Love vs. Valentines Day

Today I would like to write about a very sensitive topic that effects everyone in every generation. This very sensitive topic that I will be discussing is VALENTINES DAY, or The “DAY” of “LOVE”.  Ever since I was a young child I noticed how much emphasis people would put on Valentine’s Day. School girls would base their whole relationship status on whether or not they received a gift from their special guy. Young men would come to school with the biggest teddy bears that they could find, in hopes of outshining other guy’s gifts. Valentine’s Day was always a competition surrounding who gave the best gift, and who received the best gift. In my eyes, Valentine’s Day was more about who could spend the most money on their significant other, rather than finding ways to express their love truly. Valentine’s Day has become a day to obsess over because it symbolizes the celebration of Love and affection. However the commemoration of Love should not be celebrated once a year, but all year around.

One of the major reasons that people are so obsessed with Valentine’s Day is that everyone is searching for love. Everyone thinks that once they find that perfect person to love them, all will be right with the world. Unfortunately this assumption isn’t true. Love comes with just as much complications as anything else in life, if not MORE. Don’t get me wrong, Love is definitely a beautiful part of life. However finding love and keeping love isn’t always accurately portrayed in the media. Love , real love that is, is a complex necessity of life, which is powerful enough to initiate a major catastrophe, but also end a prolonged war.  Love is also a very dangerous force that can be used for positive, as well as negative purposes.

This obsession with love dates back to the early ages of Greek Mythology. In Greek mythology there was a God named Eros who was known as “The God of Love”. Eros was said to be responsible for helping populate the world. He was also alleged to be the “United power of love who brought harmony to conflict”. Eros was depicted as either an extremely handsome man, or a child holding a bow and arrow. The God of Love’s outward appearance was eventually adapted to the modern day version of Cupid. Cupid is now known as the “Love Doctor” who goes around shooting people with arrows, so that they can fall in love. Be that as it may, I’ve noticed that Cupid’s legacy is more prominent in February, than any other month. Why is Love known to be celebrated on one special day, in one special month? Love is a universal phenomenon that has the power to control minds, and alter lives for the better (or worse). Love should be celebrated at all times, and not just on one specific day. The beauty of Love should not be confined, it should be expressed on a daily basis.

Please DO NOT misinterpret what I’m saying, Valentine’s Day is a very important day. Yes, your significant other, or love interest should buy you a gift, and make you feel special. However when you’re in a relationship, you should always feel special. The person that you are spending your time with, should make it their business to make you happy, and vice versa. I just feel that people put too much emphasis on Valentine’s Day, instead of expressing their love regularly. Valentine’s Day is a day, that two people enhance the way they express their love for one another. However if you are single on Valentine’s Day, you should not feel left out of the festivities. There are various places that have single mixers, and parties for people looking for love. If you’re too modest to go to a singles mixer, or you just want to be alone, be your own valentine! Practice self-love and spend the day pampering yourself. Go out, explore the earth, find a new restaurant, and don’t forget to order dessert. Get your nails and hair done! Treat yourself!!  No one knows what you like better than you!! Once your figure out how to love yourself, then you can truly love someone else.  In life the little things matter the most, and Love shouldn’t be based on fancy gifts, given on special holidays. Love should be given all the time, and shown through all that we do. Our actions, words, choices and decisions in life should all express the love we feel for one another, and most importantly how we love ourselves.

My Internal Fight at My Grandmother’s Funeral

Young girl dressed in black reading bible

A few weeks ago my grandmother closed her eyes one last time and left the physical confines of her body. After we lost her I began to wonder what I could possibly say at her funeral that would express my feelings for her. As I brainstormed things that I could possibly say about her, nothing seemed to flow well enough for me. I decided that I shouldn’t speak at her funeral, and I should stick to completing the tasks of creating her photo collage, writing her eulogy, and her obituary before the service. After completing these tasks to the best of my ability, I felt a deep sense of dissatisfaction. Although I had already done so much to contribute to the funeral service, I  felt like I hadn’t done enough.

The day of the funeral came and I felt so much anxiety about whether or not I should go up and say something to honor my grandmother. Internally my body was saying “Cherishe you are going up to read a scripture. You don’t need to speak. Let someone else talk.” However, when it was time for the words of tribute part of the program, only two people got up to speak on my grandmother’s behalf. I was in shock because the church where the service was being held was so full that people in the back had to stand through the service. So imagine my shock when the audience was asked to share their experiences and not many stood up to utter a word. I decided at that moment that if these people weren’t going to talk about my grandma, I was going to go up their and speak on her behalf. Before I knew it I walked up there, and said my piece about my grandma while staring into the faces of all those who she had helped, but who were reluctant to speak about her character.  I stood up there next to my grandmother’s casket and shared an intimate moment that we both experienced together during my childhood.  

