HBCU Monday

June 29, 2020

Derrick Hayes the “enTIEtainer” presented HBCU Monday on Facebook Live and YouTube. Talladega College Alumnus and George Washington Carver Boys Basketball Coach did the welcome for the program.

Motivational Monday

May 4, 2020

Welcome and in this moment the African American Male Initiative program at Columbus State University brought in Derrick Hayes the “enTIEtainer” as the keynote speaker for their “Wings and Bow ties” Professional Development Seminar. In this video Derrick Hayes teaches the young men about the “VALUE of a Tie.”

Senior Breakfast

April 13, 2020

Senior Breakfast is where High School and College Seniors come together for breakfast to receive inspiration and motivation so that they can be prepared to finish out the school year on a high note and not be scared for life they will live after college. Derrick Hayes the “enTIEtainer” was they keynote speaker at the Senior Breakfast for the Class of 2020 at Shaw High School in Columbus, Georgia.

DERRICK Interview with International Basketball Player Charles Smith-Perry

August 26, 2015

CSPEncouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Charles Smith-Perry who is an International Basketball Player who stands 6-0 at 185 pounds.  All CSP knows is how to beat the odds and now he has the ball in his hands with offers to play in China and France. From Columbus, Georgia to Providence, Rhode Island this is the type of story that will keep you smiling.

D is for Dream. As a young child evolving into a young man, I had dreams of being a doctor. I always felt that being a doctor would allow me to be mentally tough, as well as emotionally. However, my life turned into a sports tracker once I began becoming involved in the sports at the Boys & Girls Club and AAU basketball. From flag football, to baseball, running track and basketball, I easily chose basketball over the rest. Continuing with basketball into my high school years, I had been chosen to be a team captain, accumulating many awards and accommodations in both track and basketball.

Entering my senior year of high school, my mind was made up to attend the University of Tennessee to play college basketball, through a partial scholarship. However, my hope had been challenged as I had blew out and broke my entire left leg along with an Tibia/Fibula fracture. Schools told me I was no longer an interest of theirs, surgeons told me it’d be tough for me to pick up a basketball to compete ever again; however, God held my hand before and through the entire process of surgery and recovery.

Without rehab, I chose to attend a Div. II college that gave me an opportunity to showcase my skills and knowledge. With graduating with my Bachelor’s in Business Administration and concentration in Sports Management, I have had successes in leading the nation as the top 3-pt. percentage shooter in Div. II collegiate basketball worldwide. Named team captain for two years, I took on the role to guide, lead, and understand the process of becoming a better teammate, individual for myself and my family, and a better man altogether.

After graduation in May 2015, I declared to become a professional basketball player. Receiving offers from Nanjin Army (Team China) and Paris-Levallois Basket (France), these opportunities declare that all things are possible through Christ. Being told I was too small, I was too short, I was not good in certain skill departments, or that I don’t meet expectations, there were still an amount of teams that has shown me interest in a good amount of time. Tuesday, I’ll be participating with a PBL League basketball team named the Providence SkyChiefs. This will be my last professional work. Off of the court I have hosted basketball camps and spoke at church events and clinics as a guest speaker, about my testimony in both life and sports. One day I pray to open a center for young adults and kids that can provide learning and sports opportunities to the community, as well as start a scholarship fund to those that are less fortunate and have limited income.

E is for Education. I attended Fox Elementary School, Marshall Middle (before transferring over to Fort Middle School) and attended Northside High School in August of 2006. I graduated Northside High (Columbus) in 2010. I went on to further my education and receiving my degree from the Montreat College, in May of 2015, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and concentration in Sports Management. I have put my degree to use with becoming the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act for Youth Services Counselor for my originated homeland, Providence, Rhode Island. Here I am developing bonds and relationships with over 40+ young adults from high school ages up to 24 years old.

R is for Resource. I am a ambitious and passionate young man. Everything I do, I put my all into. The words “impossible” and “can’t” are words I never found accepting. Failure has never been an option because I know that all things can be accomplished through Christ, my Lord. My resources have allowed me to develop relationships with professional attorney’s, coaches, scouts, motivational speakers, doctors, nurses and professional players.

