As noticed, I have been a little MIA lately. I have been extremely determined to be proactive with my academics and opportunities this semester, in which I have been doing very well in both departments!
I have been given the opportunity to be a Lead AVID Tutor this semester for a group of middle school students here in Madison. AVID has been one of the most influential programs I have been a part of and it one of the biggest reasons I am in college today, so to be able to give back to the program meant a great deal to me, and I hope to be able to show the students how important and beneficial the program truly is, aside from the somewhat boring aspects of it. So far, the job has not interfered with my academics and really works around my schedule with my extracurriculars also.
As far as academics, I LOVE MY CLASSES! And bonus? I’M DOING GREAT, TOO! Two of my classes are really easy for the time being and are mostly reading and discussion-based with no exams, which I have no problem with. The other two I would say are a bit more challenging, but interesting and fun to learn about. One of them is Malnutrition and World Hunger, which initially was the focus I wanted within the Nutritional Sciences major. My other class is Community and Environmental Sociology, which is the most interesting class I have (and planning to declare the major soon!). With this class, and major, there is an aspect in which I would be able to incorporate malnutrition and even social and racial justice if I wanted to, which makes me feel really confident about declaring this major, along with really liking the classes I would need to take. The only thing I have doubts with are finding a job with this major, but I suppose I am trying not to worry about it too much because I do plan to go to graduate school for Public Health, so hopefully everything will play out.
With my work and school-life going well, I have even more great news! Off impulse, I decided to apply to two different summer opportunities for this upcoming summer. One of those opportunities being a TA through the Rosedale Freedom Project for a group of 9th graders in which I would not only be teaching math, but also educating them about social and racial justice and how to be leaders inside and outside of the classroom. Did I mention it’s in Mississippi? Well, it is… The next opportunity is a study abroad program in Denmark focusing on African Americans and why there is a small percentage of African Americans in Europe and how that has been changing within the past few years. Like I said, I applied for these opportunities off impulse and just the day or two before the deadline for the applications, so I didn’t really believe my application was competitive, but nonetheless I got accepted to both!! Exciting, yes, but the sad part is I will have to decide between the two since they overlap with each other. I am weighing my options since they are both wonderful opportunities, but it will definitely be hard to turn down either one.
As my first semester of my second year comes to an end, I keep thinking about what I could have done better and how I can have a better spring semester. I went into fall semester with an extremely positive attitude and I was very driven to do well in all my classes, but as the semester went on, I had a lack of motivation for my courses mostly because I was uninterested, but not just uninterested in my courses, uninterested in school, too. Most of that feeling came from the fact that I could not find a major that fits my interests and that I was not doing well in my courses either, but I was trying so hard. I would study endlessly, pull all-nighters to keep study, find tutors, form study groups, and still nothing was sticking in my head, but as I reflect on the semester I realize that it might have been because I felt like I was taking these classes without it taking me anywhere, and that was a constant thought I had daily that affected my performance in my academics. Knowing bits and pieces of that, I was actively on the hunt for a major that fit my interests and that I knew I would do well in.
Just for some background info, I had declared a Nutritional Sciences major near the beginning of the year and once it was time to enroll for second semester courses my advisor had planned the rest of my semesters for me and as I looked at how my semesters would go, I realized that I would have a miserable rest of my college experience and none of what I actually wanted to do would be accomplished with this major.
I decided to look into two majors: Community and Environmental Sociology and Life Sciences Communication, perhaps double majoring. Very broad majors, but with some help I would be able to have a focus and I could even tailor it some by adding some certificates. I’m taking a couple courses for both majors next semester and I am actually excited for the courses, but we’ll see how things go!
Maybe it’s just me, but time has just been flying this entire year. It was just Halloween, Thanksgiving is already over, and within less than a month I will have already completed the first semester of my second year. I have always been told that my college years would go by extremely fast, but I did not believe it would be going by this fast!
On another note, we (the BSU) had one of our biggest programs of the semester right before Thanksgiving break and it turned out to be amazing! It was “A Seat at the Table: A Thankfull Gathering”. The purpose of the event is to try to get the Black/POC community together and celebrate Thanksgiving for ones who are not able to go home for break and have an empowering conversation with the topic coming from the general body. Our topic this year was how to build yourself while also rebuilding your community with our speaker being Dr. Kandice Sumner, a TedTalk speaker who holds a Doctorate of Urban Education Policy and a creator of Race, Achievement, Culture, and Equity (RACE), a professional development program focusing on bettering the youth. She was a wonderful speaker and the students really seemed to enjoy her, so we were happy with how everything turned out! Logistics and all!
I also declared my major this month; Nutritional Sciences. I was and still am extremely excited for and about it, but my advisor had planned the rest of my semesters for me and what classes I would be taking and I am not sure if I am completely happy with them. I decided on Nutritional Sciences because the classes I was taking were extremely interesting because not only was I learning about the chemistry, but I was also learning about nutrition in impoverished countries around the world and I do not see that being reflected on my class schedules which I am truly upset about. I have also been putting extra thought into my want to go to medical school and I am not sure if I would like to go anymore. I have been looking into more of the public health route and I understand I don’t need to major in anything specific to go into public health, but I would like a focus and I know my interests, but I am having a difficult time finding my interest in the majors that I must choose from. I have been a lot more proactive in finding whatever that major is though and I hope to figure out something soon, but I also feel like I am running against the clock and I don’t like the feeling.
