Spirit of Oya

Energizing Through Music & Art

Get to know OYA with the FREE single “LOVE,” from her debut album Spirit of Oya. This groovy original shows OYA’s gifts as a songwriter and mixes together ingredients from R&B, Pop and Reggae into a flavorful treat. You’ll also be entered into a monthly drawing to win the

post title background Shine Your Light through Education

I was recently asked to speak about my book The Five Star Points for Success at a high school. They were about to take their year-end finals, and the administration called upon me to encourage and inspire the students by sharing with them how important education has been to manifesting my dreams and achieving my life’s purpose. I was thrilled, because education has been absolutely critical to my personal growth and my life’s successes.

Many people in the entertainment industry believe that you don’t have to go to school in order to succeed. While I do not think that everyone absolutely has to go to college, I believe what my high school economics teacher, Mr. Mitzenberg told me: “Ms. Thomas, I believe you will make it in this world on a large scale whether you go to college or not. However, I firmly believe that if you go to college, it will open many doors for you.”

Why do I believe this? Because he was absolutely right!

Finishing college instilled me with that fulfilling sense of pride that comes from completing something very challenging and important. Of course, college was often extremely difficult! I was up late hours and had to live off four hours of sleep at times due to studying and working on papers that I sometimes did not want to do. But being able to endure those challenges instilled me with the skills to endure those same rough days and nights that I have come across working on my companies.

Now, I love being on stage, singing and speaking. And I love writing and producing my music and a wide variety of projects for clients. I also love running workshops and coaching other creative spirits. But you just cannot do all of that without advance preparation and the ability to truly work hard and have the mindset of finishing what you start!

The years I spent in school taught me so much. They made me mentally strong, and they helped me realize I can truly do anything. When challenges rear their ugly heads, I never say, “I can’t,” because I know I can! I remember my time spent working hard to complete my degrees and just think, “Been there, done that!” And then the challenges do not seem so daunting.

Whenever I have to face deadlines now, I know I can meet them under any and all circumstances. While I am college educated and have a master’s degree, and I enjoyed many classes I took and used a lot of the information I learned along the way, there were still some classes I took that made me wonder why I was there and what the point was. But even those classes were part of my evolution as an artist, performer, business woman and coach. They played a part in my personal development and helped make me, me!

This development is so imperative; that is why I am sharing this post with you. I especially want the teenagers reading this to understand that there is a purpose to learning and to education. Even though, because I work in entertainment, some of my life is so-called “glamorous,” there are other times I have to do a lot of paperwork and what others would call “busywork” for my business. I do not want to, but I have to! It is part of the work I have to do to keep my company, my career and my dream alive and well!

I am going to get real with you: You are going to experience some growing pains as you work towards manifesting your dreams. But you can’t give up! There will be hours you have to put into everything, and these hours will start in high school and continue on into college and with your first jobs and projects. When these “hard times” hit, they can make you or break you!

Getting good grades opened doors for me that I could not have imagined when I was a teenager. As the old saying goes, “If I knew what I knew now …” Certainly, you can look back on anything in your life with an older and wiser perspective and think of what you could’ve done better or just differently. This is just what happens! Many students do not think school is important, and this causes them to let go and lose focus, unaware they are making one of the biggest mistakes of their life. Many of these students will drop out or get bad grades. Even if they graduate, they will be left behind as their friends move forward. They are left behind and either get stuck with the others that either did not push to work hard, or end up on their own without support, working in jobs that neither pay well, fulfill them, nor allow them to fully shine their light and achieve their goals.

Let me ask you this: What kind of person would hire someone who did not strive to do their best in school or in life, who did not go on to an institution of higher learning or push themselves to the limit in order to pursue something they are passionate about and to achieve great things?

Now, who would hire you if you had good grades and were on the college track? Who would assist you if you had your own company or even just a great idea for a company that you were pushing to bring to fruition? I started my first business in high school, and I have never regretted it! It was hard work, but it put me on the right track and helped me get on the path towards manifesting my dreams.

I implore you to thrive, soar and exercise your mind so you can allow it to grow! Education is key. And now I recognize that when my economics teacher said that education would open more doors for me, it was 100-percent true! It has indeed opened big doors. I am not even sure I would’ve gone to college had it not been what Mr. Mitzenberg said to me. Now, there are people who hire me to this day because of my achievements as an author and speaker — achievements I would have not been able to accomplish had I not gone to college and graduate school.

As a teenager, you are being bombarded by new experiences, and you might feel like your emotions are all over the place as you navigate the road to adulthood and independence. The outcome of your decisions during this time will have an impact on your entire life, but it can be a real struggle sometimes to make these decisions when you are faced with pressure and criticism from your friends and even the adults in your life. All this pressure might make you feel like you can’t truly shine – like you might not be able to do something fantastic with your life.

The type of education you pursue depends on what you would like to do with your life and which career you choose, but no matter what you choose, pursuing education will make you even stronger and better than you ever imagined you could be! It will help you make those tough decisions even when you feel there is too much chaos, so your light and spirit can shine bright!

And I’m here to tell you that with the right tools — including education! — you can cultivate your dreams and dare to make a big plan for your life. You will feel empowered enough to seize all the opportunities and possibilities that are going to come your way!

So, to all you teenagers: If you did not do well last semester, I want to encourage you to do some thinking over the summer about your dreams and what you would like for your life, and get into a place where you are ready to commit with all your heart in the fall.

For those adults who left school or never went at all, I want to motivate you to go for it! Get your GED, go to college (no matter what your age) and find your passion — something to study and work towards that makes your heart sing!

And I would also like to encourage parents of teens to talk to their kids. Encourage them! Get them involved in workshops that inspire them or connect them with mentors — whatever it takes! Because, high school is really a big deal. Take it from me: Going to college can be the key that unlocks the door to a happy, prosperous life!

One of the things I enjoy most is helping teens find the strength to connect with themselves so they can find their life’s purpose and live out their dreams. I even have a “Teen Dream Makers” workshop that I designed especially for them! There’s a video of me below speaking in front of a group of young people. I hope my words can make an impact in your life and inspire you or someone close to you to keep shining bright!

Please click to watch video 🙂


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