R is for Ready. I knew I became ready when I met my coaches and mentors, Marshall Otto, Lincoln Walters and Hub Powell, when I got to Montreat. These men placed so much into my life that added onto my spiritual growth, my financial growth and my personal life that without them, my dreams of playing professional basketball, coaching or mentoring, would not even be of this world. I wanted to give in so many times so often, yet I always remained humble enough to pick up my Bible and look for answers and direction when things seemed a little deranged.

I is for Individual. Another individual that inspired me, that has also known me for my entire life and in the same network, is Mr. Xavier Lane. “Zay”, an organizational worker, a leader, father and independent clothing line designer, has shown me so much guidance and lead way. Himself earning himself a championship ring at Jordan High School, Lane is the ideal role model for a man. God-fearing, a loving son and father, and a very hardworking and excelling young man, my hat goes off to him for instilling so much in me and sets great examples in which I followed him and he may not even realize that.

C is for Challenges. Adoption at an early age, growing up angry feeling as though people owed me something, overcoming being ineligible for sports twice in college, losses of childhood and close friends, failing classes from not being attentive and focused, gambling, fought in high school and once in college, which almost led to a tough ruling from the president of the college.

K is for Key. In everything and all that you do, put God first and constantly want to improve and build that bond with Christ. He is KEY, He is THE KEY to all success. Anything that you put your mind to, you can achieve. When setting goals, make sure that they are attainable, approachable, maintainable, clear, concise and worthwhile. And always dream big; nothing in this world is too big for you! There is no limit to success.

Visit Charles Perry-Smith for more information.

DERRICK Interview with Eugene “Nap” Napoleon

March 18, 2015


Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Eugene Napoleon who grew up in the Marion Garden Housing Projects located in Jersey City, New Jersey. He dreamed of accomplishing two major goals in life. He wanted to play professional football, and become President, and CEO of his company. A collegiate standout student-athlete at West Virginia University, Napoleon went on to achieve both goals. He played professional football in the Arena Football League (AFL) with the Tampa Bay Storm, and the Orlando Predators. Also signed a professional contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

After retiring, Napoleon went on to establish both his Nap Records label, and Nap Sports Marketing / Management Company. The Nap Records Label is an independent record company that has successfully been around for the past 20 years. Nap Records recording artist Ny’a has sold over 500,000 records worldwide, which gave Eugene Napoleon, and Nap Records their first Gold-selling recording artist, and album. Napoleon has successfully negotiated (8) worldwide “Pressing and Distribution” deals for his Nap Records, LLC. Company.

In 1999, Eugene Napoleon established Nap Sports, LLC. In which, he is the President, and CEO. Nap Sports, LLC. Is a limited liability company involved with marketing, promotions, contract negotiations, special events, camps / clinics, speaking engagements, endorsement opportunities, and consultant work, for professional athletes, and other celebrity clients. In 2005 alone, Napoleon represented the MVP of the WNBA, and Co-represented the U.S. Open LPGA Golf Champion, and a member of the White Sox World Series Championship Team.

The Future is now, and because of the many years of success in the sports, and entertainment world, Eugene Napoleon decided to focus on another company. He is the CEO of Nap Vision Entertainment, LLC. Nap Vision Entertainment will continue to operate in the same fashion as Nap Sports did back in the late 90’s. Nap Vision Entertainment will be responsible for management, and representation, marketing, promotions, consulting, special events, and speaking engagements for professional athletes, professional recording artist, and other celebrity clients. Nap Vision Entertainment, LLC. Is home to Pamela Long, known around the world as “Pam,” the platinum selling recording artist, and lead singer of the R&B group, TOTAL. Eugene Napoleon also manages, and represents the R&B group, TOTAL. Nap Vision Entertainment also represents professional basketball player, Thazina Cook. Thazina plays for BC De Chenove in France.

Eugene Napoleon is also an educator. He has 20 years of teaching experience. He is a certified Special Education Teacher, dealing with Emotionally Disturbed, and Behavioral Disability students. Napoleon currently works for the Linden Board of Education.

Q. What is your dream, and what have you achieved?

A. When I was 7 years old, I told my mother that I wanted to play professional football, and become a CEO of my own company. My mother always inspired, and pushed me to make my dreams a reality. I thank God for her, because I did achieve those goals. I played professional football in the
Arena Football League (AFL) and I am the President, and CEO of Nap Records, LLC. And Nap Vision Entertainment, LLC. I am a successful, and well respected business man, Barnes & Noble “Bestselling” author, sports agent, and consultant, and manager of one of the most successful R&B groups in the history of the music business, TOTAL.

