Putting your art out for the world to critique is hard. It’s one of the most vulnerable things I’ve done in life. I always knew that I wanted to explore and nurture my artistic side, but I allowed my low self esteem to dictate my vision.
Time and time, I would map out these life plans and dreams just to find every excuse in the book not to follow through. I became a first class quitter. I mastered quitting and I had grown comfortable in defeat. This was all until I learned the definition of defeat. Defeat means to overthrow. All along I had been allowing negative thoughts to OVERTHROW my purpose.
On one of purposeless days , I came across an old video of Nikki Giovanni interviewing James Baldwin. The video had resurfaced online.
I’d always been a Nikki Giovani fan, but I’d never watched or listened to her interviews. In the video clip I watched, she was beautiful and confident. There she was interviewing a legend, she a legend too, and she conducted herself with so much boldness. Seeing this made me fall in love with her even more. Giovanni dominated that interview, but not in a negative way. She asked questions and received the answers, but she never gave the impression of demure.
Sometimes, when in the presence of a powerful man, we women feel the need to stifle ourselves or hold back out of reference. It’s been ingrained in us since birth to always let the man lead. This is ok sometimes, but never ok ALL the time. In the interview, Giovanni didn’t do that. She conducted herself like she knew she deserved to be there, and she did! Nikki didn’t let James Baldwin or his status intimidate her and that…
That’s what I wanted for myself.
Afterward, filled with newfound excited, I searched for a Nikki Giovanni quote to post on my daily agenda. I’m really into beautifying quotes thanks to my favorite fictional journalist, Mary Jane Paul from the series, Being Mary Jane. In the series, every episode starts off with a profound quote.
One of the first quotes I found of Nikki Giovanni was, “I am so hip even my errors are correct.” The quote is so simple, but to me, it represents everything Nikki Giovanni is to me and taught me to be—unapologetically fierce! She taught me with that one sentence to embrace my flaws—failures, because owning them makes me who I am.
There’s no better time than now to pursue your dreams! Write! Love! Do whatever it is that you’ve been putting off!
You’ll never live the life you want if you dwell in defeat.
The most talked about thing in college is graduation. It’s like people bypass the college experience and immediately jump to post grad life. The problem with that is, many college students don’t take full advantage of what their institution offers. So yeah, you graduated on time or early just to be struggling to find a job after graduation. How crazy is that?
Every major has an academic track. A vast majority of students go for the easier track meaning they take the bare minimum, and some others end up taking classes irrelevant to their post graduation goals. Why? Sometimes our parents heavily influence what academic route we take. Sometimes we feel pressured to follow in mom and dad’s footsteps and we get all the way to finish line and realize that this isn’t what we want to do. I know it’s uncomfortable, but you have to remember, the only person that can live your life is you.
Class selection and experience is key. Take classes that are beneficial to you. Also, gain as much experience undergrad as you can. For example, I’m an aspiring journalist so to gain journalistic experience, I’m working for my university’s magazine. Prior to landing that job, I wrote for my university’s newspaper.
Because I have a blog and brand that I hope to expand, I’m taking marketing classes as well. Marketing classes aren’t mandatory for my major, but I’m choosing to take advantage of classes that will help me in the future.
I know it’s easy to become obsessed with the idea of graduation. After a challenging semester, it’s almost all you want to think about. These obsessive thoughts cause you to be unrealistic about what you’ll do after graduation, because now you’re driven by frustration instead of progression. The workforce is competitive and one must be able to stand against the toughest competitors!
Another thing we sometimes forget to do as college academics is networking! I’m huge on networking. I always speak when I enter a room. You never know who’s in the room! I also make sure to surround myself with likeminded people. Having a circle like that pushes me to strive to be better. For example, I ended up making friends with my now boss on the magazine, all because I talked to her on the first day of class the semester prior. I didn’t know who she was. I just sparked up conversation.
Since I’m not a traditional student (remember, I’m a wife and mom) I don’t over exert myself on frivolous play. I understand that I don’t have the leisure to do so, but that doesn’t stop me from showing my face and making my presence known when I need it to be. I know that sometimes it’s hard to muster up extra motivation to get involved with things on campus, but remember, networking is key. Many universities have guest speakers. Check out those events! Network! Network! Network!
