University of Mississippi accounting major Jaleter Daugherty, 21, encourages students who find it hard to balance Christian life and school to seek out accountability.
“You can’t survive without seeking accountability,” said the Ashland, Mississippi native, who believes finding a community of people who share the same faith as you, spending time with God, and encouraging others makes for a well-balanced Christian life.
A typical day for Daugherty begins with checking her schedule. From there, she goes to class, then work at the JAC Math Lab tutoring students.
During her free time, she returns to her room to complete homework and does her “binto,” a built in devotional time with God. Daugherty also meets with girls and teaches them core recs.
“God isn’t something that’s tacked on for me,” Daugherty said, referring to her binto time. “It’s something that’s built in.”
It is mandatory for her to have God built into her life to stay spiritually connected while balancing school and work.
At 12, Daugherty became a follower of and accepted Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t until high school that she began putting her faith to work. She began consistently reading the Bible and became involved with a Christian community.
“Knowing who God was in my life happened when I joined a Christian community, and I was really serious about doing the work of the Lord,” she said.
Her pastor at Greenwood Missionary Baptist Church encouraged her to begin worship leading while also teaching her the guidelines of the position.
“These are some things you’re going to have to do: you’re going to have to continuously pray, you’re going to have to read your word, and your songs are going to have to connect with my sermon,” he said.
For the first time, she was being held accountable for leading other people, and she became serious about pursuing a relationship with God.
Since becoming a Christian, Daugherty has grown. She speaks things into existence, looks for the positive in things, and has developed a bigger relationship with her Christian community. She has ended toxic relationships and disciplined herself from listening to or watching anything toxic.
Daugherty credits Chi Alpha Campus Ministries for making her who she is today. “I don’t know if I would be where I’m at today if I hadn’t found Chi Alpha in college,” she said.
She discovered Chi Alpha during her freshman year at Ole Miss. At the time, the newly founded organization involved fellowship dinners on Wednesdays at the house of campus pastors, Mack and Courtney Clements. Today, worship services are held in the music building band hall.
Daugherty’s role in Chi Alpha is to worship lead. She organizes songs and occasionally practices with the band for Wednesday night worship. Other duties include planning events for Chi Alpha, such as the annual fall retreat, to “increase fellowship and community within [the] organization.”
On Tuesdays, she and Core Group Leader Shadoria Anderson plan out scripture lessons for the week and have fellowship with other Core Group members. Anderson is currently doing an internship with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and is a full time missionary.
“I’ve known Dannie (Daugherty) since my senior year of high school,” Anderson said. “We went to boarding school together. Anderson describes Daugherty as spiritually sound and connected to God in a way that inspires Anderson to “focus on God and love him more and more everyday.”
Daugherty is finishing her senior year of college. Once she graduates, she plans to begin working full time for KPMG, a company that specializes in audit, tax, and advisory services.
She hopes her field will help encourage her to get out of her comfort zone so she can explore other career aspirations, such as starting her own company or going into business with her mom.
Daugherty defines being a Christian as actively pursuing God, disciplining, and actively pursuing people. Her work ethic is strong and requires her to do increasingly better with every task. She is an example of how a student can develop and maintain a relationship with God despite juggling other things such as school and work.