Q. What encourages you?

A. I have always been blessed with great faith. I grew up in the Marion Garden Projects in Jersey City, New Jersey. So, my mother was my HERO! My mother taught me the importance of character, morals, values, discipline, and having a great work ethic. So, with that came this burning desire to
want success in everything that I was involved in. My encouragement comes from always wanting to inspire positive change in the life of others. I am encouraged, and motivated by all of my sisters, and brothers that did not make it to see their dreams become a reality. My mother had 7 children, and she buried 5 of them. So, I have a totally different perspective on life.

Q. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand

A. I was blessed to have a mother that taught me so many different lessons regarding life. My background in sports, and entertainment, has provided me with many great opportunities to meet, and work with many other successful people. I am respected, because I bring honesty, integrity, with a high moral code to anything that I am a part of. In most cases, those qualities, and beliefs are hard to find in the kind of businesses that I am involved in.

Q. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

A. When I was 7 years old. I had a conversation with my mother telling her what I wanted to accomplish in my life. We mapped out something called, “The Blueprint.” I used “The Blueprint” to inspire my entire life. I told my mother was my dreams were at 7 years old. I was blessed to accomplish every goal, and objective that we discussed that day. So, I would say, I knew when I was 7 years of age.

Q. Name at least one person that you know you feel others should learn about, and why?

A. I my life, I’ve had a few special people that I would think people could learn a few things from. It starts with my mother. She was the strongest person I’ve ever met. As I stated before, because of my experiences in my life, my personal perspectives are different. I don’t view or measure success the way most people would. So, I’ve learned from those special individuals that understand the importance of the core of who we should be as people. It has nothing to do with how much money you have, or how many cars or homes you may have. It comes down to how we treat each other, and
are your actions reflective of your words, and the way you are living your life. So, I would say, my mother, Ivedell Mcclam, and my high school head coach, Frank Gargiulo.

Q. When you fail, things look bleak or are not optimistic, what makes you want to continue?

A. I understand my purpose in life. When I was just 4 years old. My 9 year old sister saved my life. We were in the biggest house fire of that time period in the history of Jersey City. My sister died in that fire. She gave her life for me. So, I’ve always had a greater purpose, and an understanding that my walk in life would be different. My faith in God, and my personal belief in myself, has always allowed me to stay focused in the face of adversity.

Q. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs, and leaders?

A. I would tell them to learn their own purpose. It’s important to know the purpose, and the reason, and how you will use your success to impact others around you. In order to be a successful or productive leader, you first have to understand all positions of structure. That would mean, if you were a follower at one point in your life, that would give you an opportunity to learn, and become an effective leader when given an opportunity. I have learned from others, and their mistakes on how to become a better husband, a better father, a better person, CEO, Sports Agent / business consultant, a better Special Education Teacher, and someone that walks in their own truth. I would hope to leave those lessons for anyone that would listen. For me it’s all about, inspiring positive change in the life of others.

Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview. Stay blessed.

Eugene “Nap” Napoleon,

DERRICK Interview with Motivational Mentor Ed Wisdom III

May 3, 2014

Edspeaking1Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.

Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Ed Wisdom, III, motivational speaker, mentor, and the founder of The Edward H. Wisdom Jr. Foundation established in 2012 in honor of his father who was murdered by an “at-risk” teen, has powered himself to the forefront with his initiatives on growth and empowerment in areas of manhood, fatherhood, youth, parenting, family and community. These initiatives include efforts in spiritual, philosophical, psychological, emotional, social, and financial development.Earlier this year, Wisdom was the keynote speaker for Black History Month at Austin Peay State University where he spoke on excellence and 2 Corinthians 8:7, “excel in everything.” Wisdom was the first African American keynote speaker at the governor’s 11th annual Tennessee Season To Remember in 2013 to honor and remember victims of homicide. Wisdom was also guest speaker at the Citywide Trayvon Martin Walk on Capitol Hill.

Wisdom has delivered his message all over the city, at prisons, juvenile detention centers, churches, schools,universities, throughout the media, and more. He explains how “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” to articulate to men that we have a responsibility in helping other individuals grow. Wisdom also conveys the idea that “a good man leaves behind a [legacy] for his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22) promoting the leadership of men in powering families with gifts passed from generation to generation.