Internships are another way to gain experience and land jobs post grad! Most universities have specific places their majors intern, but I’d recommend venturing out to other places. Interning places outside your school’s connects makes pitching yourself a little easier. I know a few people that ventured out and are now working their dream jobs! Think about what you really want to do. Put yourself out there and see if the company you’re interesting in has interning opportunities. Also, use your professors as tools! A lot of your professors know people that can connect you to where you want to go, your professor might even be one of those connects. Reach out to your professors!
Sometimes I get caught up on my graduation date, but I have to remind myself that by doing everything I listed above, I’ll be more than prepared for the workforce!
Not taking full advantage of college life happens to a lot of people. Some people don’t take full advantage of the college experience and then they end up having to return back to college for another degree. Those people blame the degree when in actuality, it was the lack of work they put in to be successful before they graduated. It’s sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.
I think we as people have this idea that if we graduate with a degree, jobs should fall at our feet. This is partially society’s fault. We’ve all heard, “you can’t do anything without a degree.” Someone somewhere always rebuttals, “they’re successful people that don’t have degrees all over.” That someone is true! Those successful people are successful, because they took advantage of the space they were in. We college students have to do the same! Take advantage of college just like SallyMae takes advantage of interest applied to our loans! Woosah and laugh.
At the end of the day, you’re paying for college. Some of us are even in debt for it, my philosophy is to take everything college is willing to give you! Then take some more! Make college work for you!
Augusta, Georgia is mostly known for the Masters, but what if I told you there was something else just as exciting to do in Augusta? Many people don’t think of food when they think about visiting Augusta, but they should! Augusta cuisine is upcoming with a vast diversity that still screams southernness. Indulging in Augusta cuisine isn’t just something to do, it’s a must have experience!
For my film class, I got to create and shoot a promotional video in collaboration with my city’s informational hub, Augusta&Co. My partner and I visited some of Augusta’s hottest spots and I must warn you, the viewing of the video below may bring forth major salivation! You’ve been warned!
Each restaurant is family run and locally owned! Support locally owned businesses! Remember, every successful chain restaurant started off as a local restaurant, and some of the most famous corporations started off as mom and pops!
Visit these spots and tell them that The Christian Way sent you!
Like most Americans, I’ve been dealing with depression for awhile. It’s a forever wave of sad and negative thoughts sometimes triggered by stress or trauma. One year, my depression got so bad, I called the suicide helpline. It wasn’t that I wanted to commit suicide, I just needed direction. I knew that I refused to leave my family behind without trying, and I knew that I refused to give into to devil’s lies.
I sat sad in my dark room, cried and thought to myself about what things I could do in that moment to make me feel better—at least feel a little better. At the time, I was still newly postpartum with Liam. I didn’t feel beautiful, and was struggling with my new identity as a mom. I’ve always been a girly girly so I thought about ways I could improve my outer being, and in turn improve my inner. I started my weight lifting journey, started to make time for myself every 2 weeks to get my nails done and I made sure to wear clothes that made me feel sexy!
When I started doing these things, I started to feel good about me! I felt good and I looked good. I was making progress. It’s seems silly that me investing in cosmetic things helped my depression, but it was deeper than that! When I really examined my life, I was already doing to the hard stuff—completing the steps to achieve my larger goals. I was back in college, I was mastering motherhood and my marriage was on the ups. I realized that although my depressive thoughts directed me elsewhere, the real source of this wave of sadness was from not being happy with me. So, what better way to fix me than to invest in me, right?
When I found the source of my sadness, I was able to address it. My friends and family started to notice the change in my mood, and it felt good to be on top of Mt. Depression!
Depression sneaks in at our most vulnerable times, hoping to masks its minor issues in larger issues. Depression will make you feel like you’re not good enough, causing you to want to quit when in reality, an example source of your depression could derive from you being overwhelmed in school. Depression attaches itself to our subconscious and acts through our conscious. There’s so cure for depression, because depression was made by the enemy to plant doubt in a mind that already knows the truth. The truth is, depression can only take hold of you if you give it your hand. Don’t!
Cry, scream, pray and then sit alone in your thoughts! Write down how you’re feeling. Your feelings will most likely be lies like:
I’m not good enough.
No one likes me.
I’ll never get anywhere in life.
Beside those “feelings,” write down the truth depression doesn’t want you to know.
I am enough!
Jesus likes me, I like me!
It may be hard, but I’ll get there one day!
After that, think about what triggered your bad thoughts. Was it a falling out with a friend? Was it your job? What happened to send you in this downward spiral?
When you figure this out, compose a plan to change your situation. If it’s a spit with a friend, talk to them. If it’s your job, maybe it’s time to talk to your boss or find another place to work.
