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  • Writer's pictureManny

#TruEMU UPDATES: Meet Lideja White

The one misconception about college graduates is that most people think we dumb and don't know what we talking about. Truthfully, we have been through and seen it all by the time we graduated from our respected universities. And by "through it all", I mean we have accumulated an eccentric amount of knowledge, experience, development, and real life decisions that will in fact change our progression in life. Most of the time all before turning the age of 21.

(Story Time)

Back when I used to volunteer part-time on the radio, I remember an interview I had with a popular radio station in Metro-Detroit a few years back. I was super-geeked because a good friend of mine told me to reach out and email this person for an interview for an summer internship and we initially were getting our names out there in the field.

(Call me DJ MannyyFreshh from here on out.)

I remember pulling up to the interview, seeing my on air partner exiting the building and he told me "Yeah bro I blew it." He told me he was only 10 minutes late and the interviewer, (she) did not tolerate tardiness. He was disappointed but we both agreed that in our industry it's better to take a chance rather than not give it your best shot. Seeing him out of his element threw me off but at the same time I knew I had to go hard for the both of us.

My interviewer came in with some food, took a gulp of water from her water bottle, asked for my paper resume, and started to conduct the interview. Have you ever had an interviewer ask you questions while eating a salad? With croutons too? Bruh.

"What is it with the students graduating from EMU, Wayne, Michigan State and CMU thinking they know everything in the industry? What are they even teaching yall? Emanuel your degree from EMU really ain't helping you here. Yall graduates really don't know anything forreal".

I thought I was applying for an internship though?

Qualifications aside, (because being a DJ is literally a whole career and not just about organizing a small playlist to play on air), they really wanted a pre-set recorded playlist, and I personally think the interviewer wanted a talented team with just women. (There were multiple positions that were not just for strictly DJs I might add). Along with other questions that are part of a normal interview that I got dry responses on, it was safe to say I did not get that summer internship. This interview was not only disrespectful, but it also showed me that there are current industry professionals, (who ain't even attempt college or experienced it), that will inherently devalue your degree when they barely even know a person's full life experience regardless of professional work in academia. These are black professionals by the way which is even more puzzling, embarrassing, and discouraging. I can't be the only graduate who has experienced this post college.

I just want people to put some respect on the name attached to college degrees. The knowledge, experience, development, and the testament of "finishing what you started" is what college graduates are proud of. Many people forget that it is a time commitment. Honestly many of those don't have it in them to do it themselves.

  • Add on to the fact that many people statistically don't graduate annually, they drop out.

  • Add on to the fact that many college graduates suffer from either imposter syndrome or depression because we don't find that dream job.

  • Add on to the fact that when you are searching for opportunities for experience you get ridiculed and discounted for not "knowing what's in the know" like it's impossible to either learn as you go or on the spot. (In many, many entertainment jobs).

All I know is, do not easily discount anyone's college experience, considering those that have obtained that very thick piece of printed paper, know exactly where it is framedat our mama's house. I may not have all the knowledge in me from a multitude of careers, but through my college journey, I was at least able to get to know even more than ever the basics of film, television, radio, and photography. What I know still continues to inspire me and guides what I want to do with my passions to this day. Everyone’s experience will vary so recognize that a degree can only help you if you choose to apply holistically everything you learned within that short amount of time to your life within the real world.

"With or without experience never discount yourself in this world because there is no one like you that can do what you do. Simple."

Without further ado, let's get an update on EMU graduate Lideja White.

I’ve known Lideja for the longest time through a mutual friend at EMU. From her joining her sorority Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. to her now becoming a brand new business owner, I can see the values, passions and admirations within her that separates her from other individuals. Not only has she supported my own business by trusting me to capture her graduation, and birthday pictures but trusting me to capture the essence and vision for her upcoming boutique. From good vibes to even better lasagna, (LOL lasagna is my favorite food that she made from scratch one day.) I’m glad to see Lideja’s journey continue to prosper as she becomes a business owner. As many entrepreneurs know, entrepreneurship isn’t easy at all (especially if you have a parallel career), so it is good to know that we both can connect with similar expertise and help guide each other’s struggles.

What was your major? Are you still in your field of study?

Criminal Justice and yes I am still involved in it.

What is your job now? Is that where you expected to work?