Wisdom is in Senior Management in Management Information Systems (MIS) at Vanderbilt University following his father’s, Ed Wisdom Jr., footsteps as he was the Directorof MIS at TSU. Wisdom not only followed his father in his career but in his heritage in character, integrity, and much more. Wisdom is a graduate of Tennessee State University (TSU), where he also earned his Masters’ degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Information Systems.

His son Erik Wisdom has followed these same footsteps earning a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Business Information Systems at Tennessee State University, thus fulfilling the legacy good men leave behind “for their children’s children.”

Ed Wisdom III was the creator of The Gentleman’s Agreement: The Rebirth of the Black Man, held at Vanderbilt University, a discussion on Growth and Empowerment; The Rebirth Vol. II Brainwashed with author and advertising genius Tom Burrell held at Tennessee State University; Life, Love, Legacy and Leadership; The Go Further, Go Farther, Go FATHER Fatherhood Initiative at Fisk University, and much more.

Wisdom is very active in the case involving the tragic murder of his father and has been very vocal in the media, with law enforcement, politician, community organizations, and more. He is a proven leader in the community.

D is for Dream. What is your dream, goals or what have you achieved?

My goal is to help men grow spiritually, philosophically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, and financially to find their true identity.  If you take a look at 2 Corinthians 8:7, it speaks to “excelling in everything” in those areas…faith (spiritual), speech and knowledge (philosophical),…complete earnestness (psychological), the love (emotional), others (social), in order that we may become rich (financial), understanding that the word financial is a Latin word where the prefix FIN means complete, or settled up and not necessarily wealthy.  My dream is to see this through to fruition with those I directly (or even indirectly) influence in order that they have that same “cultural capital” to pass on to those they lead.

E is for Education. What is your educational background and how do you use it daily?

I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration / Management Information Systems.  I serve as Senior Manager of Database Administration in Vanderbilt University Information Technology department.  In addition to that, I provide IT consulting services through my own company.  I am a motivational speaker as well, so my dissemination of information to help individuals make intelligent decisions comes in a couple of different forms; technology and human interaction.

R is for Resource. What resources do you bring to the table that makes you unique or stand out?

EdSpeakingIf you trace the lineage from my grandfather, Ed Sr., through to my son, I offer a compelling story for men and our responsibilities as it relates to life, love, legacy, and leadership and how each of us have overachieved in those areas through building good names, character and integrity.  Each of us of was resilient, each with different sets of adversity.  My grandfather’s father died when he was 7, his mother when he was 17, and he had nothing more than a 7th grade education, however he traveled the world by sea 5 times over; raised 8 children (6 boys) who were college educated and/or decorated military veterans; and built a trucking business on good character.  My father during a time of racial divide was close lifelong friends with Olympic great Wilma Rudolph, a decorated paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Parachute Infantry and the all-black 555th Airborne Parachute Battalion (Tripe Nickles), the 1st African American to teach at Clarksville High School in Clarksville, TN after integration, was 1 of 2 of the first African Americans to work in IBMs top secret security clearance facility in Atlantic City, NJ, and went on to become the Director of MIS at Tennessee State University for nearly 40 years.  Myself, I followed my father’s footsteps in Information Systems and after his tragic murder in 2011, I formed a foundation in his name to share with men ideas on legacy and leadership.  My son, followed in Information Systems and Technology as well and was raised in my household, a single parent household, and has risen in excellence.  All of this combined forms a unique story that I share with men on how to manifest through identities.

R is for Ready. When did you realize you were ready for what you are doing now?

When my son was born, I felt my father had equipped me with everything in life to be a good man, a great leader, and do great things, and fatherhood would be my change to prove it.  It catapulted me into a role that was greater than just heading my own household but in leading young boys and men connected to my son who lacked male leadership at home.  When my father was murdered I was certain that my purpose was to do exactly what I had been doing and was to continue demonstrating to men through my actions and also my words as a motivational speaker as to exactly what it took to become a real man.

uchenI is for Individual. Name at least one individual in your network that others should learn more about and why?

Uchendi Nwani.  He has a very intriguing story about his fall, then rise to becoming a respected leader and entrepreneur.  We grew up together in the same church where his stepfather was the Pastor. We went to high school together, and have been friends for years. Uchendi is the Author of “The Millionaire Barber Stylist” and the owner of International Barber and Style which is largest barber college in the United States.