If you’re reading this, and think this sounds like too much to do, ask yourself if you’re ready to divorce depressive thoughts? Maybe you’re not ready to get better, and that’s ok. We have to remember that although no one asks for depression, it’s still our responsibility to climb out of the dark hole.
Try these steps, they helped me tremendously! Depression never leaves, it’s a silent attacker that attaches itself to your life when you’re most vulnerable. Be prepared. I use these steps each time I find myself in a bad place. It’s ok to take time to re-evaluate your situation. Depression will make you think you can’t beat it, but you can!
When depression makes its return and attack on my life, I 1.)find the cause of the relapse, 2.) I strategize on how to rectify the problem, and 3.) I rectify the problem!
Don’t let depression become bigger than you. I love you! Be happy lappy, not depressy lessy!
Hallelujah, I made it! The semester ended today and I’ve never been so relieved. This semester has been my toughest thus far. To make things more stressful than usual, I had to bring the kids to class with me for the last month of school. It’s one thing to drag 1 kid to class but imagine toting 2 humans around campus! Some days, I questioned my sanity!
Every college student knows that your semester grades aren’t official until finals are taken! Preparing and taking finals is like the last 5 minutes of a 30 minute cardio session; you’re almost to the finish line yet, you’re somewhere between motivated and over it! You experience thoughts like, “Eff it, I’ve done enough running for the day!” verses, “I’m almost there; only five minutes to go!”
I like to start my day off with prayer, coffee and a bomb theme song of the day. My theme songs vary from hot mess trap music to the holiest of gospel. It depends on my mood and what I need to hear to get me prepared for the day.
Did you know that the first sound you hear in the morning, dictates the progression of your day? Science has taught us that music plays a key in mood change. Constant examples of the powers of music are in movies and commercials, music tells us how to feel—how to move.
Because I know the stresses of finals and I want YOU to be great, I’ll share my favorite CRUNK songs that get me hype before every test life throws at me!
1. Truth Hurts by Lizzo
“I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% about to pass my exams!” Thank me later for the remix! Speak it over you life yall! Speak it in Jesus name!
2. Hustler by Cassidy
“Betta ask about me, I’m a hustler!” Yo, this song makes me feel like the Crim Dela creme, especially when I have the kids in the backseat! This song makes me feel undefeated and badass!
3.Unstoppable by Koryn Hawthorne
I’m a believer of speaking things over your life! There’s power in the tongue! When the devil throws a curve ball, I remind him of who’s child I am! I’m unstoppable because Jesus says so!
4. Diva (Homecoming) by Beyoncé
I lived for the entire HBCU themed Coachella show! I blast the album in my car while imagining myself marching on somebody’s field! This remix of Diva has the famous breakdown with O.T. Genesis’, “Everybody Mad’ “I’ve been getting too many A’s, everybody mad!” Again, thank me in advance for the remix. Call me DJ Chris. #AnotherOne
5. Follow God by Kanye
Call me crazy but, Ye’s new album has been a mood for the past couple of months. Follow God has simple but powerful words and my kids love the song too!
6. Before I Let Go by Frankie Beverly and Maze
Besides being every black family’s traditional cookout anthem, it’s something about belting out, “before I let you gooooahahaoooo,” in my car. It’s a feel good song and immediate mood changer!
7. Knuck if you Buck by Crimemob
This Negro spiritual makes my bones tingle! When the beat drops I feel my ancestors swaying in their graves. This song gets me hyped for any occasion! This song was on my birth playlist with Zora! No matter how old this gem is, when another person of color pulls up beside me and hears me blasting this in my car, they look over and give me a nod of approval because, they already know what time it is!
8. Ape Sh*t by The Carters
“Ima gorilla in a effin coupe, finna pull up to a zoo. I’m like Cheif Keif meets Rafikki, who been Lion King to you?” If that wasn’t the hardest line of Hov’s career, direct me elsewhere! This line alone paints the picture of my everyday life. I’m a young black queen attending a PWI. I’m fierce wisdom filled being, playing the game of life administered by my white counterparts. Aye!
9. Don’t you Worry Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder
Tori Kelly’s version has taken over our home thanks to the movie Sing but I vowed to never let my kids erase the legend that is Stevie Wonder! Every so often when I need a sweet reminder to chill and let life be, I play this song!
