“The first and best victory is to conquer self.”
— Plato

2015, has been a great year for me. I have been able to get more involved in the field of Higher Education in ways I never thought I could. I have made connections with students. I worked very hard in class and my grades have shown that work. I have taken my graduate school experience and made it my own by gearing my projects and research to what I care about, professional and personally. Even with all of that, there is still room to improve.

In high school, even into undergrad, I was chained by unwritten rules that I felt I needed to follow to be good enough. Make this grade. Play this sport. Go to college. Major in this. Have these kind of friends. I was never having to be disciplined for myself. A lot of things I was doing were to please or satisfy the gaze of others.

This past year I had epiphany that I can still be amazing and not follow anyone else’s prepackaged formula. I read Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, and Roxanne Gay and figured out that as a Black woman I am wonderful, terrible, beautiful, stubborn, wrong, and right in all the ways that I need to be and that is ok.

While still holding on to my new found sense of freedom I need to find self-discipline. I’ve always appreciated structure and rules so it is no wonder that while I have been doing well, I have not thrived as I would have liked to in 2015. Imagine what I could have done if I was trying to make myself as proud as I was trying to make others?

So my New Year, New Me, post is not about the job search, which will happen, or about finding myself. In 2016, I want to find the self-discipline to be ok saying no. I want to eat healthier and take care of myself. I want to be in better control of my finances. I need to be more mindful and present in my interactions with others. To me all of those things fall under discipline.

So a toast to the blood, sweat, and tears of 2015, and cheers to all that 2016, will bring.

See you next year,


Let us be Heroes

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” – Maya Angelou

This year Guilford College, where I work, has a superhero theme for our orientation. The students chose the quote above to go on the back of one of the shirts. This Maya Angelou quote really got me thinking about what it means to be a hero. As Student Affairs professionals it is easy for us to try to be superheroes. From working late nights and during days off a lot of us strive to always be available and even feel guilty when we are not. Swooping in to save the day when we see a student in need.

But even Superman has his Fortress of Solitude and Batimage1man has to spend time as Bruce Wayne.

As I begin my 2nd year of grad school I am already feeling spread thin. I’m sure that I am not alone. Between class, work, internship, research, job search, and some nebulous thing called a “social life,” it is very easy to forget about taking those moments to take care of yourself.

So let’s challenge the conventional thinking of the word superhero. Let us be superheroes by setting the example of taking a break from work before we are desperate for one. Let us be superheroes by encouraging others to take care of themselves when we see they may not be at their best. Let us be superheroes by striving to make every place you inhabit a great place for others.

Good luck this semester and know that you are a superhero even if you go home when you are supposed to, wait to answer that email in the morning, or tell someone no.

Until next time,


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!

“…And they shall beat their swords into plowshares”

Me in front of the bell tower door.

It is 6am and rather than sleeping the day away I have been up for an hour trying to figure out how to write about my time at N.C. State. I’m not sure how to wrap up four years of my life into a fun to read, easy to consume, 400 word for you all. My time in college has never been simple. I have had my worst and best times here. But something about this quote inscribed on the door of our Memorial Tower has been bugging me.

After doing some research (my degree hard at work) I found that it is a part of a longer Bible verse found in Isaiah 2:3-4. It is a verse about how the presence of God will bring about peace to the nations. The quote makes sense if you think about it, the bell tower was built as a memorial for students that passed away in World War I. Also, we have a strong history of being an agricultural college so turning from a time of war with weapons that create destruction into plowshares that are able to create and cultivate multitudes of food for people is right up our alley.

Cultivate. Create. Think and Do.

During my time at N.C. State, I have been empowered to go out and create an impact on the world. From my time working to register voters on campus, 100’s of us participating in service to the Raleigh area, and going to Belize and doing volunteer work I have always felt a charge to go out and do more.

As I wrap up my time here I am taking that charge. Those values instilled in me that can be described by the word, Wolfpack. I plan to take that with me to the University of North Carolina  (UNC) Asheville, during my NODA internship, and to UNC Greensboro for my graduate program and Guilford College for my assistantship.

