Teach Girls To Be Brave

I recently came across this Ted Talk from two years ago delivered by Reshma Saujani. She highlights the confidence level difference between young boys and girls and the importance of risk taking.

When people ask why we need feminism in the 21st century, this is one of the reasons. Women are capable, but we do not always believe that we are.  I find this especially true with young black and brown girls. We’ve been conditioned from an early age that success is not in our future, that we should stay in certain fields, that we are only care takers and nurturers, not engineers and scientists. We should give up. We shouldn’t be so aggressive.

I think about how many classes I didn’t take in college because I was scared. Or all the jobs I haven’t applied for because I didn’t feel qualified, when I probably was more qualified than the male applicants. We have to teach girls to be brave from an early age. We are missing out on an ocean of potential changemakers and innovators.

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

Maintaining Healthy Relationships While in Grad School (Or While You’re Trying to Be the Best Version of Yourself)

This is something I fail at on a consistent basis so I do not consider myself an authority on the subject, but I do have a great deal of experience, and I want to share some advice with you.

When I first started grad school, it was a lot easier to keep in touch with my family and folks back home. Now, that I’ve finished my first year, I am more situated in graduate student life and the new city. I have more responsibilities, a new relationship, new friends, and consequently, less time.

I haven’t even binged watched anything in a few months. It’s depressing.

But I am happy to report that I am enjoying my life and feeling fulfilled in most things that I do. More sleep and less adult things like taxes would be nice, but I have no major complaints.

A lot of my well being has to do with friends and family members who aren’t pressed that I can’t spend every waking minute talking to or seeing them. They’re supportive of my goals and aspirations and are okay that during peak busy seasons the most they’ll hear from me is an “I’m alive” text.

But it’s also important to know that while you’re shooting for the stars, your friends and family have equally important things going on in their lives and need your support and love as well.

So I’ve created some tips and reminders to help keep your relationships strong even with distance or work or school in between you.

#1 Identify the most important people in your life. And schedule fixed times to talk to them. 

My mom works graveyard shifts from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. I live in a state that’s three hours ahead. So my mom and I typically talk when I get ready in the morning for work and she’s just getting off.

#2 Texts aren’t meaningless.

Simple check-in texts to see how your friends are doing through out the day can do wonders. It takes two seconds out of your day. And although it seems like everything needs your full attention in that moment, it’s okay to break away and say hello to your good ol’ pals.

#3 It’s okay, if you can’t respond right away. 

Unless someone is in immediate danger, it’s okay to push a text back until a few hours later when you have more time.

#4 FaceTime dates are real dates

I am guilty of not living up to this, but it’s important to know. If you make a commitment to FaceTime your mom or your sister at 8 o’clock on Sunday, you are busy to everyone else at 8 o’clock on Sunday. Backing out on commitments is a sure fire way to ruin a relationship.

#5 Use social media to keep up with the important stuff

Sometimes you can’t always connect, but social media has provided folks of the 21st century with incredible means to say in touch when you’re miles apart. Leave a comment on your friends picture letting them know you’re thinking about them and you’re looking forward to seeing them the next time you’re in town.

#6 Snail mail is the best kind of mail

A really good friend of mine started an internship in Mississippi, and I can’t remember the last time I actually heard her voice, but she’s sent me a couple of postcards sending her love, and it’s a good reminder that we’re still thinking of one another.

#7 It’s okay to drop folks who simply can’t support you right now .

If folks can’t understand that you’re busy reaching your goals and constantly make you feel bad about it, it may be time to get out the scissors and cut ties. Friendships and relationships change as you get older, and something people have to realize is that you’re not available in the way you were when you were younger. And that’s okay. You are growing in all facets of your life.

Thoughts From A College Graduate

It’s been almost two weeks since I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in English. When it was all happening, I honestly couldn’t stop crying. I made my family extremely proud, which is an incredible feeling. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and to see both my mother and great grandmother tearing up in the audience really moved me. They were just so proud.

And I have to admit I’m pretty proud of myself, too.

College was hard. Often there were more difficulties than I signed up for, more obstacles than I was willing to jump, more stress than I was willing to bear, and I wanted to leave. At the same time, college was the most wonderful four years of my life thus far. It is one of the world’s most frustrating contradictions. It’s a place were you can find yourself and also develop an anxiety disorder at the same time.

Nevertheless, it’s sad to think that I won’t see the people that mentored me, inspired me, motivated me on a regular basis. But the thing about college is that once you’ve figured it out, it’s time for you to go, and you usually figure it out by your fourth year. Sometimes it’s your fifth, and sometimes it’s your sixth, but you’re not supposed to stay in college forever. Eventually and hopefully you will graduate.

This is where reality sets in.

I want to give a big shout out to all my college graduates right now who are back home in their old bedrooms or on the couch because their parents changed their room to a fitness center. It sucks. I know. I’m with you.

Being back home I am reminded of all the reasons why I went out of state to go to college in the first place. I am also reminded of my current state of employment and how much worse it feels to not work and be home. Fortunately, I will be leaving soon for my Master’s at the end of the summer in Maryland, but these three months leading up to it are frightening.

I have to prepare myself. I have to work to put down a deposit on an apartment. Pay utilities. Get renter’s insurance. Ride the Metro. I don’t know how to do this s**t. My college degree did not prepare me for this.

I don’t know how mortgage works.

I don’t know how my loans work.

I don’t know how to do most adult things.

I rely on my mother, brother, and the internet as my main source of information. It’s all enough to make your head explode, but I’m trying to keep my cool.

I was on the phone with my brother the other day asking him for job interview help. He never went to college, but he does pretty well for himself, and he’s a pro at interviews. He gets hired on the spot. I told him I thought about applying for this position at LifeTime Fitness.

“I think you have to have a degree to work there.” He said.

“Even if it’s just part time?” I asked.

“Yeah.  It’s crazy. I know, but go ahead and apply for it anyways.” He responded.

And then we both got really silent thinking about what we had just said, and then we bursted out in laughter. For a momentary second, we had forgotten that I had just graduated. I have a college degree. I can now apply for jobs that require a college education.

It it is so weird to think about this thing I had that I had dreamt about for so long being real. Education isn’t tangible. Yes, you can hold the actual diploma in your hand, but you can’t hold all those years of learning. You can’t even visualize all four years in your mind. So it’s taken me quite sometime to realize that I’m done with this chapter of my life, and I have something to show for it.

A college degree isn’t everything. It doesn’t guarantee you a job. It doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It’s half of a battle. If you can survive late nights studying, bad eating habits because you don’t have time to cook, extra jobs and internships, student org meetings, anxiety attacks, over demanding professors, you can survive “adulting” and make some actual change in the world. Granted in college, you had a network of people to support you and guide you in the right direction, but you are the one who did the work. You’re capable.

And those people who helped you get to your dream would never want you to fall on your face. They didn’t disappear. You always have them if you really need them.

So when people ask me how I feel about graduating college and going off into the real world, I tell them I am absolutely terrified, but I’m also absolutely ready.

 

If you feel inclined to look through them, I have included pictures from my graduation ceremonies and a few of the people I love dearly. I’ve also included pictures from the wonderful Ryan Jumamil. If you need some pictures and are in the San Diego area, check out his IG: @Ry1989.

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