Twenty Someone: Nikki Dement

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Hometown: Germantown, Maryland

College: The University of Georgia

Age: 24

Occupation: Certified Public Accountant

1. Describe your job in three words: complex, analytic, rewarding

2. What makes your job rewarding?  If you stay long enough, you have the opportunity to know how a company runs from the front doors of its brick and mortar to the last page of the financial statements. There’s so much to learn in such a short amount of time and you shake hands with some of the people who run businesses that you go to eat at, bank at, or sleep at.

3. Is your job overwhelming? It definitely can be. When deadlines are tight or you find yourself in between a tough technical issue and the Internal Revenue Code (whoever wrote that book speaks another language), you will notice strands of hair falling out or your nails suddenly short and stubby. Working in accounting takes a tough individual with good stress management. Another thing they didn’t teach us in college.

4. Right! But they did teach us some things. Who was your favorite college professor and why?  Oh, this one is good. My favorite college professor was Blaise Parker in Women’s Studies. She was completely open with her classes. Her husband passed away and so many things spun out of control in her life. All of these things she shared with us. In the midst of sharing these things with her class she taught us individually how to manage our own lives and deal with tough situations. It was a beautiful pathway into the history of women’s rights and their struggle. Blaise’s assignments always had meaning and seemed to pull out some of the ignorance my classmates hoarded deep inside about women. These classmates being women and men. When we did our final group project I noticed how Blaise set up her curriculum to teach us about ourselves while educating us on the trials and tribulations women have endured for so many decades. She was just the bomb. I followed her on Twitter and even gchatted her a time or two after I left her class. I was just glad to have a professor who got real about life. Not just pointing to the many publications they’ve had or flexing on a test to show you how they can make you rethink your major.

5. If you could create one college class what would it be called? It would be Investing for the Poor. PO101-that’s pronounced just like the Telletubbie. Because unless you are Mark Zuckerberg and you’re creating a publicly traded business in your dorm room, chances are you won’t be making bank.

6. Sell me the class. Why is it essential? I can’t tell you how many first generation college students I know whose parents are smart people, but probably worked hard for their dollar bills, not necessarily trading on the stock market and whipping out a Wall Street Journal every morning. It’s just as simple as creating wealth when you have no background in the area. I think that college graduates would be sporting less Tory Burch and more stock certificates. Saving would be the new spending. Don’t get me wrong. Putting money into the economy is great, but when a large portion of the nation lives check to check that just isn’t right. There has to be some form of foundation for these newbies with degrees.  I can already hear people saying, “the early bird gets the worm.” But what if the bird was up, researched where worms hang out and by the time they got there the worms are gone. This is exactly what some of these young adults right out of college are experiencing…just too late in the game. They finally get up early, finally finished their research and by age 30 they have gone to the right place, but the opportunities to grow wealth are all dried up. I just think there should be some form of education to allow people to develop a foundation of wealth if they want. If they don’t want it, they don’t have to take it. College is good, but they’re missing some subjects if you ask me. These are some mean streets out here.

7. What was it like being a Georgia Bulldawg? When I think about my experience as a dawg it takes me back to a utopia of football, warm weather, Terrapin beer, laughter and late nights. Working hard during the week and taking downtown by storm on the weekends is what we all lived for.  I think the SEC has a special culture. UGA definitely has a distinct feel, but the SEC in general provides for good competition in sports and strong universities with specialties. UGA produces some of the best writers out of the Grady College and CEOs and CFOs out of the Terry College of Business. While I think it was a lot of fun, we definitely put the time in to have something worth celebrating.  UGA is also in the middle of nowhere. When my Dad and I went to visit for the first time, I was thinking to myself “there is absolutely no way I am going here.” What changed your mind?  Well, I tried out for Cheerleading and I made it.  So I turned down the other schools I applied to in the northeast and saddled up for the South.

8. Who is your biggest cheerleader now?  My biggest cheerleader is my dear friend Maryella. She’s such a free person going in whichever way the wind blows. She’s supported me in so many ways and pushed me in different paths to explore new opportunities. One of her suggestions being – make just enough money to survive while living so hard you pay with a smile. She’s always pushing me to just live! She’s pulled me out of so many shells.  I’ve worn my first red lip because of her. Stayed out super late on work nights with her. Attempted to be vegan for a meal with her. Worn weird patterns and made documentaries acting like someone on MTV with her. Maryella has just been that friend that’s always pushing the limits to get a person to come out of their superficial shell. Her pep talks and open ears have allowed me to do things I probably wouldn’t have done being my safe self. She’s cheered me on for life.

9. You have a penny at a fountain. What do you wish for?  A strong, happy family. At the end of the day if I’ve had it up to the ceiling with the rest of the world, I can go home and turn up with people who I don’t mind judging me or joining in.

10. In ten years you will be… DJing on the side at a small lounge for hipsters over 30, watching my husband at the bar send his last work email and drinking a strong glass of scotch. All while enjoying the laughter and old dances of my friends on the dance floor. Hopefully no one will be doing the stanky leg. Or drinking Natural light.

Read more about Nikki here!
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