There’s No Place Like Home

I’ve been home for a week, and I’ve got to say, it has never felt so good. This week, I have done all the things I didn’t have time to do over the quarter, like drawing, writing, catching up with old friends, and best of all, sleeping. I forgot what it was like to sleep in my own bed.

manu-adan-205044.jpgAs much as I have caught up with people, talked about college, and taken time for myself this week, it has also given me a lot more time to just think. For the past year, as of May, I have been working on this drawing of each of the Hogwarts crests together on a page. It’s quite complicated and takes my complete and utter focus in order to get it right. In the process, I’ve realized that some of our best work, or better accomplishments, require us to be doing nothing else at the same time.

Some things require our undivided attention. That being said, I am now beginning to understand one problem; it almost seems like nothing I have done since I got to Cal Poly ever truly had my full attention. I never stopped multitasking.

That’s the funny thing that I discovered about college and the schoolwork it involves— all of the classes almost seem like distractions from each other. Question is, is it all simply a distraction from something else, a to-do list per say? Let me explain.

Between the classes, the social life, the clubs, and the attempt at figuring out college, it was all multitasking. Maybe there was too much to do without enough time to just do it all one by one. From what I could tell, even if we tried, we might stop in the middle of one assignment to remember another task we forgot to do. Ever been in the middle of relaxing with friends before looking at the time, seeing 11:34, and remembered a bill you forgot to pay or an assignment due at midnight?

Just because we multitask doesn’t mean we remember to do everything… If anything, I think we may actually be more unproductive than ever.brianna-fairhurst-2888

7 days back at home and it’s given me time to slow down, to focus on one thing and actually finish that drawing I told you about. Being back on familiar ground, driving on familiar streets, I am even reminded of how easily time passes while we do other things with our lives. In visiting my advisory teacher whom I had for the same class with the same people all four years of high school, I got to take a look from the outside to see all the freshman students who have now taken our place. This is their start, everything is still so fresh and new to them. They’ve got choices to make and a path to take those first steps on— that’s where we used to be.

And now we’re here.

Today I got a chance to catch up with an old friend who is a grade above me, someone I was lucky enough to run with from sixth grade through to my junior year of high school. We talked about college, about life and where our paths are headed now. I’ve been out of high school for almost a year, she’s been out for almost two, and yet we’re both still trying to figure things out. I guess that never really changes. Looking at her, I could almost see that time that had gone by; she looked a little older and more mature than I remembered.

I wonder if that’s how I look to all the people I went to go visit.

Because now, I’m on a different path than I thought I would be when I started high school. Is that a bad thing? I’d like to think it isn’t. Personally, I would like to think that the paths we take and the turns we make along the way all put us where we need to be. Sooner or later, none of the things we do are distractions while each and every one of them are no longer just a to-do list.

Sooner or later, I hope that the things we do are exactly what we want tojames-padolsey-152010.jpg be doing, and if not, I hope that they will help us get there. At least that’s what I’m striving for in my future.

So here’s to my last quarter of freshman year being something more than multi-tasking. And here’s to each and every one of you finding something in the world that means enough to you to give it your full and undivided attention.

A Lesson Before Leaving

Maybe it’s just the way time passes, but 11 weeks later, and I’m headed back home again. My finals for this quarter finished up on Tuesday and I am officially 2/3 the way through my freshman year.

And they say time flies.

This quarter has been quite a hard one for a lot of us here, especially without the week break we had for Thanksgiving last quarter. It seemed almost as if once we started, there was no stopping until it was over. Though I’ve learned a lot from my classes this quarter, I mean that is the goal isn’t it, I think I’ve learned the most from what was happening outside of them.

What is the most important idea I came across this quarter? Well, it is simply that plans change.

I came into college with certain expectations of what it would be like, until first quarter came around to adjust them a little bit. From there, I entered second quarter with high hopes but somewhat low expectations for these 11 weeks– after all, I would much rather a pleasant surprise than disappointment.