The moment that I shared with the audience was “The Chicken Story” which was my favorite memory of my grandmother. This story dates back to when I was around four, and I decided that I wanted a chicken for a pet. I decided to go into my aunt’s fridge one day while my grandmother was babysitting me and take out an egg. I took the egg and placed it in a box so that it could warm up and my egg would hatch into a baby chicken. My grandma watched me do this and allowed my imagination to run wild, instead of scolding me about playing with food. The next day my grandmother told me that the egg that I tried so diligently to warm up so that it could hatch was discovered by my aunt. Apparently my aunt had picked up the box that I was using to warm my egg, and the egg fell out and splattered on the floor. When my grandma told me this story we laughed so hard, and afterwards she didn’t scold me. She encouraged my imagination and pushed me to keep dreaming.

This moment was so special to me because it allowed me to try, fail, and then learn from my mistake. I thought that this story was so appropriate and after I shared it , I felt a weight come off my chest. In that moment that I decided to speak on my grandmother’s behalf I had done my last task to honor my grandmother’s legacy. Although I doubted my ability to speak about her character in a way that others would understand, I found a way out of no way.

On that day I learned what I was capable of when I put my mind to it, and I would like to say to other people that we are much more than we think we are. We often doubt our ability to be great, and what we have to learn is that we are so much more , and we are capable of so much more. My advice to anyone who has been in a position or is currently going through an internal fight with themselves is, don’t doubt yourself.  Have confidence in your ability to succeed at all that you put your mind to, and then go out and live your best life! If I let fear and uncertainty stop me, I would have never been able to honor my grandmother. Don’t let an amazing opportunity pass you by because you are fighting yourself. Relax, breathe, and allow yourself be exactly who you are and show your greatness to the world.

The Semester is Almost Over!

Hello students, faculty, graduates, undergraduates, and all others!! I have amazing news, the fall semester is finally coming to an end, and we have all made it through. I must say that this semester was extremely trying in my opinion, and I am more than ecstatic to kick my heels up and rest. However, I’ve noticed that although the semester is winding down, I can’t shake the feeling that I have assignments to hand in. At times when I decide to take a little break, I find myself feeling guilty that I’m not doing work. I also noticed that it’s a bit difficult for me to sleep late, because I still have anxiety about completing assignments that are already for the most part done. I still wake up at 6:00 am, even on the weekends, because in the back of my mind, I have to be ready for class. After I have awoken, and I realize that I don’t have to go to school on the weekend, a feeling of anxiety comes over me because I’m not being productive. I’m not hustling to review notes for different classes, complete lab reports, and study for exams. My mind, body, and soul have adapted to constantly working that now I am unable to adjust to having down time!

My advice to anyone who is experiencing the same difficulties as me is to GIVE IT TIME! Throughout the year we neglect all of our needs in order to finish off every semester with passing grades. We barely get eight hours of sleep because we are either up studying or partying before class the next day. Students rarely eat a well-balanced meal throughout the semester, because we look for the cheapest meal, so that we can preserve our money. Students rarely get enough exercise, asides from running up and down the stairs from classes, which also can play a large role in not getting enough rest. Students deprive themselves of all the basic necessities that will ensure a happy and healthy semester. Once the semester ends we are all exhausted, but we find it difficult to unwind immediately.

I urge students to take advantage of this upcoming time of relaxation. I know everyone has anxiety, while waiting for their final grades. Just take a minute for yourself and BREATHE! I’m sure that everyone knows where they stand academically, based on exams taken throughout the semester, as well as how comfortable they felt on their finals. The semester is almost over, and stressing over finals will not improve your grades!!! Stress is never helpful, only harmful.

During winter break, take time for yourself to just relax! Find activities that meet your needs, whether these activities are exhilarating or peaceful. Join a yoga class to become one with your body, or join a kickboxing class to relieve stress. Find whatever activities tickle your fancy during break and DO THEM!! Make the most of it. Hit the reset button! This whole semester has been based on studying hard and getting good grades. You know what they say “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. DON’T be DULL!! Go out there and experience the world! Make amazing memories, and enjoy your winter break. YOU DESERVE IT!!

