This week, your favorite Black girl doing grad school finds herself in the midst of a rather rainy, but extremely well-timed, fall break. With six weeks of the semester plus two weeks of Omohundro training under my belt, it seemed like a good time to reflect on my experiences thus far.
At the beginning of August, I sat down and made a list of goals for myself– really, a list of a promises. Now’s as good a time as any to see if I’m keeping my word.
GOALS FOR THE SEMESTER, YEAR, AND GRAD SCHOOL IN GENERAL:
1. Take care of myself.
- Eat when hungry. Really try to stick to the whole three meals a day thing.
- Take my medicine.
- Go to the doctor when necessary. YOU ARE NEVER TOO BUSY TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.
- Stay active; I liked my level of physical activity in Charlottesville.
- Attempt to go to the gym 1-2 times per week, in addition to longer walks with Genghis. You may as well watch your superhero shows/listen to the Black Girl Nerds podcast on a treadmill.
- Start Wednesday August 10th and watch Pretty Little Liars at the gym, after you walk G.
- Stay health conscious if possible. Eat green.
- Do not be afraid to go back to therapy if need be.
- Be nice to yourself. Get your hair done often, keep yourself well groomed: you’ll feel better, promise.
Well…I think I’m honoring myself more than I ever have in my life. Does that mean I’m pleased with my progress over the last few weeks? Considering I did pass out from neglecting to eat about two weeks ago… Well…
Eating is strangely difficult for me. I don’t have any eating disorders, but when I get stressed out, my appetite disappears. I can go for about a week on a diet of apples, popcorn and pretzels before I come to my senses. It’s never on purpose, and I inherited this reaction to stress from my mom. With that said, I still have been paying more attention to my mental health these last few weeks. Instead of treating the eating symptom, I try to tackle the root of the problem: the stress. In terms of the food I do eat, it’s relatively healthy! I seldom eat fast food, opting instead to bring lunch from home, make quick dinners or else crock pots which last the week. Being close to home definitely helps as well. Any time I’m feeling deprived of a “real” meal, I just head home and poke around the fridge to see what my mom’s been up to during the week.
As far as the exercising goes: I did go to the gym that day! But that was the only day I went. On the flip side, I went kayaking a few times with my American Studies friends, and I’m still getting a little exercise from walking around on campus. If I’m being defensive, my watching TV while on a treadmill idea couldn’t really take effect until this week anyway, because that’s when all my hero shows came back on the air. At any rate, I think after fall break, I should really try to make this a habit. I did try, but it’s within reason to keep trying until it sticks.
2. Don’t overcommit
- Go to class, go to your apprenticeship, write for BGN. Those are your only obligations and even BGN is optional. Don’t forget that.
- Try to be in bed by 11/12. Get good sleep. You’ll feel better.
- Self-impose “no work” time. No work after 9 PM, only things you enjoy after then. No working while cooking.
- Work hard but don’t overextend yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Reflection: I think I’ve been doing a really good job with this one. I’ve been making a lot of time for the things that I do enjoy doing, like painting, blogging, keeping up with superhero television. I get a solid 8 hours pretty much every night. Because of this, I feel like my quality of life is much better than it was in undergrad.
3. Love Deeply
- Focus on Genghis. You’re his only friend now. So be present when you play with him and love him as deeply as he loves you. Let him help de-stress you. Use walks with him as a means of self care.
- Interact with Mom and Dad often. They love me and I love them.
- Keep up with my friends from UVA. I love them and they’ve gotten me through so much.
- Make a friend. Or a few. Try not to be so stuck in my Ravynn world.
- Find the Black community at W&M. Stay there.
- Ridley gave you so much. Start saving so you can give at least a little back to Ridley.
Reflection: I’ve also done an excellent job at being present for those I love. Genghis and I are having a first rate time in Williamsburg together, we visit with Mom and Dad often, I’ve stayed close with almost everyone I intentionally set out to stay close to. I did make a few friends, and I even found a few different means of getting into the Black community here. Still working on saving money to give back to Ridley…but they understand the post-grad struggle.
- Write. Like everything is getting published.
- Make it your goal to get to a conference and make a presentation.
- DO NOT skimp on my own interests: write fiction.
- Maybe finish Under Surveillance… Publish???
- Keep blogging…
Reflection: I’ve been doing a bomb job of this, too! Keeping up with my blogs hasn’t been the hassle I thought it would be; it’s what I look forward to at the end of a long week. I’ve already been published on the U.S. Intellectual Society blog, I’ve already submitted paperwork to present at a conference in March, and I’ve started on a few projects that may stay under wraps until I decide what I’m going to do with them. My writing has never been better and I’m so excited to see everything that’s going to come of this.
5. Miscellaneous encouragement and one serious goal:
- Keep loving yourself
- Keep trying
- Be bold
- Find a summer internship in journalism (paid!)
- You are amazing. Now show the world.
Reflection: I am a massive cornball. But what did being down on yourself ever actually accomplish?
These past few weeks haven’t been the best, I’ll admit, but I’m doing so well in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been seriously on my Lois Lane grind the last few weeks and I get a surge of pride knowing I’m doing the kind of work my fictional heroine would be impressed by. And since I’ve discovered that scholarly blogging is a lot like academic journalism, I’ve been just dying to get back out there with something else. I’m slowly discovering the places where I fit.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.