10 Thoughts for Black Girls Starting College This Year

This post is inspired by the work that @blackgirlproject is doing.

1. Meet with your professor to clarify your first assignment. Every professor is is different and you will get a better idea of what they asking for. They may be busy but this is your education to claim, they have theirs. As the first woman in my family to go to college AND as someone who is being trained to be a college professor. I know the power of such a meeting.

2. Never set your drink down at the party. Even with your best friend. It only takes one minute for someone to put something in your drink that can compromise your faculties. I don’t use the term date rape, because date softens the sexual violence of rape. However, in a rape culture you need to protect yourself and the culture needs to change.

3. If something traumatizes you, if you have a racist or sexist experience, tell someone preferably a professor or a therapist on campus. Keeping stories inside of you is harmful to your mental health. If you do not have your health, you cannot graduate. I had a hard first year with regards to my family during my first year at Mills. I went to a professor and let them know what was going on. Talking about it out loud helped. I had two part-time jobs and STILL earned a 3.5 that semester.

4. Make friends with girls. I know we are socialized to not like women. But your girlfriends will hold you down when your boyfriend/girlfriends/Lovers break your heart.

5. Send thank you notes to all the family members who do nice things for you while you are away. It means a lot to receive a call or a thank you note.

6. Party. I will never forget four of us packing into my homies BRAND NEW sentra and flying across the Bay Bridge to see the De La Soul show. We bonded that night. I did NOT say party all the time. I said party. Notice the distinction.

7. Think about your summer plans. Go to the internship coordinator and ask them for help in November. Then go back in February. These folks are busy, but they have the resources to help you. In my senior year I interned at VH1 because I was persistent and tenacious. Because of this internship and another with a smaller production company I landed my first production assistant job with Beyond the Glory. BTG was/is a documentary show about athletes.

8. When someone offers to help you with your career, thank them and take their card and follow up. I am not saying use people like a rug, because that is wrong. I want you to understand that college exposes you to social capital, which is just as if sometimes not more valuable than money. Access to people means access to relationships. Unfortunately, the world is such that people with institutional power may NOT talk to you if you do not know someone that they know. This is how institutional power works. I want you to understand it and have a language to describe it.

9. Keep a journal. It will help you process mistakes. Remember mistakes are assets.

10. Do not run up your credit card bill. Understand that higher education is a profit oriented system. The fewer loans you have when you graduate the more freedom you will have with choosing a career.

I hope this helps you little bear.

All the best.

To my readers, is there anything else that you would add to this list?

Comp Exam

Things will be lite around here for the next few weeks as I am prepping for a 72 hour comp exam for the weekend of August 19th.

Pray for me.

We were given a 10 page bibliography that we are expected to write two 20-30 page exam answers over that weekend in August.

We have a reading group that has been meeting for the last few weeks.

On my end, I have organized the readings thematically into: Genealogy’s, Transnational Feminisms, Intersectionality, Transdisciplinary Knowledge Practices and a (build your own) Syllabus question.

I have started with the methodology readings and the techno feminist science readings, as they are what I am least familiar with.

My goal is to write a sample exam  answer (15 pages) by July 25th and give it to my adviser or someone on the committee to read. I tend to do better when my work is reviewed before the deadline.

I am also putting the pieces together for NMM 2.0 and the Women of Color policy blog. I have a layout, and some writers lined up, but still no name. #workingonit.

I am going to try and write one post a week, but I will see how that goes.

In the mean time, do you all want me to post a selected archive of posts maybe 20 or so of my favorite NMM posts?


Gone ‘Till May 3rd

I am busy prepping for the end of the semester. Grading papers, working on my teaching portfolio (shout out to everyone on Twitter who shared their teaching statement with me) and I am being observed for the second time this semester on May 3rd. Pray for me, I need to leave myself enough time to proofread everything. #Becomingbetterattimemanagement.

In the mean time, check out racialicious, the crunkfeminists, gender bending Zeds blog, Jamilah King @ Colorlines, Brittini and Arielle @Clutch Mag and quirky black girls.

There is also a Goldy update coming. I am playing her close to the vest as things have developed……

Here are some of my posts that you may enjoy in the meantime.

