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This Week We Feature Young Professional, Shanda A. Skerritt

Ms Shanda A. Skerritt has used her apprehensions as a driving force to complete, and publish her first book—‘Dying for love.’ Photo: Provided
“Everyone always try to set expectations or force their own dreams on you,” as such, her advice to young people, to encourage them to pursue and achieve their dreams, is to realize “your first obligation is always to yourself and what makes you happy. Find your happiness and go after it.” Photo: Provided
“Everyone always try to set expectations or force their own dreams on you,” as such, her advice to young people, to encourage them to pursue and achieve their dreams, is to realize “your first obligation is always to yourself and what makes you happy. Find your happiness and go after it.” Photo: Provided
While she aims for self-development, Ms Skerritt also has high hopes for the growth of the Virgin Islands. Photo: Provided
While she aims for self-development, Ms Skerritt also has high hopes for the growth of the Virgin Islands. Photo: Provided
By Gary Eleazar

While a fear of the unknown has prevented many from venturing onto the path of their desired aspirations and goals, our Young Professional this week –twenty-six year old Virgin Islander, Ms Shanda A. Skerritt—has used her apprehensions as a driving force to complete, and publish her first book—‘Dying for love.’

Ms Skerritt’s first publication was released on Amazon on June 3, 2018, and the debutante author revealed that it was the thrust of responsibility that motivated her to complete and publish her written work.

Passion to Profession

 According to the young woman, writing has always been her passion as it was the only way she could completely express herself after the passing of her mother when she was just a child. Speaking to Virgin Islands News Online, Ms Skerritt related that her three-weeks-old daughter, Alaina Jasmin Smith, played a major role in pushing her towards completing her book.

“Fear held me back from doing what I wanted to do but, the minute I found out I was going to be responsible for another human being…something just clicked in me. Mind you, I’m still scared but the thing that frightened me the most was that I didn’t accomplish much in life. How can I motivate my child to be all that she can be if I didn’t do all that I can? I didn’t want her to see me as a disappointment. So I looked at the list of things I always wanted to accomplish,” the writer shared.

Ms Skerritt hopes that her endeavors to publish her work will be a lesson to her daughter—one that tells her that she can accomplish whatever she set out to do.

She explained that she began writing ‘Dying for Love’ several years ago, and was rewriting it the summer before Hurricane Irma hit the Virgin Islands (VI), “I told myself that I will not procrastinate and miss another deadline I set for myself, and that’s what I did. I don’t know if this book will be a success or not; but, just completing it filled me with so much pride that I know I can build upon it and continue to strive for more,” she stated.

Losses and Lessons

The devastation of Hurricane Irma also had quite an impact on her life—forcing her to stay in London, in the United Kingdom with her sister after the Hurricane ravaged the home and business that she shared with her boyfriend, Curtis Smith.

 “For the past five years I’ve mostly worked alongside my boyfriend in his fishing business—Tia Fish Market. I did experience Irma, it was one of the most terrifying experiences I went through, we lost our home and business but we’re working hard to rebuild it. A bird doesn’t build its nest in one day,” she stated.

Despite the losses, our Young Professional continues to pursue her ambitions, sharing that she also hopes to transform her love of cooking into a business.

“I like being in the kitchen. Besides writing, cooking—but mostly baking—has always been my passion. I have always loved seafood and being on the ocean. We hope to one day open a seafood restaurant alongside the fishing business,” the woman shared, adding that she also hopes to do her studies abroad so as to become a pastry chef.

Growing up

Ms Skerrit attended the Elmore Stoutt High School, and she later graduated from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in 2016 where she studied Small Business Administration.

She says that while many persons are inspired by celebrities, she hopes to emulate three persons that she has grown up among—Brent Hoyte, Norville Carey, Gabrielle Denae.

 “I’ve grown up round these three individuals and one thing they’ve shown me is tenacity, will power, drive…whatever you want to call it. They never stopped pursuing their dreams and they keep striving for perfection in what they’re doing. They are definitely someone to look up to.”

While she pursues her many goals, young Ms Skerritt says that she aims to be true to herself and find happiness, noting that “not everyone who befriends you wants the best for you.”

“Everyone always try to set expectations or force their own dreams on you,” as such, her advice to young people, to encourage them to pursue and achieve their dreams, is to realize “your first obligation is always to yourself and what makes you happy. Find your happiness and go after it.”

While she aims for self-development, Ms Skerritt also has high hopes for the growth of the Virgin Islands.

This, she says, will entail much growth.  The young Islander emphasised that “change first starts with the individual, so if I want the Virgin Islands to change I have to make the first step; and that means becoming more involved in the community and not only voicing my opinion on what goes on in the Territory; but, taking necessary actions when I don’t agree with what the government is doing. I would like to see more local business flourish and not depending to heavily on the finance and tourist industry. Agriculture is something that is necessary for the Virgin Islands’ survival as well. As a local, this is something that I see as a priority that is constantly being overlooked.”

 

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