Please accept this message as my heartfelt outpour, as I am a writer, this is my medium to communicate with you:
No disrespect, but you belong to me.
By now, you hopefully recognize me (this is not our first correspondence). In fact, I’ve spent many days dreaming of your potential and referring to you by name. We Africans, Nigerians in particular, put a lot of stock into names and their meanings. And you, 2020, may have one of the most powerful names I have come across (outside of Y2K, no shade). The implication being the name donned for those with perfect vision, for those that see clearly. Let me remind you who I am and why I may look so familiar, like one of those relatives that insist you remember them from that one time they carried you when you were 9 months old.
Personally, my “romantic revelation” solidified on a Tuesday afternoon in a Jamaican gift shop while talking to a young woman from the island named Cher. My friend, Prisca, was inside shopping for bracelets and I was window-shopping next to her happily picking fresh oxtail from between my teeth. Before I knew it, the three of us were embroiled in a conversation about love, happiness, and the appropriate appraisal of one’s self-worth. Cher, eager to pour into us both, told us about (1) her two children, (2) her giftshop and emerging taxi business, and (3) her current boyfriend—all of which were actually related. Right there, in the middle of the giftshop, Cher broke down her rules to finding a good partner. She explained why so many women got it wrong, how so many men take advantage of it, and 3 rules that we must start embracing if we really wanted to be in the romantic partnership of our dreams. Most astonishingly, Cher is only 25 years old, giving free TED-like talks in the comfort of her store. She spoke with such confidence and certainty, like someone with an attuned clarity far beyond her years. Once you meet a woman like Cher, you never forget her. Continue reading →
I can proudly say that exercising empathy is one of my greatest strengths. I can be open-hearted and loving to a fault of my own. Countless times I’ve found myself devastated at how the love I poured into others wasn’t returned back to me. TD Jakes refers to this archetype as “big hearted people” and asks 5 questions to help you know if you’re one of us too (see below). Continue reading →
DISCLAIMER: It has come to my attention that some folk believe that I “have it all together.” Please accept this disclaimer as my way of saying three things: 1) I am figuring this out (and making this up) right alongside you dear reader; 2) I am not immune to feeling completely lost in tasks that are “supposed to be” routine by now; and 3) Sometimes I have to be reminded (by other people) of the things that I write (because most of my advice for you, is actually advice for me).
I’m still in school because I still have so many things to learn about myself and how the academy really works. In sharing my learnings on this journey, I hope that my vulnerability can act as a harbinger for your future concerns. I post so that YOU know, you’re NOT the only one out there feeling this way, and we can get through this together <3.
Confession: I am very afraid. I am a fourth year graduate student in the second year of my Ph.D. and my insides tighten every time someone says, “Wow, you’re almost done. Right??” (cue eyeroll and shoulder shrug)
In Nigerian culture,** parents typically assemble grandparents, close friends, a pastor, and relatives for a naming ceremony for the child, 7 days after birth. It is an occasion full of celebration, prayer, and inspiration as everyone revels over what the child’s name will be. Typically, the child will have several traditional names, an English (or name from a book within their religious faith), and a family surname. Continue reading →
Allow me to provide you with some more spiritually-guided unsolicited advice. If you’ve interacted with me recently, at some point you may have heard me talking about how I “stay ready, so I never have to get ready.” I want to break down what this means to me and why it’s been so important in helping me reach new heights. Continue reading →
It’s so dastardly simple that it’s also a bit hard to accept as an answer. But so much of what we need to do in life can be boiled down to just showing up. Bringing all of your attention, heart, and body into the space where you’re working. Relationships, presentations, acts of service would all be radically different if people just vowed to do this one act. Continue reading →
This is the age-old question that I ask myself and constantly gets asked of me. I would like to believe that it was my strategic foresight, research and leadership experiences, and all of my ambition. And while that may be part of the story–a large part–it it still far from complete. When I originally wrote this post, I started by listing all of my accomplishments, things I had done, started, and won. The ways I had forged this path ahead of myself on my own. Upon reflection, I think it could be more useful to emphasize a different perspective; a maxim I learned from my improv class, “Dare to be Average.”
Disclaimer: this post is not a short-cut substitute, or alternative for hard work. It does not contain mystical wisdom about the admissions process or the formula for the perfect introductory email. These are my compiled mistakes, blunders, and near-regrets that also contributed to me getting where I am today–a Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. I won’t, however, make you wait too long for the answer to the post title’s question. I got into Stanford…I think because of Continue reading →
Today marks ~3 weeks since I completed my first year of graduate school, putting me an entire academic year closer to earning a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I wanted to post this on my last day of school since I started blogging on the first day—but I was exhausted. I mean completely wiped out. This year was full of meetings no one should have, of heinous crimes against black, brown, and female bodies no one should see, of a world being strewn about and reassembled in a fashion no one would dare accept. So forgive how lackadaisical I am about concluding one of several years. Despite this, everyone, and everything that threatened to deter me from my trajectory, my consistency has been my greatest asset. Of course, this is yet another learned behavior from my parents, echoed in the sentiment of Dory’s favorite song, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”
True words plastered on the walls of gyms nationwide.
I have to be honest: 1) 2016 has already earned its place as the most challenging year of my life (I can’t believe it’s only April) and 2) I’ve never been a die-hard, know all the words, go to all the concerts, Beyoncé fan, and quite frankly I’m still not. But I have the utmost respect for both the year 2016 and Beyoncé. I woke up this morning Continue reading →