Trying Something New: Brooklyn Escape Room

One day as I was walking home from school, I found myself on Pacific Street and a building caught my eye. The bright LED lights that were coming from the scaffold in front of the building were bold and brazing. This tiny building completely enraptured my mind to the point that I made a complete stop to glance inside. When I peered inside I noticed that there was a young lady sitting at a table, concentrating intensely on the work in front of her. I also noticed that the décor within this tiny building was simple yet sophisticated. I said to myself I must research this establishment, and find out what occurs in this building. That same night I looked up The Brooklyn Escape Room on google and to my surprise, I found out that this tiny building actually held an escape the room adventure! I decided that night that I would return, and take a chance at seeing how great my analytical skills, actually were. A few months ago I decided to take that chance and see how fast I could escape the room.

My cousin and I caught the train to Atlantic Avenue and walked two or three blocks to Pacific Street between 4th and 5th avenue. Although it was sweltering hot outside, the walk was short because I was so excited about this new life changing experience! As we entered the establishment we were greeted warmly by our host Samuel Walker, and after paying, we signed waivers for our own protection. After everything was squared away, we were led down a corridor with lockers. We were told to put all of our belongings into the locker, including our cellphones!! After we locked up our stuff, we were briefed on all the rules of the game. We were then blindfolded, separated and led into a dark room. Then, we were locked in separate cells, and our host left the room. I was so uneasy, and uncomfortable that I was locked up, that I began to panic a bit. Eventually after talking to my cousin through the cell, I calmed down and we began to work together to escape the room. We were given exactly an hour to find all the necessary clues to escape each room. Did I mention that we had to escape several rooms??!!

After we escaped our cells, we entered another room that was intricately designed. The décor was thoroughly thought out to the point that I felt like I was really in a dungeon. There were torture devices, wooden floors that squeaked, candle lit walls, knives, gates that were dripping blood and various trap doors, which will keep you on your toes. We were allowed a limited amount of clues.They were cryptic, yet extremely helpful. Each room that we entered tested us physically, as well as mentally. There were also hidden surprises at every turn that made us pay attention to every single detail. Each room had hidden clues, and each room was connected which made escaping the room difficult.
The most difficult room that we encountered was at the end of a dimly lit corridor. There was a contraption made of levers that required a specific sequence of numbers, in order to open the door into the final room. It took my cousin and I, at least 20 minutes just to get through this one specific door. With help from our host we were able to get through this door, and enter into the final room. Our host told us that we had six minutes on the clock, and we went into commando mode. We started running around the room trying to find the hidden clues to open the final door. When we finally found the key, the treasure we found inside left us puzzled. What were we supposed to do with the map that was provided to us ? We eventually figured out how to make the best of what we were given. There were clues in the room that led us to a trap door. After completing the task within the trap door, a key fell to the floor, as our host yelled out we had one minute remaining. I grabbed the key, tossed it to my cousin and he raced to the door. After pushing the key into the keyhole, MY COUSIN OPENED THE DOOR AND WE ESCAPED THE ROOM!!!!! We were so excited to finally have escaped the room, that we greeted our host with open arms.

I must say that this was an amazing experience, and I am so glad that I took the chance to try out something new. This escape the room was so trivial, yet so fun that I found myself wishing that I could do it again. In the beginning I was so scared, that I let my fear hinder me from figuring out the puzzle as soon as the clock started. The dark hallways, scary sounds, and difficult puzzles gave me a real run for my money. However, when we finally escaped the room, I felt accomplished, as well as ecstatic. The Brooklyn Escape Room is definitely more than it appears to be on the outside looking in. I would recommend this escape the room to anyone who is looking to have a fun time, while working all parts of their brain. I give this escape the room 5 out of 5 stars. The experience was amazing, and so was the service we received from our host. I would definitely return to this escape the room again!! Have you ever been? What did you enjoy about it?

Crying at the 2017 HASTAC Conference

A few months ago I was offered an all-expense paid trip to Orlando Florida to speak on a panel at the 2017 HASTAC Conference. When I found out that I was chosen, I was in shock that The Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring Program really chose me “Cherishe A Cumma” an undergraduate, to attend such a prestigious event. For those of you who many not be familiar with the Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring program, click the link here for more information on the program. The Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring program is a community of CUNY students from vast disciplines, who come together and build meaningful relationships with one another. The current mentors and mentees in this program and myself, dedicate our time to focusing on elements such as student centered pedagogy, peer mentoring, and leadership development.