Then we got to week 4, midterms week, as I looked at my friend who was suffering through Chem with me, and our expectations sank a little lower. That’s when we both knew we were both switching out of our majors.

That’s when I knew that things were changing.

Keeping in touch with friends from home, it seems to me that many of our paths have changed a few times since we all graduated together. Some of us are switching majors, some of are switching schools, others are going into the military and of course, some paths are yet to be paved. Even so, with all the deviations and decisions we are finding ourselves coming up against, we are all still moving forward towards the futures we are no longer so sure about.

In the words of late actress and author Gilda Radner, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Maybe it has come from years of reading books or watching movies where everything seemed so cut and dry; there was a beginning, a middle, and an end, maybe some conflict throughout with a sound resolution before it was all over. I used to think that if I set my mind to something then nothing could derail my future.

Funny thing is, the one “derailing ” my future is me. Except now I don’t see it as such a bad thing, I should have known the 10 year plan I made in Econ last year would change a little bit.

As much as we search for success and a sufficient job to build a life with in the future, this is the time when we are supposed to figure it all out, to wrap out heads around what it means to grow up.

Sometimes it seems as of the world around us keeps whispering to choose a path, find a route, and follow it. But maybe it’s not so simple. There are complications, diversions, new explorstions…

There are changes.

Not only have I experienced that this quarter, at this point I have found myself accepting it. For that is what this age is about, we’re not supposed to have it all figured out or know exactly how we are supposed to get there. At this point, as long as we know that there is something more we want out of this life, the next step is really just to take one.

Then take another.

Because before you know it, you’ve caught up to that 10 year plan and it’s not a plan anymore. It’s a reality.

Question is, is it a reality that changed for the better, or one that never changed at all?

World Poetry Day

alvaro-serrano-133360It’s been a little while since I put up my last Poetry Place, but today is a special day after all… It’s World Poetry Day! So in honor of the day and the fact that my finals are now over, I have a new poem for you.

 

I hope you like it.

 

Collateral Damage

She held within her heart a love she could could not tame,

monsters in her mind of which she could not name.

And when the two came together, into the same budding rose,sebastian-molina-fotografia-101308

the dark collided with the beauty and she became the collateral damage.

From the thorns in her side and the voices she could no longer hide

screaming out in agony from the wreckage her heart had just left behind

with the broken pieces amongst the thorns that rose grew up to contain;

every bit of love and light it held countered with a little bit of pain.

Yet she kept going anyway, knowing there was light up ahead.

The light she created with everything she had when she finally let herself

get lost.

ornella-binni-148196


P.S. Just in case you didn’t know, there was a video in my last blog so if you didn’t get a chance to check it out, click on the
To This Day Project at the end of the post! Have a beautiful week. 

To This Day

But our lives will only ever always

jonatan-pie-216311.jpgContinue to be

A balancing act

That has less to do with pain

And more to do with beauty

Back in 2013, I was a sophomore in high school and somewhere along my needs for procrastination, I found something that changed how I looked at poetry and at people— it was so honest, so incredibly beautiful… I had no idea what to with this gem I had just found.

For I had stumbled upon the To This Day Project video on youtube, by Shane Koyczan.

Years later I am still impressed with what it has to say and now, now I know that it was there not only for us to to see, but to think about what it means. It is there for the bullies and the people and the lives it is all talking about, for the people who need a touch of inspiration. That is what spoken word is— it is honest, it is true, and for so many people, it is a reality.

There are countless lines within this video that I wish I could hold onto but this one applies to all of us.

seth-willingham-64594.jpg“If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself

Get a better mirror 

Look a little closer 

Stare a little longer

Because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying.”

Every day I look around this campus and I see people who are still trying. I talk to friends away at other schools or hear about the ones I miss still at Vista and I can tell every one of us is still trying… Trying to what?

We are trying to live our lives, to find our way to a place we know we deserve to be. Because in a society where it is believed we are defined by the amount of money we make or the degree that will be written on our diplomas, there are a lot of people who have a hard time feeling like they will ever get there.

