Existence is Resistance

Black Lives Matter.001As I get ready for the beginning of my last year in graduate school I can barely focus on my soon to come studies because my brothers and sisters are being killed all around me. Mothers, fathers, aunts, cousins, students, and friends are all gone because someone decided that they were too dangerous, too inhuman, and not worth enough of anything to live.

How can I sit and worry about whether or not my google calendar is synced with all of my meetings when I feel like I should be out on the streets protesting the injustice that is all around me? What does it matter if I can’t drive my car, sleep in my bed, or go to the store, without being confident that I will make it to the next day? At times I feel guilty that I have not dropped everything and joined the movement. I am able-bodied and of sound mind, that is something that I could do.

It is then that I remembered a word from the old folks in my family that many young Black children hear when they get too big for their britches. My grandmother used to tell me to “tend to my business,” when I got too involved in grown up conversations. Now I take that word from her and apply it to my grown up life.

I am figuring out that my lane of resistance and protest is to continue my education. I have a role that I must play and I remember that I would not have made it through the killings of Trayvon Martin, Kimani Gray, Rekia Boyd, and Jonathan Ferrel, to name a few, without the shoulders of student affairs professionals to cry upon.  Even more the work of student affairs professionals should be as a support to our students that are beginning to put themselves on the front lines of activism. It is the collective leadership of young women, young queer folks, and young folks of color in all of their intersectional identities that is leading the Black Lives Matter Movement, not old religious leaders.

Graduate Assistants that get it are needed. Coordinators that get it are needed. Assistant Directors that get it are needed. College Presidents and Chancellors that get it are needed.

For me, these killings don’t feel like they are happening to other people. I am them and they are me. When I see my colleagues in this field that do not understand how personal this is I want to scream! If you, with your classes on feminism, social justice workshops, CSA competencies, and diversity programming quotas don’t get it, who else in the university will? I worry for your students.

If I feel like my very existence in the university is resistance what do you think your students feel?

Until next time,


NODA Grad in NOLA!

Source: Silicone Bayou News

It seems as though it was last week I was getting excited for my NODA (National Orientation Director’s Association) internship at UNC Asheville (read about that one here) but here I am, a year later, in New Orleans, 3 weeks into my new NODA internship at Loyola University New Orleans.

It is such a blessing that I have had this opportunity twice, one not afforded to many. My biggest concern coming into this summer is if I would have the chance to develop new skills. Would I find a way to challenge myself in new areas? Would I allow my self to become complacent in the orientation song and dance that I know so well? I have some ideas on how to shake things up for myself but if anyone has suggestions let me know!

Orientation really has not started for us here yet so my co-intern and I have had time to explore all that New Orleans has to offer. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that I have tried ALL of the food and gone to quite a few festivals. Locals will tell you there is a festival every weekend in the summer, from ones about Cajun Zydeco music to the Creole Tomato Festival, there is something for everyone.

As things get going for us I’ll check back but I’m excited for what is about to come this summer and I can’t wait to really get started. I also have some ideas to get more into the deep side things like my earlier posts, so stay tuned. Hope y’all enjoy this quick update!

Until next time,


What I Learned My First Year as a #SAGrad

As my first year of Graduate School is coming to a close I have been in purposeful reflection on my experience. I have grown so much personally and as a professional that it is overwhelming to think of all of the knowledge I still have not gained.

1. My passion is not my job, my job helps fulfill my passion

Three months ago if someone had asked me what my passion is I would have said, “College students.” and that is a very surface level answer. I value curiosity most of all. The desire to know more and to gain knowledge is drives everything I do. I have never been able to understand how people are bored when there is so much to learn. The desire to be a lifelong learner has translated into my interest in Higher Education. Understanding what I value and where my passion lies helps motivate me to the best I can for my students everyday.

2. I must take control of my own learning

I’ve come to realize that my Graduate Assistantship and my classes will only take me so far in the knowledge I want to gain. If I want to learn more, I must do more. Passive learning isn’t going to work for what I want.

3. Interdependence is key

I feel as though Grad School made me go through Chickering’s Vector’s all over again. One of my favorite Professor’s in undergrad, Dr. Rupert Nacoste, used to quote John Donne’s “No Man is an island,” line from, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, in class and now I finally get it. Grad School is difficult and it helps to have a group in your corner cheering you on. It helps even more to have people who are in the trenches with you. You are never going to be close friends with all of your classmates but try to find at least one that you can depend on to be there for you.