On Thursday November 2nd, I traveled with members of The Futures Initiative Team such as Cathy Davidson, Lauren Melendez, Frances Tran and Mike Rifino to The University of Central Florida to present at The HASTAC Conference. While at the Conference, my panel members and I participated in a poster presentation on “’New Majority’ Student Success: Fostering Connection, Renewal and Leadership Through Peer Mentoring” as well as a panel discussion on “The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities”. On the day of our presentation I was in a very strange mental state, and I could not figure out what was happening to me emotionally. However, the panel discussion commenced and when it was my turn to speak about my experience in The Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring program I lost complete control of my tear ducts. My heart was so touched that I was afforded the opportunity to speak at an event of this caliber, that I could no longer contain my emotions. My tears began to pour out of me as I spoke, but I was determined to get my point across, and that is exactly what I did.

After the panel discussion was over I made my way towards the door to get some fresh air. However, I was stopped by a few audience members who had heard my speech, and wanted to commend me for telling my truth. I was, for a lack of a better words, confused. I thought to myself: How could these people understand me through my blubbering? What I didn’t realize was that my display of vulnerability allowed people to understand me, and also relate and share their stories with me about their own struggles within academia.

I have decided to share this important moment in my life with you, with hopes that you can understand that sometimes being emotional doesn’t mean you are weak. I chose to take down the facade, and show the audience members who I was and how I really felt about The Futures Initiative Peer Mentoring program. This program has afforded me the opportunities to become an undergraduate editor of the book “Structuring Equality: A Handbook for Student-Centered Learning” , then a student author in the upcoming Diversity & Democracy issue focusing on Building Institutional Capacity for Student Success. Even after giving me so much, they assisted me with admission to The CUNY Pipeline Program at The Graduate Center and then paid for me to attend the HASTAC Conference. Can you see that my tears were not a moment of weakness on my part, but a feeling of overwhelming gratitude? Had I not applied for The Futures Initiative Program, I would not have gained the opportunities I listed above, but I also may not have been qualified to write for this blog in the first place. This program has given me so much, and in that moment when I was asked to reflect on my experience,that abundance of amazing opportunities the program has afforded me, all came to me at once .

As a student from a CUNY campus, it was overwhelming to visit another university to talk in an academic space about how I feel. To be heard by people from prestigious universities who were interested in what I had to say was a game changer for me, and it made think back to the day I received the email to apply for The Futures Initiative Program from my professor Anwar Uhuru. Had I ignored his instructions to apply for this program, I would not be in the position I am in today. My point in saying all of this is to tell you, that being open emotionally allows other to see you and see pieces of themselves in you. When that occurs, you form relationships with people who you would have never imagined could happen. However in order for you to be put in a position where you can cry on a panel, you must first take the chance and apply for the program.
As Syelle Graves once said to me “Dont ignore your emails, read them on your desktop computer”. By reading your email , and applying for programs you can put yourself in the position to not only have your voice heard, but also find the right listeners. My advice to all CUNY students is to change your destiny, read your emails, apply for programs, and most of all don’t be afraid to show who you are on the inside.
Now that I have shared my experiences with you, tell me if you have ever been in a position where you have been emotional at an inopportune moment? If not, Have you ever applied to a program that changed you life for the better? Lastly, have you ever almost missed out on an opportunity because you ignored an email?

Summer School Blues

A few years ago I had the pleasure of signing up for a 5 week summer math course. In my mind I thought “how difficult could it be to have one class every day, for 2 and a half hours, for about a month?” In the past I have taken 6 classes, including a math course, and I passed every single class. However, I was not aware of how different a fall semester math course compared to a summer math course could be. Well, I must say I was in for a rude awakening when I started my summer class this past June. Not only was I not prepared for the chilling temperatures in the classroom, but I also was not prepared for the fast pace that we would be learning different concepts.

When I entered the classroom it was freezing cold, which for me is a distraction because cold weather makes me tired. After I sat down and tried to get comfortable, my professor would come in and immediately start with the lecture. The material that we were learning was complex, and at times I found myself lost. I constantly asked my professor questions, and I even went up to her desk a few times for clarity. My efforts to understand were to no avail because I just was not grasping the concepts! As time progressed, I tried to teach myself the material that I didn’t understand. I also went to the learning center and sat with the tutor. The end of the first week of class came and we were to take our first test and I knew that I was not prepared. Although I spent 4-5 hours after class studying and trying to complete homework, I WAS NOT GETTING IT!! I asked other students in my class, and they explained that they were also having difficulties with the material we were covering in class. After the first two weeks, several people dropped the class because they were not satisfied with their grades on the first, and second exam. However I decided I would not give up on myself, I would finish the class.

