Seniors 2017: Small town, big dreams
May 03, 2017
Classic hits from the ‘80s awaken Akayla Davis Monday-Friday at 8:30 a.m. as she prepares herself for another day at Clalfin University.
She starts by sitting in her bed for a good 30 minutes, collecting her thoughts and getting her mind together – all while listening to her old school jams.
She brushes her teeth, washes her face and takes a shower. But the next part of her daily routine takes quite some time.
She applies makeup, making sure her face is just right, or as she would say, “beat to the Gods.” Once makeup is finished, she tackles her hair, not knowing whether she should keep it straight, curl it or simply wear a braid to the side.
If you thought that was too much, “finding something to wear is so hard for me,” she said. But she manages to put an outfit together right before 10:40 a.m., when she has to catch the shuttle from campus corner to Claflin.
Looking from her window, Akayla watches the bus make its stop and she races, inhaling and exhaling, saying to herself, “Whooooa, I just made it.”
On the shuttle ride to school she always checks herself and makes sure everything is in place. She gets off at South Carolina State University and cuts through the fence just to kill extra time.
Once Akayla reaches campus, she heads straight to the bookstore. She does her regular mirror check and then grabs a Mountain Dew energy drink and heads to class.
Akayla isn’t your average get-up-and-go type of girl.
Born in Timmonsville, or as her and her friends would say “T-Ville,” Akayla was raised by her grandparents after her mom passed away. She said “that’s kind of where she gets her old soul.”
Although the tragedy took a toll on her, it never stopped her from conquering what she wanted in life.
Throughout her middle school and high school years, Akayla was on the flag team and on the cheerleading squad. She also participated in a debutante ball in high school, being escorted by her best friend Jacob.
Jacob, who has been Akayla’s best friend for more than 10 years, is one of the main reasons she attends Claflin.
“Claflin wasn’t my first choice. I had already put my financial aid in to put towards USC (University of South Carolina Aiken), but once Jacob and I took a tour of Claflin and we loved it, I called USC so fast and go my financial aid transferred to Claflin University,” she said.
Akayala sees one of her biggest accomplishments at Claflin as becoming a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She was familiar with the sorority from watching her flag coach and with AKA being the sponsor of the debutante ball.
“This may not seem like a big accomplishment to everybody else, but it was for me,” Akayala said.
She survived a whole week of making lesson plans and teaching a first-grade class. Akayla was nervous and scared at first because she didn’t know what to expect. She managed to get through it and come out feeling accomplished.
Her five years at Claflin has had its ups and downs.
“It was more ups than downs,” she said, but this course has been run. She ready to put college behind her and plans to graduate in summer 2017.
Her future plans are to become an esthetician specializing in SFX makeup, but her goal in life is to coordinate an ESOL program and have a family.
Her quote to live by: “No matter the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.”