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
CONGRATULATIONS on deciding to pursue a graduate degree at (INSERT name of your dream graduate program here). We are so looking forward to having you here to (INSERT project/idea that you believe deep down will fundamentally change the world). There are a few things you should know to get started with the waterboarding–whoops! We meant “onboarding” process (NOTE: we totally meant “waterboarding”).
Look familiar? Not sure where to start? Below, you can find a short list of tips to help you start your graduate school journey strong so the above no longer looks familiar. Continue reading
Though unofficial, there are a handful of people I go to for advice but very few (that I know of) that are willing to shift their weight around to help me get something. I recognize now that it’s not new mentors I need, now I need sponsors, advocates, people with power who can speak up for mr when I’m not around. Continue reading
The first day of fall ’16 quarter (yesterday September 26, 2016) was a beautiful day on campus. Bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen and first years hustled and bustled to classes and learned just what a quarter system is all about. I cannot believe that the year has passed by so quickly–though going through it at the time, it felt anything but quick. So much about me and my perspective on life has changed. Having come back from a trip to my alma mater, University of Maryland College Park and performing in Washington D.C. I feel ready to take on the world again. My skin is thick, my chin is held high, and I finally have a plan.
I envision a world where Continue reading
*In a June 2016 letter to the judge, Dan Turner, father of rapist, Brock Turner, wrote:
“His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve…He’d never even expressed violence before the incident in question…That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action. Out of his 20+ years of life.”
Open letter on behalf of Brock Turner’s“20 minutes of action*,”
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.
My year taught me that the most difficult part of falling down is Continue reading
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
The secret? Simply ask for what you want. Yeah…that’s it. It’s actually one of the few things we must rely on since mind reading is still generally unavailable.
Sometimes, we’re so afraid of being a burden to others that we shoulder the weight all by ourselves. However, asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity—not weakness. Continue reading
I had long cherished the idea of entrepreneurship as a salvation; the thing I was meant to do that would lift me above the discontents of normal life. After industry internships, I longed for the flexibility and autonomy that being my own boss enabled. This past summer, I worked as a Technology Transfer Entrepreneur for DOE. Actually working as an entrepreneur changed how I thought about almost everything. Every person I met Continue reading
As a black woman born to poor immigrants, I don’t have the luxury of relying on “good enough,” I know my work is often inspected more critically. Marginalized identities cannot settle for “good enough” because the sad truth is—we’re taught to aim low. Thus, I’ve committed to Continue reading