Jillian Brewer poses for a photo shoot for fans March 19 in Baltimore. (Photo by Milton Lawrence)
By Ryan Hogan
Special to the Afro
Many Morgan State University students are unhappy because this semester’s classes are being held only due to the pandemic; but Jillian Brewer, 23, of Pikesville feels differently. Also known as @ForeverJill to her more than 10,000 Instagram followers, Brewer is a senior majoring in Screenwriting and Animation (SWAN).
“My ultimate career goal is to become the professional actress everyone wants to see on their movie screen,” Brewer said. She’s a woman of many titles; director, writer, model, businesswoman, actress, comedian, YouTuber and part-time nanny.
“I found myself in the past overcrowding my schedule, but I still have to worry about myself and my own mental health, so I now write things down each time I have to do something,” Brewer said.
Brewer also said she has been using her new free time during quarantine to plan for her future. She has remained positive throughout the pandemic by pursuing her passion for creating new content to share with the world. She regularly posts short skits and videos to her Instagram and YouTube pages. Collectively, her videos have received thousands of views, likes, and supportive comments.
One thing she is sure to make time for is the Tree House Project of Baltimore which connects at-risk youth to the resources they need. Brewer said she helps students with financial literacy and building their self-esteem.
Finding the right balance of work, life and school can be especially tough for college students during the pandemic.
“Students, in general, are feeling anxiety, loneliness and isolation; but for some students, the pandemic has given some bonuses which allowed them to take a pause and reorganize themselves,” said Ralph Piper, associate director of Morgan State’s counseling center.
Staying mentally healthy is a key issue for college students. According to the American College Health Association’s Spring 2020 National College Health Assessment, more than half of the 50,000 – plus college students who participated in the study reported receiving mental health services from their current campus health or counseling center in the last year. The longer students are dealing with the pandemic, the more likely it is that more students will be seeking counseling according to some experts.
Brewer considers herself blessed to have a group of supportive friends who keep each other encouraged during COVID-19. Among them is Brewer’s fellow collaborator Kalia Green, 24, of Baltimore. Green is a model for Brewer’s new swimwear line launched this summer, FJ Swimwear.
“If I’m lacking confidence in an area, she’ll snap me out of it real quick and remind me of positive things,” said Green.
So as the world waits for a vaccine, Brewer vows she will keep pushing. After all, she says, she has a ton of homework to do, many films to make and thousands of followers to keep her upbeat.
“I’ve been very positive about this because I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ryan Hogan is a Strategic Communications student at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism & Communication.