C is for Challenges. What challenges have you had to overcome?

The adversity through the murder of my father, my hero, in late 2011 has been and is my greatest challenge.  I believe I have taken it on with resilience and have ensured that the works that he began continue in the likeness of his good name.  I am still engulfed deeply in the continued investigation into my father’s murder and I am strengthened each day by my purpose to lead my family through this to and get back to more peaceful days.

K is for Key. What keys to success can you leave for upcoming entrepreneurs and leaders?

Success comes in building a good name, character and integrity and understanding that success is less about accomplishments and more about the manifestation of your identity as a visionary, a leader, and an overachiever.  Success is also understanding that good leadership is not about you as much as it is about them, those who follow.  Your goal is to develop those who follow you, making them leaders, some of whom are equipped to pass your vision on to in order to keep your vision alive.

Visit Ed Wisdom III for more information.

5 Things High School Didn’t Teach You about College

January 27, 2014

BrittanyMajorBy Brittaney Major

The four years spent in high school are supposed to teach you the things you will use to prepare for the rest of your life. However, despite what they tell you, countless formulas, Law of Conservation of Mass or knowing every detail of American History doesn’t do much to prepare you for college.

I remember sitting in my room the night before I moved into my first college dorm. There were countless suitcases around me filled with stuff I collected throughout my past 18 years. But none of that helped me plan out the next four years of my life either.  I was trying to remember some type of class or curriculum that prepared me for this time of my life; but the harder I thought, the less I came up with. You’re supposed to move away from your family, share a room with someone you’ve never met before, and learn how to live on your own… with what? The advice I got most frequently was don’t flunk out, don’t get arrested, and make sure you get to all of your classes on time. Well that was all true but it didn’t really tell me much about how this college thing was supposed to work for me. So here’s a list of things that have helped me be a better and happier me.

1. You must learn to be comfortable with your quality alone time.

I was the girl in high school who had lots of friends and loved to be around people. Although that has not changed, I do value the quiet time I spend in my bedroom with my scented soy candle, listening to Jill Scott and writing in my journal. Honestly, I find myself often looking forward to that time where I can just sit alone with my thoughts and allow myself to evaluate who I am and where I want to go. And that is very healthy for any human to want. So make sure you always have some time throughout your busy week to spend time with yourself. You should use this time as an opportunity to reflect, to be completely honest with yourself and to think about your past. A part of growing up and maturing is finding who you are as a person. That can only be done when you take the time to know and learn yourself.

2. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to be good at everything.

As sad as it is to say, life is all about finding the things that you do well and doing them. Especially in school, you have to accept that every class will not come at ease for you. The things that you work hardest for are usually the ones that you will value and take pride in the most. So with everything you do, do your best and be proud of yourself for it; even if no one else is. You have to learn to celebrate your own success because you are the only one who can evaluate your effort. Make sure you are honest with yourself. After completing an assignment, think about the things that you could have done better or differently and use that as a lesson for the next time. There will be people around you who will succeed at the things you failed. But don’t compare yourself to them because you don’t know what they had to go through to fight for their success. I always tell myself, “The only person you should try and be better than is the person you were yesterday.” That means, take your own experiences and learn from them instead of comparing yourself to someone else’s progression.

3. Learn to be your biggest fan.

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Many times, people will doubt you, judge you, betray you and even criticize you, but you have to learn to ignore all of that and keep going. College is the first place that you may be forced to learn the importance of having a thick skin. You can’t allow a bad day, a bad grade or a rude comment break you. If someone doubts you, instead of reacting with sharp words, prove them wrong by doing the exact opposite of what they said you couldn’t do. Be humble, but expect great things for and from yourself and you will rise to the occasion every time.

4. Do things that make you happy often.

The little things in life end up being the ones that we value and appreciate the most. Sometimes it‘s not always about the material things or all the expensive things we acquire, but it’s those small things we really hold dear to our hearts. While in school, things tend to get alittle stressful and out of control. So it is important to find those things that will bring you back down and help you regroup. Take time for yourself and go get your nails done, go to a jazz concert or go for a walk. We spend too much time trying to satisfy and make other people happy that we end up forgetting about what’s important to us. You are all you have so why not do things to make yourself smile?

