2023 Howard University graduate, Javid Mitchell, is advising young people to “be determined, resilient, and positive” to achieve their goals, despite inevitable challenges.
Mitchell, who last month graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 grade point average in Computer Science, endured financial and other challenges during the three-and-a-half-year journey.
His academic pursuit to a Bachelor of Science commenced in 2019 with his parents funding the tuition for the first year and then Mitchell having to employ his skills to fund his studies and living expenses.
This included working remotely with the Spice Island Beach Resort after its October 2021 opening to digitalize some of its operations, undergoing internships and offering tutoring services.
Cut back measures included living with family to reduce housing expenses and commuting for 2 hours to and fro, with a significant portion of the journey involving a 45-minute walk to the bus stop. To occupy himself during the long commutes, he listened music, sleep, communicated with his parents or brainstorm solutions to lab-related problems.
Additionally to save monies, Mitchell, who graduated with the highest GPA from the College of Engineering and Architecture, also completed his studies in three-and-a-half-years instead of four by taking on 20 credits each semester.
The top achiever, who hails from New Hampshire in Saint George, admitted that along the way he found out about available services that he wasn’t privy to before such as scholarships and mentorship, that would have eased the burden. “I wish I would have known that earlier,” he told The Grenadian Voice.
Despite it all, Mitchell said he remained motivated remembering the financial investment his parents made in him and his dad’s appeal to him to do what he is passionate about and he will succeed.
In advice to others, he said, “don’t be afraid to take calculated risk, get outside of your comfort zone and believe in yourself” to succeed.
Sharing life lessons learnt, Mitchell noted that diligence and remaining committed are integral in achieving any goal. He added that one must embrace every opportunity to learn, grow and develop one’s skills; believe in yourself and have a strong support system, noting that the strongest at times have weak moments and would need encouragement to keep going.
Further, he stressed the need to network, sharing that this avenue provided him his first internship opportunity.
Mitchell’s mother expressed, “As a mother, I am incredibly proud to witness the child I helped raise develop into a stunning, ambitious, and successful young man.”
Adis Mitchell told this newspaper: “I’ve always pushed my son to do his best. I made sure to remind him of this from a young age to his current age, along with additional advice such as placing God first in everything he does, not following the wrong crowd, and focusing on what he does best.”
She shared that she contacted her son daily “to see how he was doing and to always encourage him in his pursuits. I’ve always drummed into his mind that no matter how difficult his struggle is, he should never give up and keep moving forward, and that failing is natural as it allows us to grow and learn from our mistakes.”
Father Allan Mitchell recalled that the journey was “difficult” but noted that his son’s accomplishment was of no surprise to him. He shared that even after attending three meetings with the former prime minister, Javid did not get through with a “promised” scholarship or assistance from the previous administration. Thus, realizing how hurt his son was, he immediately decided to self-fund his studies, in excess of US$140, 000.
More so, he said additional expenses included an apartment when his son went to live on his own and a vehicle after he got a scare for his safety when travelling on foot.
Allan described his son as one who always had a passion to learn more and is tech savvy. “So it was no surprise he did well and would continue to do well, he told me he was going to top his school.”
The proud father added, “It was a lot of commitment, determination and guts,” as he thanked the many people for their prayers and support.
In addition to in classroom sessions, Mitchell participated in extracurricular activities serving on the executive of technology-related clubs. His hobbies include photography and outdoor adventures.
Having completed studies in December 2022, Mitchell returned to Grenada and took up on site employment at Spice Island Beach Resort as an operations consultant to help improve the resort’s day to day operations and overall efficiency. His close knit to the resort began as a child, as he spent a lot of time there after school since his dad was an employee.
Last month, he returned to the USA and is working as a consultant with the Washington DC–based consulting company KCIC. Mitchell is currently on island for a few days, visiting family.
As for his next academic move, Mitchell shared that despite being offered three scholarships including two PhD offers, his “deep interest in renewable energy” may lead him to a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Engineering, in Columbia University soon.
His dedication to sustainable energy has already led him to complete the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification while pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree.
Mitchell is a graduate of the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) and the T A Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) where he obtained an Associate’s degree in Computer Systems Engineering, with the highest GPA in his programme.
Based on his experience moving from the Grenada education system to the American system, in future Mitchell plans to establish a non–profit organisation in Grenada to assist prospective students overcome obstacles and successfully steer the complexity of the American education system via mentorship, resources, and other assistance, towards realizing their goals.