Written by Jesse Muhammad
Warning. Prepare yourself to laugh at this blog entry about by trip to Baltimore, Maryland on October 31 - November 2. I was invited by the New Light Leadership Coalition to be a workshop presenter at their 10th Annual Youth & College Summit on the campus of Morgan State University. NLLC is headed by Farajii Muhammad and I was honored by the invite.
Here is the adventure...
I was staying in a hotel Alexandria, Virginia and for those who may not be a map expert, it is only 30 minutes or so outside of D.C. but over an hour from Baltimore. So being the adventurous type I decided that I would catch the Amtrak train on Saturday morning to Baltimore that was suppose to get me there by 11am. My workshop was at 12:30pm. That turned out to be a BIG mistake!
Here's what happened.
I got on the train, stretched out in chill mode with my laptop and accidentally missed my stop in Baltimore. I didn't notice it was my stop because the train personnel did not notify the passengers so I ran to try and catch the door but it closed in my face. I literally was upset because I was worried about not keeping my word to the NLLC. So asked one of the train staff members if they could stop the train and he told me 'Who do you think you are?'. Then I asked him when was the next stop and he said 'A place you really don't want to stop in'...that place was the town of Aberdeen aka no man's land.
He told me I would have to catch a cab back to Baltimore being that the next train wasn't scheduled to come back until 7pm that night...Aberdeen is nearly 40 miles from Baltimore! I called a cab company from a gas station and the cab that showed up looked like it had been hit by a train. Going a little over 50 miles per hr that cab picked me up at 11:45am and got me to Morgan State at 12:32pm! You can only imagine how much that ride would have cost me if I weren't skilled in the art of negotiation. (smile)
I immediately went right into my back-to-back workshops entitled "Mediocrity is NOT in your D.N.A.". I started out by first making them laugh with my Amtrak adventure, sharing parts of my life growing up in Houston and then we had some powerful interactive moments.
Here are some of the reactions to my workshops according to the evaluation forms:
"This by far was my favorite workshop. He is so real and engaging when he does his presentation."
"This workshop really inspired me to follow through with my goals and do more in the next year."
"The workshop was great. I enjoyed his energy"
"This was just what I needed to hear."
"Brother Jesse has a powerful personal story and that really adds to the importance of this workshop."
"The presenter awakened new thoughts that had been lying dormant."
Also please view the YouTube testimony by Sasha Jones of Spellman College: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVuhduQkM0g
THIS BLOG ENTRY IS SPONSORED BY A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER WHO SHOT MOST OF MY PHOTOS DURING MY WORKSHOP. HER NAME IS LENEE F. AND SHE IS A STUDENT AT MORGAN STATE. PLEASE VIEW HER WORK AT www.myspace.com/ventagelee or flickr.com/photos/ventagelee/