4. Write the paper early

Something will come up and ruin your plan. Just do it early.

5. You don’t have to trust the process

I’m a Millennial. The process can do what it wants over there but I’m going to go get what I want because I want it now. Yes, I know that is very millennial of me to say and I will learn differently later. [No, I won’t]

How to Get Caught Up, Then Brought Back to Reality at a National Convention

ACPA Standing Committee for Women Booth
ACPA Standing Committee for Women Booth

I could wax poetic about all of the informative engaging sessions I attended and the inspiring speakers I heard, but the most significant part of my first ACPA 2015 was in between all of the networking, panel discussions, and power point presentations.

As I was fast walking between the Tampa Bay Convention Center and one of the conference hotels trying not to be late I heard someone say, “Hey young sister where are you coming from?” The man had an open face and my Momma always taught me that when someone speaks to you it’s respectful to give them your attention, especially someone older than you. I told him I was from North Carolina and a student. He leaned his head back and said, “Well you know back in 1964, when I was a bit younger, I went to school at Johnson C. Smith University, The Golden Bulls!” I told him that I was from Charlotte, NC where the Johnson C. Smith, a historically Black University, is located and I grew up not too far away from the campus. When I told him I attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh he stopped and smirked saying, “Well you know that school wasn’t too much of an option for me back then.” I nodded knowingly and after exchanging goodbyes I went along my way.

I am still in reflection. That experience for me was so humbling. In that moment I was brought back to reality that the school I hold so closely to my heart and want to give back to so much at one point fought tooth and nail so I would not be able to attend. It shows how far we have come but that I also stand on the shoulders of giants so I can help those coming behind me. There lies my purpose, there lies my reason for choosing student affairs, there lies my commitment to Sankofa, I must reach back and bring those behind me forward so that they may reap the benefits of my work.

The March on Selma’s 50th anniversary has just passed and with the videos depicting our students reciting bigoted chants in the news it shows even more that the work I want to do is not done and I have no time to rest. The work must be done now. It is urgent. I did not catch the name of the man I stopped to talk with, the interaction was only two minutes at the most but I will hold that with me anytime I feel my self getting caught up and need a reality check.

Chickerme? Chickerwho? Chickeryou?

I am well into my first Student Development theory class and today even though NC had a snow day my first paper on Chickering was due. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the paper because we were able to pull from our own undergraduate experiences and apply the vectors.

After completing the paper I got curious about undergraduate Amanda. I have a notorious bad memory about most things so I ventured into the deep archives of my horrible webcam videos on my computer. I found one of my old video diaries and I’m going to leave it here for you all to see. Hopefully you find it as interesting as I did! At the tender age of 19, I can see a future Student Affairs professional blossoming.

The audio is really low so you may need headphones!

Let me know what you all think!

“Here is a strange and bitter crop”

I’ve been quiet on my blog for quite a while due to work, school, and no real motivation to speak out. As a young professional I am still navigating the waters of talking about my views on current events while not marginalizing or offending students.

Now, that is over. I’m tired of being quiet. I’m tired of watching my brothers and sisters being killed by those that promise to protect and serve. I’m tired of having to tell others that my life matters, as if that’s not a given. It seems like every time I turn on the TV I see strange fruit.

John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Yvette Smith, Eleanor Bumpurs, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tarika Wilson, Tamir Rice, Cameron Tillman, VonDerrit Myers Jr, Laquan McDonald, Shereese Francis, Shantel Davis, Rekia Boyd, to be continued………

Do you work here…?

I said that I would stop with the posts just recording the time line of events going on in my life and I am keeping to that promise. Summer is over, classes are back in session and it is time for you and I, dear reader, to stretch our minds a bit.


I’ve been working at my graduate assistantship for about a month and within the last few weeks students have finally made their way back to campus. I sit in a fairly busy part of campus in what is the closest thing we have to a student union building here. Most days students can see me puttering around at my cube and completing my “other duties as assigned.”

While working in a figurative, and literal, glass house was at first, a bit intimidating I started to notice an interesting trend. During those first few days every student that I perceived as Black or African-American either did a double take then waved or came in the office and introduced themselves.

Now I could put this up to it being a really small school and a new person is easy to spot but I think it is something a bit deeper. I would never stretch to say that I hold the monolithic views of the Black community, nor do we caucus and report out to the masses. I do believe that on a campus where there are not a lot of administrators that look like you, seeing someone in a leadership role matters. I know it mattered to me as a student.

As always I would love feedback!