Michael Baisden is a Misogynist Pig

Thinking about Jay Electronica Choking Women During Sex

Ta-Nehisi Coates Asks “Is For Colored Girls a Classic”: My Response

Why Can’t The Obama’s Send their Children to Public School?

Michelle Obama and the Black Female Body

To all my homies, and readers, thank you for holding me down. You make this process less lonely and I appreciate it.

Love,

#Allcity.

Juicy Butt

I have a pair of indigo Levi’s 518’s. They are about
6 years old and I dry clean them only. They don’t
even make these anymore.

My favorite pair of jeans. Casual, dressy and snug.

By the middle of my first year of law school I lost a lot of weight.

Living off of coffee and boiled eggs can do that.

The jeans became less snug and saggy booty.

I told one of my current mentors when I started grad school,that if she saw me on the light side, then that meant that I am not doing well, and to pull me aside and check in.

I am a #petitesnack as it is, so losing or gaining anything is noticeable. But ‘chall also KNOW THAT I STAY eating. #nomnomnom.

Losing that weight allowed me to have REAL appreciation for the trauma that both people in general, and women in particular experience about NOT being able to fit into their clothes any longer, be it from gaining or losing weight.

I remember being out with my then partner, wearing saggy booty jeans, and seeing him look at my homies ass and I remember how awful that made me feel. That experience and others like it with him took a toll on my self esteem.

Never again.

Looking back, I guess I had to go through that to know that I will not
take that shit off of anyone. Only jawns that appreciate consistently,
who say it and DO IT are on my radar.

As I have gotten older, I made a commitment to Love my body, imperfections, perfections and all. Dressing in ways that accentuate the attributes and walking like a gazelle, as Bacon Grits calls it. #weintheair

I realized that doing this is both healthy, and also really attractive to others.

The body is always changing. The first year was eggs and coffee. The second year was carbs and running. I needed to do something active so I could sit in the library for 5 hours each night.? So I began to run, up to 6 -9 miles a week, which showed me other things that the body can do.

I am happy to say, that I put on those six year old indigo Levi’s jeans on Thursday, they tyyyyyyyyyyyyyyght.? I’m eating. Its the end of the semester. I survived.

Thank you to everyone who helped me to get this far.

WoOTer.

~Love #allcityreneens

Second Semester

Second Semester is different from the first in a few ways.

The first is that I read with more confidence. I have process for
being able to absorb a book by reading the introduction closely,
recognizing the arguement then proceeding to read the relevant
chapters that I feel the author care’s most about.

Second is that, my support network is bigger. Moving to a new place
and making new friends and the same time, is not what the
streets want. However, it is coming together, and between
twitter, friends of friends, and just being a friendly person
I seem to be formulating a group of people that I can rely
on that have NOTHING to do with academia, which is
key.

Third, I have a grad school homie in another department, Ms. Fresh
Daily, and we are hella cool. Love her, she checks for me,
pushes me to think with my radical imagination, talks
me down from the edge, and perhaps most importantly
helps me to see when I am tripping or when school
people are tripping. She also helped me to see that
I identified intellectually, hella hard, with my last relationship
and thats why it was hard to let go. She reminded me that
everything that I learned from him, came to him several
people, may of whom were Black. That the issue is not
about learning from a person but being apart of a learning
community. She had been there before, where her partner
pushed her to new places, intellectually, then they split, and she
was forced to make sense of the relationship and the void.

Fourth I know and am in regular contact with other Black women
who are dissertating (Moya y Jess), so not only do I SEE examples
of people who have made it, but they also care enough about
me to take my phone calls, which is really precious and meaningful.

Fifth, its nice to get to know and meet people who are interested
in my work and me as a person. Its bumpy at times, don’t get
it twisted. But in some ways, my faith has had to grow bigger
than my fear to be able to do it. (Otherwise I would just stay
in the bed, luls.)

Lastly, I have a better sense of what is expected of me.
I am also more gentle with myself and understanding that
there are a lot of things that I don’t know how to do and that
I am here to learn, and as long as I don’t expect to do
things perfectly the first time I will maintain my serenity.

Is this year better than last for you?
Why or why not?
Why is it so hard to accept learning how to do new things is hard?