In a world of conformity, being yourself can be a challenge for many young adults.
For Akeel Johnson, authenticity is a way of life.
Johnson, 23, graduated from Mansfield Summit High School in 2014 and discovered Texas Wesleyan through his grandmother June Johnson, who works at the university circulation desk.
Johnson, a mass communication major, says helping people by being himself is one of his most notable accomplishments during his time at Wesleyan.
“I personally believe many people can influence someone by being themselves,” Johnson said. “I’ve always made changes to become the person I want to be and have helped so many people by doing that.”
Johnson has had the opportunity to introduce this philosophy to many aspects of the Wesleyan community with an impressive resume of campus involvement.
He has been involved in many organizations on campus, including an internship with the School of Business and time as president of the creative writing organization Phi Epsilon Nu.
He is currently a resident assistant for West Village, and is involved in many other activities.
“I don’t like sitting on ideas or hesitating when it comes to doing something,” Johnson said. “I decided to become an RA to help people and put my ideas into action.”
Johnson said he has had many students tell him that he is their favorite RA or that he has really helped them; he finds the experience very rewarding.
Surprisingly, even with such a busy schedule, Johnson said that his greatest challenges in college were never directly school related.
“My biggest challenge was staying focused through an existential crisis,” Johnson said. “It has become social norm to never talk about our problems, but we all go through the same things.”
Johnson encourages those with personal struggles to push through them.
“It is hard to maintain your responsibilities when dealing with personal issues, but we tend to underestimate ourselves,” Johnson said. “We forget all the things that overwhelmed us before are now behind us and we always find a way past it.”
Johnson said that by following this ideology, he ironically made the Dean’s list during what he remembers as his most difficult semester.
When asked what he plans to do after graduation, Johnson said that he feels there is never a clear answer.
“I am going to work to pursue photography, cinematography, music, and poetry,” Johnson said. “I’m going to move to California when I can and try to apply my skills with a gaming company.”
Johnson’s advice to those he is leaving behind at Wesleyan is to find yourself and try new things.
“At the end of your life you won’t worry about what people thought of you,” Johnson said. “You will wonder about the experiences you didn’t have and the things you didn’t do.”
Johnson concluded his advice with his favorite quote from Dr. Seuss.
“Be who you are and say what you feel,” Johnson quoted. “Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”