Not sure what to do after graduation? This literary mixtape can help
Students graduating high school or college now have a new tool to use when figuring out what to do next.
Peorian Marc Supreme, program director at 90.7 Strictly Hip-Hop, has released a literary mixtape entitled "D@mn, I Graduate in May! A Literary Mixtape for Life After High School and College." DIGIM for short, the book breaks down different options for students to consider after graduation — from college to entering the trades and even how to figure out what city to live in.
With a background in recruiting for Southern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University, Supreme has talked to many students who are at the cusp of adulthood. He’s been to hundreds of college fairs and realized that many students are much more concerned about choosing their major than thinking about the "end goal," like what career they would want to have after graduation.
“And I would say, okay, so real quick, forget about books, forget about majors, forget about school, and colleges and all these things,” said Supreme. “Ten years from now, you have to wake up at six in the morning, you got to go somewhere. Figure out where you want that place to be. Once you figure that out, let your academics be predicated off of that end goal, and that'll tell you your next step and what to do,” he explained.
Supreme said parents and students alike seemed to take to his advice that ultimately sparked the inspiration for the book. However, in between beginning to write the book at the start of the pandemic, to its upcoming release date on May 4, Supreme launched his own college fair series under the name of DIGIM with the same idea in mind.
“I wanted to provide the college fair, but also provide breakout sessions with industry professionals so students can get an understanding of what those career paths lead to, what these majors lead to,” said Supreme.
With help from the YANI Collective, the community organization in Peoria responsible for the Juneteenth celebration and more, the first DIGIM conference was held in February of 2022 with 50 Peoria area students in attendance. After a successful event, the YANI Collective took it up a notch, holding a second conference with more than 500 students in attendance across five different Peoria high schools. And most recently, the DIGIM college conference series hit the road and headed to Springfield for its third successful conference.
Supreme said his literary mixtape brings the DIGIM college conference series to life.
“I want people to navigate their career goals, or their goals in general, with the end in mind. And that's what I put in the book…it's not just about college. It's about understanding how to graduate life long after you graduated school, and that's by working with the end in mind, no matter what it is,” said Supreme.
From tracks that go over "Drake" majors compared with "Migos" majors, and helping students figure out how they can pay for college, Supreme mixes culture and academics in a conversational style to reach students, or adults, at whatever point they may be at in life.
“I talked to somebody the other day who said, 'Man, I wanted to go to college, I just didn't know how to' … so this is for the folks in high school that don't know how to, but it’s also for the adult that now kind of understands how to but still needs some direction,” Supreme said.
Supreme emphasized the book isn’t about advocating for a specific path, but rather presenting a variety of options and helping students navigate which one might be most appropriate for them.
“Because it’s all about what you want to do. And I underscore that several times over, not only in the book, but it was a point in my commencement speech at ICC last May,” Supreme noted.
Supreme was the commencement speaker at Illinois Central College last year, although he graduated high school with a 1.8 overall grade point average, which is proven by his own transcript he decided to include in the front of the book.
“I was trying to illustrate how, even though that's how I did in school, I still am your commencement speaker, right?” explained Supreme. “And so I wanted to put that in the front because this is not for the 4.0 folks. It's for them too, though. But it's also for the 1.8 folks…And I just wanted to show that I'm one of those folks,” he said.
Supreme will be hosting a book signing from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 at the Peoria Art Guild. The event is open- house style and will feature refreshments by The Mothering Skillet and sounds by DJ Kid Dynomite. More information on the book, pre-orders, and Marc Supreme can be found here.