I will miss the red bricks of NC State. I will miss the Howling Cow Ice Cream. I will miss the Wolfpack. But everything must come to an end. I have to make room for those behind me to take my place and grow into the people they will be for the rest of their lives. My formal education here may be ending but I will always learn something new looking at my experiences here for the last 4 years.

4 Days, 0 hours, 17 Minutes until commencement. It’s scary and big but I’m ready.

Thank you NC State, for being a home for me and introducing me to the woman I have the potential to become. As always, GO PACK!

Court of NC

How to Make Them Proud

Let’s set the scene. Toddler Amanda, at Christmas opening gifts. I’m in a onesie with my hair all over my head, Mom is holding the  large video camera (early 90’s style), and my Dad is helping me open gifts in a golden terry cloth bathrobe. “You are going to be a doctor! But first go to Spelman,” he says as I open my Big Bird Doctor kit complete with stethoscope and plastic band-aids. I’m more concerned about the gifts than what he is saying.

That was years ago and I only have home videos to prove it happened. Almost 2 decades later things have changed. We don’t live in that house anymore and my Dad’s voice is really only a distant memory. I am also, not at Spelman or any Historically Black College/University (HBCU).  A decision I have never regretted but always wondered, “What if?”

Call it fate or the stars aligning but 20 days before my graduation day I was in Atlanta for vacation and visited the beautiful campus of Spelman College. Walking around my friends and I saw banners with beautiful pictures of Spelmanite’s that said, “Welcome.”

“Welcome” is exactly how I felt. The picstitchadvertisements had young women who looked like me on them, making it easy for me to picture myself there. It felt like it could have been home. I wonder if that is how white students feel when opening N.C. State ads that usually feature students that look like them front and center.

Now don’t get me wrong, this post is not about my wanting to reverse the clock and go to the school that would have made my Daddy proud. N.C. State holds a dear place in my heart and I will always be a part of the Wolfpack.

Just because I don’t look like the first class of Freshmen at N.C. State doesn’t mean I have not changed my school for the better with my presence. Now being older (not that much) and wiser (barely) I know that I have made my Dad and Mom proud by accomplishing the goals that I have set for myself, not the ones they made for me.

photo (14)
N.C. State’s first freshmen class in 1889, in front of Holladay Hall. Me in front of Holladay Hall 2014

Spelman will always be a beautiful thought even though I’ve only visited twice but sometimes it takes seeing what may have been to make you appreciate what actually is.


Until next time,


Distance Education

Washington, D.C.. Atlanta. Belize. New Orleans.

I have been fortunate enough to take a service learning or diversity trip every year that I have been at NC State. I could write for days about the people I have met, fears I have overcome, and lessons I have learned while away on trips but I’ll try to be brief.

NOLA ’14 doing community service cred: BENJAMIN LEEDS

There is something about going away from campus with a group of people  that pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to bond over shared experiences. The people in my groups have made all of the struggles and bad times I have had at NC State worth it. Seeing the Lincoln Memorial or The World of Coca-Cola are great but making a human connections that I have changed me forever is what I’ll always cherish.

One criticism that is constantly brought up in regards to service learning and diversity trips is, “What now?” Even from participants it becomes, yes we sang songs and held hands but what does it matter after this moment.  To that I say the

Belize team at Mayan Ruins cred: 2013 ROGER WINSTEAD
Belize team at Mayan Ruins cred: 2013 ROGER WINSTEAD

important part is take something back and spread the word. Most of the time participants for trips are picked because they represent different groups on campus whether that is race, gender, sexuality, or

classification, or involvement level.

After leaving such experiences I feel as though I have a responsibility to keep the spirit of our time alive. Whether that is by changing my language, attitude, or advocating for others it must be done. What do you all think about Service Learning? While students learn are the communities they interacting with benefiting as well?

Until next time,