10. If I Ruled the World by Nas ft Lauryn Hill
Taken from rap-up.com
Nas has taught us all a lot. He gives a brief history lesson all while empowering black excellence; reminding us that our lineage didn’t derive from slavery but of royalty. “If I ruled the world, I’d free all my sons;” the chorus sung aloud is me verbally manifesting the emancipation of generational curses and stagnation within my family! I also love singing Lauryn’s ad libs.
You’re the only one standing in the way of the goals you want to achieve! This semester may have started out rough, but you can end it strong! Good luck on finals! I encourage you to create your own finals playlist! Eat or get eaten! You got this!
Fall semester started back this past Wednesday and ya girl is already exhausted! I envy my young fresh faced classmates that complain about balancing work and school! “Tired?” I asked them in my Soulja Boy voice. “I’ll show these young bucks tired…” I think to myself!
So it’s the first day of class and as always, my professors are explaining the class expectations … I’m listening but I too am doodling down a quick grocery list. Multitasking—it’s basically my only superpower. Well that and having the ability to heal any boo boo with a kiss.
Balancing motherhood, marriage, my faith and college weren’t always so easy for me. In fact I almost quit after returning within a week. Being the “old head,” in the classroom is intimidating as heck. Motherhood already makes you feel like you no longer know who you are. I mean, are you still “yourself,” or are you now JUST “so and so’s mom?”
Imagine returning back to college after a 10 year hiatus just to not know where your stance on breastfeeding in public places are. You don’t want to stand out. You don’t always want to be the old person boring the class to death. Be honest, no one likes that’s person. We all try to avoid that person at all cost and when this person raises their hand to speak, we all sit uncomfortably in our seats waiting for them to say something “weird” and unrelatable.
Just 10 years ago before motherhood you could’ve cared less about breastfeeding but now, this matters to you because you’re the “creepy” lady with the kid attached to your boob in the fancy restaurant.
Bottom line, who are you? Do you even know anymore?
Let’s talk about how tired you always are. Unlike your peers who get to clock out after their job and leave work behind; you don’t have that leisure. You’re now a mom 24/7. No sick days, no call ins and ironically, your kid always gets sick when you have a big test.
It’s a lot and I’m sure reading all this is overwhelming but guess what? I got you! I’ve managed to survive 2 years of college as a mom and successfully have remained on dean’s list every semester! It’s hard but it’s doable.
Below, I’ll share tips that have helped me to be a successful #CollegeMom!
1. Don’t overwhelm yourself!
Starts slow! Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pace yourself and slowly build up your class load.
2. Communicate with your professors! Before your Professor is a professor, they’re a human!
The first day of class is the perfect day to introduce yourself and get to know your professor on a more intimate level. This makes remembering your name and face for the professor easier … Establishing a good rapport with your professors makes college a lot easier for you. Trust me!
3. Never procrastinate!
Procrastination will have assignment deadlines sneaking up on you! Keep an agenda and stick to deadlines. Doing this will not only help you stay afloat in college, but this will also give you more time to spend with your family!
4. If possible, complete assignments ahead of time!
If you’re given weeks to do an assignment. Start working on it the day it’s given. Work on it each day. This will decrease stress and again give you more leisure time!
5. Use every tool your university offers!
This means, if your university offers a writing center, tutoring center or even free coffee; take it! Use these things to help you be great! Class breaks are tools you should use too! Use your breaks between classes to work on assignments, study, eat and depending on the duration of the class break, nap!
6. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, visit the onsite counselors!
In a society where depression is at an all time high, don’t risk your mental health when you’re given tools to help it!
7. Make other college mom friends!
This tip really helped me! Finding someone who can sympathize with your situation makes you feel normal! Share tips and tricks and even try to schedule play/study dates! Help each other be super!
8. Be easy on yourself!
Don’t set unrealistic goals! Don’t compare yourself to your classmates! Remember, being a mom is hard enough and you’re doing that and in college! You’re a superstar!
9. Set small goals and crush them!
When I made my great return back to college, my goal was to make A’s and B’s in all my classes. At the time, I was only taking two classes. I set that small goal and ended up making all A’s instead! I made a 100% in my college algebra class that semester! Achieving my goals made setting news one more exciting!
10. Make Jesus just as much of a priority as your school work!
Remember, you can’t do this alone! Make Jesus just as a priority as you do anything else!
He will lessen your load! Trust Him with that!
“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
For extra encouragement, listen to my favorite song, “Unstoppable” by Koryn Hawthorne!👇🏿