5. Be okay with knowing that your prince may not suddenly appear during these college years.

I admit, I wanted to say that I married my college sweetheart. But, in reality, that may just not happen. And just like all five of these points, you have to learn to be okay with that. It’s been said that college is one of the best times of your life. And it really is. You have a freedom that you have never experienced before. So don’t try and force yourself into a relationship. Study abroad! Go greek! Join a club or organization! Do things that will make you a better person to fall in love with.

 “There’s a blessing in every breath you take. Even when it’s hard to breathe you have yet to suffocate. I commend you for your endurance even when the air is thick– keep breathing, keep loving, keep going.”
-Alexandra Elle

Brittaney C. Major  is a Class of 2015 Mass Communication- Print Journalism major, Marketing Minor at Winthrop University. Brittaney is also a member of National Association of Black Journalist- Winthrop University Chapter, President Office of Student Activities Student Assistant, Style Guru Reporter for Seventeen Magazine, Roddey McMillan-Record, Staff Writer, Girl Talk Foundation, Inc. and Volunteer
Social Media Specialist at Jumping the Broom Bridal Magazine.

The DAILY Message for Tuesday January 7th, 2014

January 7, 2014

AskDerrickAboutEach week day Derrick Hayes encourages you through a Derricknym, App and Idea to Lift You.

(Please read , Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

  • Derricknym: Make Your Dream EXPOUND (Even Xraying Purpose Opens Universe to New Destiny).
  • App: Today’s word is Senior. High School and College is when we mostly think about Senior years. Think how you can help elderly as you will be a Senior one day?  Receive Today’s word in Motivation To Your Mobile app on Android and i-phones.  
  • Idea: Find a base to make your salary.

Please visit Derrick’s website at http://www.DerrickHayes.com and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662.

The DAILY Message for Friday November 22nd, 2013

November 22, 2013

collegespeakerEach week day Derrick Hayes encourages you through a Derricknym, App and Idea to Lift You.

(Please read , Like, Share, Retweet or Reblog The DAILY Message)

  • Derricknym: You will always be in COLLEGE (Continue On Living and Learning Everything to Get Empowered).
  • App: Today’s word is Rare. Little things like being, opening doors, saying excuse me and asking with please in some communities is rare these days. Receive Today’s word with Motivation To Your Mobile app on Android and i-phones.  
  • Idea: Dream like ideas are listening.

Please visit Derrick’s website at http://www.DerrickHayes.com and to book him for a speaking engagement or media event, send an email to info@DerrickHayes.com  or call (706) 615-1662.

The Importance of Relationship Building in College

October 17, 2013

AnthonyDixonAnthony Dixon

College is what you make it. You can either sleepwalk through it or create a series of relationships and memories that will last the rest of your life.

As opposed to what many people might think, academics are only a small part of college. In my opinion, the single greatest part about college is being in an environment that has been cultivated over years to produce higher-level thinkers. For a short few years, college students have the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds around while learning and forming unique opinions that they have never heard before.

Most students that enter college have a fairly neutral opinion regarding most subjects. Sure, they have preferences for certain bands, a political standpoint and know who their favorite football team is, but for the most part they are neutral. That’s a good thing.

One of the greatest parts about college is meeting people who have different opinions than you do. They might have certain things in common, but for the most part they are diverse. These people will open you to a world that is completely unlike your own, and vice versa.

For instance, people from the north will have different opinions than people from the west coast, and someone from Louisiana will have a different cultural upbringing than people from Alaska. You can think of it as a melting pot of different ideas. Each of these is a spice that adds to the flavor, until ultimately you come out with the better of every one.

The same goes with teachers. Professors are there for mental guidance. The closer you get with them the better. Though this can be difficult in some of the bigger universities, it is worth taking the extra step. You can build long-lasting relationships with professors, who in turn can help you find jobs out of college, get you into that club that you want or just be a parental figure when you need it most.

College is difficult, but it can also be exceedingly fun and rewarding. The harder you work at it the more you will get out of it. That is especially true with relationship-building. Your acquaintances are what you remember most in college, so you might as well work as hard as you can to make them.

Anthony Dixon got his start as a marketing consultant for Waterline LLC from networking in college. Waterline is a company with a patent-pending oil tank cleaner.