“While the journey doesn’t ever seem to look how we expected or planned, the results are always better than we could have predicted. We just have to learn to trust the process, and enjoy the journey.” – Lore’al Avery, BS’20
The journey didn’t look like what she’d originally planned after graduating from Merrillville High School in 2012, but the end goal has always been the same.
And the end goal is right where she’s at, right now.
A Kelley School of Business graduate at IUPUI. An accounting major. An accepted job offer. A lifetime of opportunity ahead.
There were times she wasn’t sure if she would make it to this moment, truthfully.
Lore’al Avery, BS’20, started at IUPUI in spring 2013. She’d loved numbers from a young age – and wanted to pursue accounting. Growing up, she’d come to campus with her mom, who pursued a degree in social work, and Lore’al knew, even then, this was where she wanted to be.
But it wasn’t easy. Lore’al failed a class her first semester and withdrew from IUPUI. Her mom who suggested she take classes at Ivy Tech, and there she earned her associate degree in business administration, the first in her family to graduate from college. (Lore’al graduated from Ivy Tech one DAY before her mom graduated from IUPUI!)
Her journey didn’t end at Ivy Tech. She’d always known she wanted to pursue a career in accounting, and she wanted to do it at the renowned Kelley School of Business. This dream started when she took her first accounting class as a high school junior.
“I loved it. Numbers have always come naturally to be. That class sealed the deal for me. I wanted to do business, and I wanted to do business at the Kelley School.”
The goal was always the same. And Lore’al never, ever gave up. She didn’t give up after that first failed class. She didn’t stop after earning her associate degree. She didn’t give up after she didn’t get into Kelley the first time she applied. She persisted – and she made it.
“The plan was always to end up with a degree in accounting from the Kelley School of Business. It was my end goal. I identified where I wanted to be, plotted the route, and stayed the course. No matter how hard it was. There were many moments where I doubted myself, where I wanted to change my major or quit. But today, I feel accomplished. I feel grateful I stuck with the journey. Just to be on the other side – to see what I can do and to see that I did it – is a feeling like no other.”
Lore’al credits two Kelley I-Core professors with helping her to stay the course and stay focused.
“Professor Kim Donahue brought marketing to life. She made me want to be there. And professor Michael Steinhardt: I took his finance I-Core class after failing the same course the first time. He was so supportive. Both teachers really made the courses enjoyable. They helped me to remember why I was here, why I was doing this. They’re a big reason why I stuck with Kelley.”
Lore’al not only stayed the course on her accounting degree, but she stuck with another dream, as well. When she started at IUPUI the second time, she created a vision board that included her desire to be the commencement speaker at graduation someday. Her vision became reality in 2020.
“It’s surreal, and it’s a big deal. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone in college. My mom started at IUPUI when I was 15, so she’s been my role model – my motivation. Being here now, being the commencement speaker, it’s mind-boggling, truly.”
Lore’al gives a lot of credit to her mom for helping her throughout the entire journey.
“This is all because my mom had this idea to keep going. She always believed in me, even when I got discouraged. She kept me focused and reminded me what my original goals were, motivating me to stay the course. I watched her start and finish college, and her journey took 10 years. I thought: If she did this, I can do this. And I did. I made it here because I didn’t quit. I changed the plan but not the goal.”
Lore’al will officially finish in August after one more class over the summer, and she’s already accepted a corporate accounting job in Indianapolis.
As she told graduates in her IUPUI Commencement speech, “I challenge you all not to stop at this graduation stage but to keep going.”
She challenged her fellow graduates to view setbacks as opportunities. Like a slingshot, the further you get pulled back, the further you’re going to travel. Impossible is nothing, she said, and delay doesn’t mean denial.
These words from Lore’al’s IUPUI Commencement speech perfectly sum up what it took to get her to this stage – right now: “Often times, we make plans, simply going from A to B. In between, we have to be taken through a series of tests and opportunities to develop us and equip our character to handle where we want to go. While the journey doesn’t ever seem to look how we expected or planned, the results are always better than we could have predicted. We just have to learn to trust the process, and enjoy the journey.”
“This is just the beginning; the best is yet to come. Congratulations, you made it.”
You made it, Lore’al. You persevered. Right here, right now. And we’re all so, so proud.
Posted by: Teresa Mackin, firstname.lastname@example.org