As the semester started to wind down I realized that taking a math class in a summer session is NOT A GOOD IDEA. (Well not for me anyway!) There just is not enough time to explain each topic in detail!! Even though I spent hours studying, I still found it difficult to remember the topics that I was taught previously throughout the week. Mathematics is a complex subject which requires a lot of time and devotion. I felt that I did not have an adequate amount of time to break down each topic and internalize it. Since I was not able to get a firm grasp on each topic, I was not able to perform to the best of my ability on each exam. I found myself in a very unpleasant state, and I cannot learn when I am not happy! I had to pull myself together and put as much effort as possible into my school work so that I could see improvement in my work. It took me sometime, but I developed a method that allowed me to slowly increase my grades in this course.

My advice to anyone considering taking a summer Mathematics class is to think twice. If you do not like math,the summer definitely is not the right time to take a math course! You may have difficulty absorbing the information if your mind is not open to learning math. There is not enough time in the semester for you to gradually teach yourself the information, and try to understand it, which was my experience. T o really succeed you have to be open to the knowledge and be able to work in a fast paced environment.

As a student you also have to realize, that not all professors will be willing, or have the time to,sit with you, after a 2 and a half hour class to explain to you topics you missed. Another thing to remember is that you will be exhausted every day after class, and you’ll have a heavy workload. If you decide to take up a summer class just be ready for intense class hours and intense study sessions. There may be nights where you do not sleep at all and in order to succeed in a mathematics course you need your rest. You must try and find a balance doing things like taking naps between study sessions, eating well, keeping a positive mindset and getting as much help as possible.

A mathematics course can be difficult in a regular 15 week course and it’s even more difficult in a five week course. If you decide to take this route be prepared to work hard, and devote a significant portion of your time to studying. Hanging out with friends, and having time to relax is out of the question. If you want exceptional grades, you must sacrifice a lot of your time and put in maximum effort into every topic that is covered in class. If you want to enjoy your summer, I would encourage you to Think Twice before taking a Summer Math Course. Who knows, there is always a possibility that you may be a math wiz, and could knock out three math courses in the summer session. If you have ever taken a summer class , leave me a few comments and let me know how the experience was for you.

Surviving The Semester

During my freshman year in college I over loaded myself with classes. In the process I prevented myself from getting the most out of my coursework. I didn’t have any breaks in my schedule, and I attended school every day of the week. All of my classes required my undivided attention, as well as serious study time. My first semester in college was spent in the City Tech library doing assignments, and neglecting my friends and family. At times when I felt extremely stressed out and exhausted, I stuffed my face with brownies from Panera Bread. Eating these sweets treats provided a moment of bliss, as well as a sugar rush that would help me complete my work even when I felt horrible. At the end of the semester, my teachers awarded me one A, three B’s, and one depressing D. Unfortunately for me, that one D plagued me for the rest of my college career, and lowered my grade point average in the process. It took me at least 3 semesters, as well as many hours of studying, to get my GPA back to where I wanted it to be. My first semester in college was a learning experience for me, where I figured out how to organize my classes in a way that would be beneficial to me . I also learned how to avoid putting myself into situations that would result in me getting unsatisfactory grades.

I realized and acknowledged the mistakes that I made during my first semester and I was determined not to make them again. While avoiding bad decisions, I found ways to improve the likelihood of me getting an A in each class. Below, I will share some of the tactics that helped me become a more productive student. Some of these tactics are:

1. Take breaks, and give yourself down time.

2. Sit as close to your professor as possible so that you don’t miss anything important .

3. Talk to your professor after class, and visit their office hours.

4. Utilize the tutors in the Learning Center.

5. Email your professors with any concerns you may have.

6. Turn off your phone while reviewing notes/ studying.

7. After class, review your notes so that the information is fresh in your brain.

8. Utilize online tutoring, or YouTube videos.

9. Visit sites like Khan Academy and Wolfram Alpha that specialize in breaking down difficult concepts.

10. While studying, use colored pens to make your notes more appealing to the eye.

11. Eat junk in moderation, but make sure you eat foods that will give you fuel.

12. Go out with your friends and enjoy yourself!! Give yourself time to enjoy life, college is also about enjoying newfound freedom.

13. Stop stressing yourself! Stress promotes more stress. Take a deep breath, relax, and then approach any difficulties you are having in school.

College is the last step in your journey until you become a hard-working adult. Look at this time in your life as your last opportunity, to have the power to choose how you would like to schedule your time. You can organize your own schedule, and decide on which classes you find interesting. In college everything is about what you want. After college, life is about making enough money to support yourself and your family, keep a roof over your head, and food in your mouth. After college real life sinks in, and you have to be able to get a job and be serious so that you can live comfortably. So why not take these last few years in stride, and make the most out of them? Life is about experiencing new things with new people. Our college years can be productive, as well as extremely pleasurable. If we as college students work as hard as we play, we can be successful and still have an amazing social life.

