Jada Hargrove speaks about her path to earning a master’s degree in May

Jada Hargrove ’19 doesn’t have to be on the court to dish out assists.

The former point guard for the Alcorn State University Lady Braves basketball team continues to set others up for success with her new book “Transparency: A Head Start to Collegiate Sports,” published through her imprint, Hargrove Publishing Company.

The Riverdale, Georgia, native has an extensive athletic history going back to her high school years as a member of her school’s volleyball, basketball, and track teams. She also cheered during her early years.

The book enlightens athletes on collegiate student-athlete life before committing to a university.

“I wrote this book to educate student-athletes who are falsely informed on the realities of the student-athlete life,” said Hargrove, who earned a bachelor’s degree in pre-physical therapy from Alcorn. “The intention is to motivate, educate, inform, and give evidence-based guidance on the realities of collegiate play business. In addition, it introduces to athletes red flags and allows them to think about their decision early.”

The blueprint that Hargrove draws in the book gives students tools to apply during their search for the ideal program. She also outlines how they should prepare for their upcoming journey.

“Students must understand who they are, what they have to offer, and what they seek in a university. Showing maturity, resilience, and independence is important because it improves the transition. Taking time to study coaches’ styles of play, playing with collegiate players over the summer, training, and rationalizing what you will do once you graduate are all concerns that should be considered early.”

Becoming an author gave Hargrove a chance to showcase her love of teaching. She teaches biology, environmental science, and AP environmental science at Charles R. Drew High School in her hometown. She’s also earned her teacher certification from the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy program, an alternate pathway for individuals with bachelor’s degrees or higher in fields other than education.

She calls teaching a “God-sent activity” because it positions her to spread knowledge to students from impoverished areas as she did.

“Teaching allows me to give back to the broken community where I was raised. It’s important to me for students to see someone like me teach and reach personal goals. It means a lot to see kids love and respect me. Our relationship is pure, and it grows daily. It’s the impact you leave on others that lives on over time. I want kids to know success and who God is because of me.”

Helping the students become better versions of themselves is Hargrove’s favorite part of the teaching experience.

“The most rewarding part of being a teacher is seeing students’ confidence grow and witnessing their accomplishments. Connecting with today’s youth is important because the world is becoming more problematic. So, I teach my students about life as well as the curriculum. It’s a privilege from God to see my everyday habits change another person’s life.”

Through fulfilling her mission to educate others, Hargrove continued to educate herself. She’s on the verge of earning a master’s degree in biology from Alcorn in May, an accomplishment she worked tirelessly to achieve.

“Pursuing a master’s degree has been a heavy load to carry. I had to juggle teaching, a teacher certification program in Georgia, a semi-professional basketball career, entrepreneurship, coaching, and being a part-time student.”

On the path to graduation were challenges that could’ve ended Hargrove’s progress. She began the graduate program in 2019 but had to pause due to the pandemic of 2020. Once normalcy was reestablished, she continued her track toward graduation but began to experience imposter syndrome, a condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally, despite being high performing in external, objective ways. This condition often results in people feeling like a fraud and doubting their abilities.

“In my mind, my reality didn’t meet the expectations that I set for myself. As time changes for everyone, there is a high demand for identity once sports stop or pause. Perfectionists, like me, don’t take losses lightly because they aren’t idealized as a norm for the person experiencing it.”

The key to overcoming her challenges has been Hargrove’s trust in her faith and encouragement from her supporters.

“I believe that God is still helping me to have increased faith and resting in who He says I am. I also have a support system that consistently reminds me of the work I put in, the importance of rest, and their support of who I am.”

When it mattered most, Hargrove came up clutch. Now, she’s ready to celebrate her victory.

“Graduating allows me to celebrate myself for my hard work. I’m thankful for those who support me and enjoy seeing me do positive things. I am excited to evolve as an educator, student of life, and individual. I look forward to what God has for me next.”