Let me tell you this, if you believe you can get there and you do everything in your power to do so, the only thing standing in the way is yourself.

Our mentalities and the belief we hold in ourselves is one of the most important things we can hold onto in this life. Because in eighteen years, if I have learned anything else, it is how to keep on trying.

splitshire-01466Maybe sometimes it gets hard to believe in what we are doing when the world around keeps telling to turn in a different direction. Think of the women this month is about and the ones it has hopes to inspire— where would they be if they took “no” for an answer?

Where would we be?

Take a moment (7 minutes actually) out of your day to take a look at this video, and remember the power that words hold in our lives, the power we hold in others. And never forget to believe in how priceless this life can really be when we look past the standards, the money, and the stereotypes, into what truly is the balancing act “that has less to do with pain and more to do with beauty.” 

To This Day Project

 

 

This One is For The Women

brooke-cagle-52214It seems that with every month comes something new to discover and a new idea to think about. With March comes Daylight Savings time, the beauty of Spring, and last but never the least, Women’s History Month. Welcome to the celebration of some of the most amazing people I have ever met and the history of the women this nation is built on.

Back in January, I had a small post on the Women’s March, speaking on the Beauty of Standing Up. Just in case you haven’t read it and want to check that out, go ahead and click that link. Last month I told you all about black history, whether it was through poetry, experience, or the help of another perspective. This month, I don’t think I need to tell you all about the importance of Women’s History and how far we’ve come, from the wage battle to the fallacy of equality.

I don’t need to tell you how important women are to each of our lives, both those born female and those not— just take a look at your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, your best friend…

Women are an integral part of this world, I don’t know where I would be without the incredible ladies I am blessed to have in my life.

So here’s to each and every one of them.

Did you know that Women’s History Month aaron-burden-185993.jpgstarted off as just a week in 1978, designated by the the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission in order to educate more people? Fast forward eight years and by then, 14 states had made March Women’s History Month… A year later, in 1987, Congress declared the month nationally


If the history of women in our nation was important enough to go through Congress to add to the monthly celebrations of who we all are, then why are we still struggling to pay attention?

Just like I said that black history is more than a month, and so is Women’s History. There is a wide array of ethnicities, cultures, and people who make up this world that we live in— we ought to be celebrating every single one of them.

Though the definition of a “woman” may be changing to incorporate the circumstances of every person’s life in the 21st century, it does not take away from the incredible potential each woman here in America has. Considering that Wednesday, the 8th, was International Women’s Day, should we still have to fight for the equality that it seems this world knows we deserve to have?

Barely sixty years ago, as a woman, I would not have been admitted to Cal Poly. As a black woman, I may have been hired as cooking staff… Maybe. You noah-hinton-172343see, we’ve come quite a ways from where we used to be in regards to our inclusion as part of society, however, we are still so far behind men that baby steps don’t seem to be enough anymore. Though the genetic difference comes down to a single Y chromosome, apparently it makes all the difference when it comes to wages, career outlook, and even perceived positions of power. 

Women deserve more.

By more, I mean equality in not only the way we work or what we get for working, but in the way we are treated every single day. Stereotypically, women are seen as less intelligent, more emotional, and weak. It still surprises me that people believe women aren’t as strong or capable as men are— have you met my mother? From the woman whom I owe my life (and half my genes) to, to so many others who have changed my life, the this month is a celebration of everything each of us can be. So why not talk about it?

It’s one thing to have a month designated to celebrate a certain group of people, and it’s another thing to actually celebrate it. I feel like there is a tendency to assume we all already know what we need to know, whether it’s the meaning behind this month or the knowledge that comes with it. Let’s be honest, many people believe in the idea that “ignorance is bliss”. Depending on your opinions, sometimes this is true.

When it comes to Women’s History Month, or any culture/group appreciation in general, ignorance is simply just ignorance. Educate yourself. Considering we are in the 21st century, with access to Google and far too much information at the tips of our fingers, there is no longer any excuse as to why we do not know who people james-douglas-730.jpglike Helen Keller and Dr. Sally Ride are. These months are more than a label, the titles are more than suggestions, and these women…

They make up 3.4 billion of the world population.