College doesn’t come with a handbook on how to do well, and get good grades, but good grades are attainable. In order to get through the semester successfully, students should develop a game plan so that they can get the best grades during the semester. Students must realize that getting good grades is not only achieved by working hard, and studying until we are exhausted and overwhelmed. My advice to college students is: have fun while learning. Learn how to make absorbing knowledge enjoyable, and believe me you will notice an improvement in your grades. Read through the tips I provided above, try them out and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Apply the tips that work for you to your daily college routine, be consistent, and you will see results. Your college experience is in your hands, all you have to do is figure out how to make it work for you so that you can survive the semester!

Life After Instagram

Social networks in my opinion are now one of the most popular, and useful networking tools in 2016. However like everything in life, social networks come with negative and positive qualities. As a third year college student, I have participated in internet socializing for almost 10 years. 10 years is a lot of time wasted, keeping up with other people’s lives, new fashions trends, and other things that aren’t necessarily beneficial to my life. So, towards the end of my second year of college I decided that I needed to make a drastic change in my life. I realized that the amount of time, and effort that I was putting into social networks was detrimental to my well–being for various reasons. I decided to give up all my social networks once and for all, with hopes of truly embracing the beautiful aspects of life. I realized that once I deactivated all of my accounts there was NO TURNING BACK!! I pulled myself together, mustered up some courage, and hit the deactivate button on every single social network account that I had ever started. Believe it or not, after I deleted all of my accounts I felt free and I was ready to start my new life, my real life without social networks.

After deleting all of my social networks, I waited a few days before telling any of my “friends” or family. I wanted to see who would notice that I had actually removed myself from the limelight permanently. I thought that everyone would immediately realize my absence, and ask me why I decided to stop sharing my life with the world. In all actuality, no one really realized I was gone until days, weeks, and almost months later. I was surprised to see how my communication with my “friends” decreased after I no longer had a social network. I realized that a lot of my conversations were based on new trends, and topics that were addressed only on social networks. Without new memes or drama to reference back to, I noticed that my communication with other people had decreased. I began to realize how large of a role social networks played in my peers lives. By deleting all of my social networks, I became an outsider, confined to experiencing life for what it really was, REAL!

During the years of my life that I was heavily influenced by social networks, there were so many aspects of life that I missed out on. My life was passing me by, and I was so concerned with other people, and how they were living their lives. At times I found myself comparing my success to other people’s lives that I saw online. I became so hooked, that I would wake up in the morning, and immediately check my phone! One day I decided to log out of my account for a day, just to see how different life would be. At first, I was a little antsy because I wanted to constantly check what was going on with my friends. As the day progressed I relaxed, and I realized that my mind was actually at peace. I wasn’t worried about who unfriended me, or certain people’s motives for following me. I wasn’t arguing with people who left nasty comments under my pictures. I also wasn’t engaging in conversations with people, who I may not have ever met in real life. It was at that moment, I knew that social networks had to be removed from my life for good!!!

In the beginning it was difficult to learn how to maneuver without constantly checking my phone for likes, compliments, cute emojis, etc. As time progressed, I learned a lot more about myself, and the world that I lived in when my head wasn’t constantly buried in my phone. I didn’t feel required to find the correct lighting, to take the perfect selfie, or to get an obscene amount of likes from people who didn’t really matter to me anyway. I wasn’t constantly stopping throughout my outings to take pictures in cool areas, just to post them online for other people’s enjoyment. After deleting my social networks, I could actually go to a restaurant and enjoy food without having to get the perfect snapshot. The person in front of me was actually able to have my undivided attention, without me rudely glancing down at my phone. I was re-experiencing the world, this time with a brand new outlook.

After deleting my social networks, I came to the conclusion that I had been revealing my life to outsiders. I was unknowingly putting myself at risk or worse, in DANGER! These people who were my internet friends could be stalkers, murderers, abusers,who knows?!. I allowed random people to befriend me, under the false pretense that they just wanted to like my pictures. Little did I know that I would encounter some extremely irrational people. I understand that using the internet is addicting because it fills a void within people’s lives. Some people want attention, some people want to be in other people’s business, some people want to network, and some people are searching for love. However, social networks can be very dangerous, and once you post something on the internet, it’s out into the world forever, it only takes one screenshot. I can honestly say from experience that in life, the less you expose about yourself, the better your life will become.
October 29, 2017 makes 2 years and 9 months since I’ve deleted all of my social networks. I have noticed drastic changes in various areas of my life. My grades in school have improved because I can devote more of my time to my studies. I’ve also been able to spend quality time with my loved ones, and actually enjoy the moments we share together. After I deleted my Instagram, so many more opportunities blossomed for me. I also was blessed to find a beautiful person to experience my internet free life with. Without social networks in my life, I learned how to appreciate how amazing life could actually be. Personally I feel that removing myself from social networks was one of the best decisions I ever made. I am now able to embrace reality, as well as the essential parts of life. I challenge all of the people that read this blog to take a break from social media, and focus on your real life. Then after a few days come back to my blog post and let me know how differently you see the world after taking a break from social media.

