Happy New Week Pals🙋🏿♂️🐴,
I know I’m late, but I just wrapped up Season 2 of Westworld last night, and I literally couldn’t schleep because I stayed up wondering if everything is just a simulation.
Maybe one’s mind shouldn’t always… Stay Creative😥.
Who Is: Donovan Colquitt
The Scholar’s Key
On episode 24, I have a #CreativeConversation with my pal, Donovan Colquitt, Founder of The Scholar's Key, an organization dedicated to helping students go through college debt-free. He is also the author of The Scholar's Key: Unlock Your Dreams As A Teen, a book he wrote to help other teens pursue their passions in life.
In this episode, Donovan talks about the struggles he overcame growing up in Detroit during The Great Recession, how he accumulated over $1.25M in scholarships, and why you need to be Patient and Flexible.
WHO IS: Donovan Colquitt?
Born and raised in South Detroit, Donovan is a city boy w̶h̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶i̶d̶n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶
I started typing and could not resist.
Donovan actually was born and raised in Detroit (not sure if it was the southern region though), and one interesting fact about him is he’s a descendant of a generation of engineers. It’s one of the reasons why he’s so passionate about the STEM field and is currently All But Dissertation (ABD) for his PhD in Engineering Education.
But being that his family is from Detroit and are majority engineers, it also led to Donovan overcoming one his biggest life struggles which was the The Great Recession of 2008.
Overcoming bankruptcy, moving to a roach-infested apartment, and adjusting to a new school district where less people looked like him, Donovan realized he had to grow up and get serious about his future if he wanted to be successful. This led him to pick up three jobs while he was in high school. But he knew that if he really wanted to be successful, he would need to focus on his college education while simultaneously reducing his parent’s financial burden.
So during one of his junior year classes, Donovan googled everything he could about scholarships and came upon a website with a long list of them. He applied for all the scholarships he could find, won them all, and went to live happily ever after 🙌🏿.
That junior year, Donovan received NO responses from any of the scholarships he applied for. Not an email, call, or text!
As the summer after his junior year approached, Donovan had to deal with the fact that his only option would be to apply for loans and accrue a massive amount of debt. But that same summer, he had the opportunity to attend SCEEP*, a Summer College Engineering Exposure Program at his future alma mater, The University of Michigan.
*I also attended the SCEEP program during my college prep journey, but I wasn’t as lucky as Donovan was below🙂.
This program included a few scholarships that were given out to selected members, but going in, Donovan didn’t even consider himself a potential candidate. He dealt with imposter syndrome as he met other program participants with top tier skills and backgrounds and he also dealt with poor public speaking skills so the fact that there was a required presentation component at the end of the 10-day program made him all the less confident.
Yet, at the closing ceremony… Donovan’s name was called to accept one of the $10k annual scholarships. It was such a shock that Donovan thought they were calling somebody else at first. As he and his mom walked to the stage to accept his first ever scholarship, she broke down in tears.
This moment gave Donovan the confidence and motivation to continue applying for scholarships, and the following school year, he won every single scholarship he applied for resulting in a total of $1.25M.
The Scholar’s Key
While being fleeewed out to a NCAA Final Four game by one of his scholarship providers, Donovan’s mom mentioned that he should write a book to detail his scholarship journey so that he could help other teens, and that’s exactly what he did.
Donovan started drafting his book, The Scholar’s Key: How You Can Unlock Your Dreams As A Team, during that same Final Four Trip and completed it a couple weeks later. Despite finishing it his senior year of high school, Donovan didn’t publish the book till his senior year of college!
To continue assisting students (and parents) who also wanted to increase their chances of winning scholarships, Donovan founded The Scholar’s Key Academy. After a free consultation to see if it’s a right fit, applicants can enroll in 1 of 2 courses where they’ll receive a multitude of resources such as coaching to obtain the mindset needed to win a scholarship, strategies to find scholarships, how to tailor your essay, and much more!
Share this with someone you think could benefit from Donovan’s resources!
Because my interviews are focused on my guests telling their story, I try to give them as much Talking Time as possible. “My Takeaways” is usually a space for me to share my thoughts on the interview, but for this newsletter, I wanted to share some special news.
The Fear Of Being Flexible
Not sure if it was a sign that Donovan’s words of advice were “Be patient and flexible”, but I felt like his words were specifically directed at me.
I consider myself a flexible person because I’m usually able to go with the vibes, but when it comes to something that I want to do, I’m pretty set in my ways and don’t like to make changes. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad trait, but when you have the feeling that something can be improved by being done differently, but you decide to continue doing the same thing, it tends to not end well. I tend to struggle with this at times, and it’s 100% an egotistical thing because it tends to feel like failure when you change course on something you’ve publicly set sail on.
But it would be hypocritical of me if I stayed rigid in my ways when the whole tagline of my podcast is to “Stay Creative.” My number one goal of Pol and Pals is to make people understand that whatever you want to accomplish, it can be done. You just gotta figure out HOW. Interestingly enough, I consider this podcast journey as a case study of the above statement.
I felt that Donovan’s Words of Advice were meant for me because as I work to grow the podcast, I frequently deal with self-doubt thoughts like, “Did I make the jump to Youtube too quick?”, “Will I ever grow my audience?”, “Am I even inspiring people?”
Thoughts like this on their own don’t make things better, but they can act as springboards for ideas to figure what CAN be done. I want to make sure that everything I do is of value and not just being done because I used to do it, so moving forward, there will no longer be a LIVE version of my episodes (which also means no more raffle prize giveaways). Although I think there’s still value in live events, the audience and quality of it is not at a level that I want. So I would rather focus on improving the quality of all the other content I put out to ensure that the squeeze is worth the juice. Or is it to ensure the juice is worth the squeeze?🤔
Anyhoo, I’m excited for the switch up and I truly feel that it’s a step in the right direction. Although the live experience worked at the time of creation, I don’t want it to also be the limiting factor of the podcast. And don’t worry, I will still be dropping new inspirational episodes every other Monday on Youtube and all podcasting platforms!
Now I just gotta work on the whole patience thing…😅
I love hearing from all the Pals whether it’s critique or compliments, so let me know what you think of the end of the LIVE and Raffle by replying to this email! I’m always open to suggestions 😊.
NEXT EPISODE… On the next episode of Pol and Pals, my pal and I will have a creative conversation about being a singer/songwriter, being nominated as a New Artist of the Year, and helping leaders become leaders.