This is a call for action, to understand why we have this month designated to 3.4 billion people. This is a month where I want to say thank you to each and every woman who has impacted my life, from my teachers to my best friends. This is a time for women empowerment.

May it forever be more than just a month.

 

Let’s talk about College

It’s that time of year again, if you’re part of the Class of 2017, then you know exactly what time I’m talking about— it’s time to make some decisions.mohamed-nohassi-191165

Even though I have two and a half weeks left in my second quarter of freshman year, I remember the stress of college decisions and acceptances like it was yesterday. There were so many questions running around in my head: what am I going to major in, how far is too far, what if I don’t get in, why did I get rejected, how do I decide… As much fun as senior year holds, these decisions have a way of consuming everything you do for the few weeks you find yourself unsure about where to go or what to do. In hindsight, it was all a bit simpler than I could have possibly seen, I mean I’m in college aren’t I? The most important thing you need to know:

You will end up right where you need to be.

I know it sounds cliche, but the point is, there are always more options. This is a big month for most of you and there are a lot of college acceptance decisions coming out within the next few weeks. While some of you know where you’re headed, some of you don’t.

Just know this— that’s okay.

Last year, two hours before I needed to submit my decision of intent for one college, I was sitting in my room with a list of four colleges, their pros and cons, and a coin in my hand. I took one look at Nick and I asked him, “Heads or tails?” After a lot of back and forth, I finally settled on Howard University in DC and Nick chose Purdue University in Indiana (currently waitlisted by Cal Poly).

Did you notice that neither of us ended up at either of those schools?

If there was one thing I wish I knew, it would be that there are so many ways for your circumstances to turn out the way they need edmundas-stundzius-183589to be. I thought I would be at Howard University, with about two months left of school to go. Instead I am here at Cal Poly with Nick, on the other side of the country from where I was going to be, and now we have three months left to go with finals in two weeks. That’s the crazy fact about college and our futures, it’s always going to change.

I think one of the main concepts I was worried about when getting into college was not feeling like I chose the right school, or finding myself stuck in a position I couldn’t get out of. Committing to a school felt like I was etching my future into stone— once I made that decision, I couldn’t change it.

I was wrong.

Because right now, I am changing my major. A month before I was supposed to start at Howard, I changed my college. Don’t underestimate the power of an appeal, or a waitlist. If you really want something, do everything in your power to make it happen. The decisions you make now have the potential to impact a lot, but no matter what you choose, believe in the choice you make. Last year, I wish I remembered to congratulate myself for choosing to pursue more education in a future I wanted. As long as you’re going after success and happiness in the future (whether you’re going to college or pursuing another path), you cannot ask any more of yourself. So be proud of it.

A key point about choosing your college, pay attention to the people you’re about to surround yourself with for the next four years. I’ll be completely honest, I was not prepared for the lack of diversity at this school. Would that have changed my decision? I have no idea, but I’ve made a handful of wonderful friends that have made all the difference in my freshman year so far. When you toured colleges, maybe you paid attention to the campus hills and the dining options, but don’t forget about the people. They can make a pretty big difference.

Are you going to want to wake up on that campus every day to go to class?

Can you handle being surrounded by the demographics and the attitudes of the people around you?

Just make sure that you’re asking the hard questions, considering anything and everything you can about both opportunity and what it’ll be like to live there. This is yoerik-heddema-1380ur future, a bright one, and this decision is completely yours to make.

No matter what you end up doing, just remember that you deserve to be proud of yourself. You’ve made it through 4 years of high school, you’re graduating in two months… This is a time to get excited about your future. You’ve done the work, you are everything you need to be.

Choose your school wisely, but take a moment to look around at where you want to be for the next four years. Here’s to an amazing journey coming to an end just for another one to start, why not make it count?

I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in all the decisions you’re about to make, you’ve got 2 months left of high school. Trust me, it all goes by pretty quickly.