Don’t Base Your Academic Career On Rate My Professor

I am currently a college student who has been attending New York City College of Technology for three years now. Like any other student I make sure that I take the necessary steps so that I can have an enriching, enlightening, and successful semester. Towards the end of each semester, I make sure that I register for my classes as soon as possible, so that I can get amazing professors next term. In order to get great professors for the following term, I usually consult Rate My Professor because it’s extremely helpful. For those of you who don’t know about Rate My Professor, I’ll try to explain the content of the website. Rate My Professor is a website that does exactly what it says it does, it provides students a space to vent or provide success stories about their professors. The website is broken down into various categories such as schools, departments, and the individual names of each professor. You can type in just about any professor’s last name, and he or she will have at least one review from a past, or present student. In my opinion Rate My Professor has always been an amazing and accurate resource until this past year, when I registered for a few professors that I wasn’t compatible with.

Last semester I registered for a few classes based on the Rate My Professor ratings that I had found online. In doing so, I created a really hectic schedule for myself, which made my life difficult. Two days out of the week, I had early classes, and the other two days I was getting out of class after sun down. During this semester, I was also working, so it was very difficult to fit my work hours, into my set class schedule. However, I did find a way to make my class and work schedule coincide. At first my semester was going well, I was on top of my work, and I understood my professor’s lectures in their entirety. As time progressed, the connection between my professor and I began to decrease. I was so shocked that I was having difficulties with my professor, because I picked the professor that had 4.0 out of 5.0 rating on the website, as well as a CHILLI PEPPER, which indicates how hot the professor is!! My initial thought was that I was the reason that I was no longer grasping the information, which my professor was lecturing. I tried to change my seat, with hopes that I would catch on to the work that I wasn’t understanding. I also went to my professor’s office hours and sat down with them, and unfortunately that didn’t work either. Then one day it finally dawned on me, that I may be having difficulty with my professor because I put my whole semester in the hands of the opinion of another student!! Gasp!!

I had unknowingly based my whole college semester on what three students thought about a professor. In doing so, I paid for a class out of pocket (with no financial aid), that I thought I would do well in, just because another student said that they did well, in that particular class. I was so upset with myself because I had a crazy schedule, since a few students said that my current professor was amazing, and it turned out that this amazing professor, wasn’t so amazing to me. Don’t get me wrong, about 80 percent of the time Rate My Professor is accurate, because students hold no punches, and tell it like it is. However I do feel that students shouldn’t rely so heavily on Rate My Professor like I did.
In reality what works for one student, may not work for another. I am living proof that sometimes a student’s interpretation, or Rate My Professor reviews can make or break their semester. My advice would be to look your professor up on google beforehand, go to their office hours, and ask some of your favorite professors about other professors, who have the same mannerisms and teaching styles. DO NOT rely solely on one source, and possibly mess up your college careers by failing a class, because you aren’t compatible with a teacher, who received great reviews online. Do your own research and find out what professor is best for you, and make your college schedule convenient for you. Make your own choices so that you can have a prosperous college career.

Writing Made Easy

Essay writing is a difficult task that everyone is faced with at one point or another. Whether a person is assigned to write a paper for school, or a presentation at work, even an email; everyone has to do some form of writing. In order for a person to become an efficient writer, they have to follow a few simple steps. These steps, if followed correctly, can not only improve a person’s writing dramatically, but also increase an individual’s confidence while trying to express themselves verbally. Throughout my childhood I was able to express myself verbally, but it was difficult for me to get my thoughts together to write an adequate paper. As time progressed, I found a method for writing papers that worked for me. I decided that I would like to share some of the steps I used, and still use to write a successful paper in hopes that it will be helpful to you as well.

Step 1. Listen!! When your professor gives you an assignment, don’t automatically write it down verbatim. Listen to how your professor explains the assignment. Pay attention to what the professor says he or she wants in the essay. Make sure that you know how long the paper needs to be; the specific font, font size, margins, and of course the outline. After finding out the specific layout of the paper, continue to listen to exactly what the subject matter of the paper has to be. The professor will give you direct instructions on what the topic of your paper should be, so the student must listen intently. As a college student, you should also listen to your professor during their lectures. After listening, you can possibly incorporate some of the information your professor gives you into your paper. Professors love when you creatively show them that you were listening to them speak during class.