As the second round of exams come to an end, I would say that I am truly proud of the amount of work that I have put in this semester compared to my first semester of college. I do realize that I still have a long way to go, but I do believe that I have truly used all my resources and have taken multiple steps into bettering my college experience.
This past month has been extremely busy with both my course load and being treasurer for BSU. I was not sure what I was expecting for this position, but I was not expecting it to be THIS much work. Fortunately, it only gets intense when we’re having events of which we are having one of our biggest programs in just a couple of weeks! It is exciting, but there is a lot of paperwork involved just because we are bringing in a speaker, but I am excited to see how the events turns out! I will provide more details about the event and its outcome in the November blog!
It feels so soon to be talking about summer, but one thing that I have learned in college is that time moves quickly and positions for summer opportunities either fill up quickly or you need to prepare for them way in advance. With that being said, I have also been in search of research labs and potential internships in the medical field this summer. I am not sure whether I would like to stay in Madison for the summer, but if I do find a great internship or lab opportunity here then those will be my plans along with taking summer classes!
I cannot believe summer and the first month of school has already come to an end! It seems like my first year of college only ended a couple of weeks ago.
Before I jump right into school, here’s one word that sums up my summer: PRODUCTIVE! I had an internship with Boston Scientific working with the Sustaining R&D department. I truly learned a lot, and it was a wonderful experience. I had never consider going into engineering until this summer. I did my research and it truly is a wonderful field to go into, but I do believe if you are going to pursue engineering it is something you have to be passionate about because of the tremendous amount of effort and dedication and competitiveness it comes with, and with that being said it slowly diminished from my short list of majors to consider. I completed my internship in late July due to an unexpected trip to Kenya!
I was in Kenya for about a month because my oldest sister that lives in Kenya was getting married! Along with that, my grandma wanted to see at least two of my dad’s kids from the US and it just so happened to be my younger sister and I. Kenya was truly an amazing experience. As Americans, or as anyone who has never been to Africa, some people already have this preconceived image of Africa; the poverty, the land, the culture, and to completely honest it is not what we see on television or on social media. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Of course, there were parts of the area that were like I imagined Africa to be, but for the most part it was amazing, and I am excited to go back sometime soon.
As far as the first month of school goes, it is better than both of my past two semesters combined! I have been on top of all my classwork and studying and I do feel prepared for the rest of the semester. I am not that worried for any of my classes except for Calculus One, but I know that to pass that class I will have to put my best foot and effort forward. As far as deciding on a major, I have chosen to declare Biochemistry with two certificates in Global Health and African Studies. I am not entirely sure about my major yet, but for now that is what I plan to pursue, and I am excited!
As finals and the semester came to an end, I felt very accomplished this last semester. I felt nervous about my finals once I took them because they seemed a little too easy, almost like a trick, but overall, I did great and I was very pleased with my grades and my GPA! Looking back on my spring semester, I felt that I did much better in all aspects and I took advantage of a lot more opportunities. Although I have yet to declare my major, I met with many great people and advisors to help me narrow down my search! Along with a great semester academically, I have also earned the treasurer position for the Wisconsin Black Student Union, which I am extremely excited for. The WBSU has helped me branch out and stay involved on campus in which has helped me make Madison’s campus feel much smaller.
My plans this summer consist of working and hopefully taking at least a week or two of vacation visiting family in San Diego, but that is yet to be determined. I have received an internship position at Boston Scientific for the summer, but I am not exactly sure of my role yet. Along with that, I will also be working at Walgreens part-time. It will be a busy summer, but I am very excited to see how my summer will play out!
This week is officially the last week of classes! And then… finals. I am truly not too worried about finals this semester and I feel very calm about them, oddly. I have been studying and trying to do everything ahead of time, which is working very well. The only thing that has been a bit stressful these past couple of weeks is trying to figure out my schedule for the fall semester. I signed up for a couple of classes, but I am currently second guessing them because I do not want to overwhelm myself too much with too many credits or a bad challenge, but for the most part I do like my classes. I think the only reason I keep second guessing them is the fact that other people are second guessing if I am ready for the classes or not. I didn’t do too well my first semester because I truly lost all my motivation for a higher education which led to not so great grades, and I didn’t realize how big of an effect that would have on the way my advisors viewed me. The lack of support from my college advisors has also caused me to second guess my major options because it seems as though they have already engrained in my mind that I might not be able to complete the major, but I am a firm believer of being able to do anything I put my mind to, and the brain is the most powerful thing, so if I keep telling myself I can’t do something I will automatically think I can’t do it without even trying. I do believe an advisor has you best interest, but they don’t necessarily know what you are capable of. At the end of the day, you know what is best for you and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise… I think.