I am a Residential Caseworker at a correctional facility. I had no idea that I would be working here currently. It’s crazy how life can turn out!

What do you like about your job? What’s making you stay?

I love that I can build rapport with the inmates and I also love that I can inspire and also help others who struggle with dealing within the real world.

What lessons is your current job teaching you?

I would have to say that my current job is teaching me to be grateful for the life that God has given me. It’s so much to be grateful for because honestly everyone struggles with something and that something could be 10 times as worse as your personal struggles.

What’s your dream job? How do you think you will get there?

My dream job would be not working at all. I want to provide resources for women and girls that struggle to get housing as well as provide resources for any barriers they may face. So with that being said, I want to be an entrepreneur. I just launched my business called I Am Beautique. I wanted to not only make women feel empowered by what they wear but I wanted clothing strictly for plus sized women because traditionally we get left out. Fashion is what comes from your personal style and confidence and I want African American women to feel beautiful, no matter what size they are.

(Lideja's boutique, I AM BEAUTIQUE)

Ok, so be honest, has your experience at EMU helped you get to where you are at? Career wise? What about socially, emotionally, or spiritually?

I will have to say emotionally, most definitely. When you go off to college, you already have a plan on what you want to do and want to accomplish, but honestly all that went out the window when LIFE came fast.

"EMU helped me to learn myself and stay focus on God to get through anything. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t even be here."

Have you made any connections with other EMU alumni?

No I haven’t honestly. Definitely I’ll reach out and vice versa.

If not for EMU, how would your experience differ if you went to another university?

A HBCU was definitely a first choice and I know for sure my experience would have been lit. Not to say EMU wasn’t, but I think I would have gained more opportunities being at an HBCU.

Would you say having a college education is a scam?

Yes, A SCAM. I feel like our investment is not helping us at all. I need my money back! LOL

How do you feel about the national crisis regarding student loan debt? What do you think higher officials could do in the government?

CANCEL STUDENT LOANS! Period. Y’all know we not going to pay it back! I’m just saying.

Has the pandemic affected you in any way?

I will have to say it definitely has affected my work career. Having to adapt and learn new ways to communicate with clients was extremely difficult. A lot of people don’t have computers, or up-to-date phones, so I would have a hard time reaching out to clients. But recently I am now back in the building and I am able to sit with my clients face to face, so I am grateful for that.

How have you navigated throughout this pandemic and what (if any), what strategies have you used to help with your mental health?

I’m taking it one day at a time navigating through this pandemic. This is the new norm and something that we would have to get used to for awhile. In my spare time, I meditate and just listen to music to get away from reality. Self-care is very important to help your mental state. Overworking your mind and body can really put a toll on you.

If there is anything you could change from last year when the pandemic first started to now, what changes would you have made?

Everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t change a thing. Every life lesson is a teachable moment.

What are some next steps in your life? Goals? Visions?

I plan on working with juveniles as a probation officer, with maybe some other steps if the timing is right and (if I don’t become rich by then lol). I also will be focusing on my plus size boutique, I Am Beautique. Check out my website:

What advice can you give to an undergraduate student at EMU specifically?

My advice to an undergraduate would be to do what YOU want to do and don’t let others define who you truly are.

"There are going to be hard times and it may seem like you won’t make it at the end, but all the struggles and hard moments would be so worth it."

I would also say cherish those positive friendships that you’ll gain while being at EMU and keep them close. And lastly, BE ACTIVE! What I mean by active is joining organizations, giving back to those in need and truly finding your passion.


Why did you choose Piedmont Blue to do your Graduation Photos?

I loved the quality and just the good energy that Piedmont Blue gives.

What made Piedmont Blue stick out to you?

I love how all the photography doesn’t look the same. Each set of photos are unique and match perfectly for the client.

If you can remember, was there anything that Emanuel Terrell (Manny) had done during your shoot that made you aware that you were in good hands with the photographer?

He made me very comfortable and confident. He also continued to encourage me throughout the photo shoot. This made me so happy because there are some photographers that you hire that just point and shoot. I loved the directions and coaching.

As far as quality, do you still like your graduation photos?


Any additional comments about Piedmont Blue?

Continue to do great things, I will forever use this company.


You can also check out Lideja's birthday portrait session from last year

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