Step 2. Take Notes!! After your professor has finished speaking, they will usually pause and ask if anyone has questions. Even if your professor doesn’t ask if you have questions, you should immediately clarify any issues you have with assignment. If something is unclear about the task, ask your professor to repeat the assignment. DO NOT be afraid to speak up!! Trust me there are students who have the same questions as you. As I’m sure you’ve heard before “There is no such thing as a stupid question”. Being afraid to speak up, and gain clarity in life will only hinder your success. Ask as many questions as you deem fit until you completely understand the task. As your professor reiterates exactly what they want in your paper, take notes in your own words. When it’s time to reread your notes, it will be easier to understand your own words, than the words of your professor. After politely interrogating your professor so that you write the best paper you can, then you can move on to the next step.

Step 3. Plan Ahead!! DO NOT wait until the last minute to start your paper! Give yourself ample time to do what’s necessary, in order to get a good grade. Procrastination can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, which college students cannot afford. Start brainstorming ideas for your paper the same day you get it. Write your ideas down on a notepad, and organize them in a way that will be beneficial to you. After writing down your ideas, think about how you are going to set up your essay. First, determine what your thesis should be. Next, try to figure out a way to incorporate your ideas into paragraphs that support your thesis. Third, map out your essay from introduction to body paragraphs, and then finally the conclusion. After completing the outline of your essay you can move on to the next step.

Step 4. Get Some Rest!! Relax! It is essential for human beings to get rest in order for us to have energy. Without energy, we will not be able to devote our undivided attention to our school work. I know that it’s difficult to sleep as college students because our minds are always racing. However we have to make an effort to relax our mind as well as our bodies. Without sleep, we will not be able to function at our highest capacity.

Step 5. Eat food that will give you energy!! In order to sit down at a computer for hours at a time, you have to eat food that will give you energy. Some food that will give you energy are: Nuts, Fish, Vegetables, Fruits, Water, Granola Bars, Oatmeal and Yogurt. Of course as college students we are prone to eating junk food, fast food, caffeine and other foods that will eventually make us crash. Beware of the unhealthy food before, and or while writing a paper. Eat food that will not only increase your energy, but will also help stimulate your brain.

Step 6. Research!! Research. Research. Research. In order for a person to write an amazing paper, they have to research their topic. A student has to put the time and effort into finding out accurate information about their topic. Websites like Wikipedia aren’t always deemed as acceptable by professors, so be cautious. After gathering information from credible websites, make sure that you start your bibliography. The best time to complete your bibliography is while you’re gathering your research. By completing our bibliography while researching, we are ensuring that we cite every single website that we gather information from. After researching our topic we can move on to our last step.

Step 7. Start writing your paper!! After following all of the steps above you are now ready to type up your paper. First things first, get your thoughts together, and pull out your outline. Organize your research into different sections depending on what paragraph the research will be inserted into. After organizing your information, get ready to start typing your paper. First, put your heading on the top of the paper, followed by the title of your essay. Your first paragraph should be an introduction to your essay. This paragraph should state what your essay is about, as well as defining your thesis statement. Your body paragraphs should be short, sweet and to the point. Throughout the body paragraphs, you should include a topic sentence, followed by supporting facts. Each paragraph should be laced with details, and facts that relate directly to your topic. Make sure that the information you put in your essay relates back to your thesis statement. After completing your body paragraphs, move on to your conclusion. Your conclusion should always innovatively restate what your introduction says. After you restate what your introduction says, you can move on to adding your finals thoughts and opinions.

Step 8. Proofread!! Grammar plays a large role in how a professor grades their students. In order for an essay to be in tip top shape, a student must continuously review their work. In reviewing their work, students will find various errors that they can fix. After a student proof reads their work, it’s a good idea to have another person proofread their essay. Another person may be able to pick up on errors that a student can’t, after they finish typing up their essay. Once your essay is free of errors, save it once more, print it, and hand it in.
Now that I have shared my eight steps to a successful essay, I hope that I have helped you become a better writer. These ten steps are my specific procedure for writing an essay. It’s not necessary to incorporate all of these steps into your essay writing process. However, maybe you can adapt these steps to your life in a way that’s beneficial to you, in some way or another. Keep in mind that the best way to prosper in your educational career is to listen, work hard, plan ahead and make sure you complete any task to the best of your ability.