay for school on my parents so I took it as my personal responsibility to figure out the financial side.


Jay Cameron with Maliek and his brother Jerome on his graduation day.

Luckily for me, this realization happened while I was in the process of completing an application to Howard University. I ended up not completing the application and getting a full ride scholarship to the College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, NC. For me, Jay Cameron’s teaching challenged me to “man up” and count the cost for college rather than blindly expecting my parents to figure it out. I feel as though we should all count the cost, apply for several scholarships, and consider overall life goals before taking out loans for college. What’s normal isn’t always what is wise. I’m currently in the middle of completing my Master’s degree 100% debt free.

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