To the Graduates, from a Graduate

First of all, I’d like to say a big congratulation on earning your degree! That’s a feat that not everyone has accomplished. You’ve put time and effort into bettering yourself. That is something to be proud of.

Now, you’ve got all of these dreams and aspirations that you can move forward to achieving. You’ve probably heard the job market is awful, that it’s going to be hard to get a job, that you’re still going to have to put in even more blood, sweat and tears. That can be depressing after you’ve just worked your butt off to get a piece of paper that basically says “hey, I’m smart! I’ve finished learning about this topic and I’m excellent in it now so you should hire me!”

I graduated college just a year ago with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. I thought that I would be able to go on an interview and have my dream job within a month.

But that didn’t happen- it still hasn’t happened.

In the last year I’ve gone from excited, fresh-eyed and ready for the world, to depressed, jobless, and gaining weight, to having a job that pays a decent $14 an hour. I’m still not where I want to be, but that’s okay. I’m somewhere. And that’s more than many people can say. I still live with my parents because I want to be completely comfortable when I move out, but I’m slowly building a good amount in my savings account and learning to budget my money.

Now, our lives may be totally different. You may have picked a major that has a huge need for employees or that isn’t competitive. Maybe you’ll interview like a champ and you had a vast amount of internships and awesome people who will recommend you. Maybe you built a great network of people who will help you get into the job market. So maybe you’ll get an amazing paying job right out of college. That’s amazing and I hope you continue to have spectacular success!

But a lot of us don’t. I have plenty of friends who are making the same or around the same amount of money as I am making and it is not because we did not apply ourselves in college. Some of us don’t want anything to do with or just aren’t working in the field that we went to college for.

I’m just here to say that it’s going to be okay. I want everyone to remember to breathe. We’re still young. We have to keep working hard and striving to achieve, just as we did in college. Whether you go to grad school or not, do your best. Keep thinking of new things to do. Keep searching for a job.

Most importantly, have fun.

Please, please have fun. People love to say that they’ll enjoy life later when they have a high-paying salary, but in my opinion we should never let our lives pass us by. Life is too short. I don’t want to look back and say “I should’ve spent more time with my friends when I was in my twenties.”

To all those graduates: Congratulations. Don’t stress. You’ve got this. You just have to keep trying, even a year later.

-Jocelyn H.

 

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Dating in the Summer (forget cuffing season)

If you haven’t heard the term “cuffing season” by now, I honestly don’t know where you’ve been since like 2011. Cuffing season is that time when fall starts until the cold, wintry months end where you spend time with that one special person who you choose to keep you warm during the snowy season.

Then you two inevitably separate for one reason or another, intent on being young and wild and free all summer with whoever you want.

I think that’s pretty dumb. Sure, I understand where they’re coming from…who doesn’t want to be able to spend time with someone special drinking hot cocoa and watching movies inside of the house?

But those people are missing out on a grand opportunity by having a special person to make memories with during the summer. There’s so much to do during the summer that in my opinion a summer romance is better because you can make memories that aren’t as mundane as simply sitting in the house.

During the summer, the weather is warm so you have the opportunity to be outside during the day and even at night. You two can take a walk, get some ice cream or simply enjoy the weather. You can go to a waterpark and/or amusement park. Go to the beach, walk on the boardwalk and win each other a million stuffed bears or just one huge bear.

The possibilities are endless.

Plus, when summer is over, then you’ll have someone you actually know to cuddle with on those cold winter nights. The experience is sure to be more enjoyable once you’ve built a solid foundation with that person during the summer.

So forget using summer as an excuse to be with as many women or men as you want and really get to know that person who will be your cuddle-buddy for cuffing season.

Studying Tips from a Genius…

Okay, not really. But still.

It’s that time of year again. That time of the year where everything you’ve learned in the semester but unceremoniously tossed to the back of your mind needs to come back to the forefront. It’s stressful, trust me I know, but I somehow always managed to get good grades on my finals in both high school and college. So here’s some of the things that I did to make my life a bit less stressful during the dreaded Finals Week.

  • DON’T CRAM: I know you’ve probably heard this from your various teachers before and rolled your eyes, still choosing to study anyways the night before. But trust me when I say studying for your final beforehand and then using the night before as a review day works so much better for retaining information and feeling less stressed. You won’t even have to stay up the majority of the night to do it, which would result in you being tired for the test and therefore missing an answer that you most likely could have gotten correct.
  • Predict the Questions: Since a final is usually a review of everything that you’ve learned that semester and not new information that you’re being tested on, it is a very good strategy to study old tests or study guides (hope you saved them! If you didn’t, be sure to next year in neat, organized folders). If you have the course syllabus still laying around somewhere, it’s good to review the course objectives or your old homework assignments too. Don’t forget to find the correct answers to the questions you got wrong the first time around!
  • Create mnemonic devices: Be creative! Ever heard of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally/Parantheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Addition, Subtract? Yeah. That definitely stuck in your head didn’t it? Create acronyms, rhymes, etc to help you remember things easier!
  • Write/Draw It: Writing the information down over and over or drawing a picture of it always seems to burn information in my brain better!
  • Reward Yourself: When you’re finished studying or even when you’re taking a break, reward yourself! Scroll through your social media, go have a chat with a friend, eat a tasty sweet treat! It’s important to keep your stress levels down and in my opinion, a reward at the end of the race is a great way to do that.

 Happy studying and good luck! Be sure to comment if you have another good studying tip! -Jocelyn

Things to do Mother’s Day 2016

Let’s face it- these holidays can get repetitive. Fast. You always send her a fruit basket, a card of flowers on Mother’s Day and you’re looking for something new and fresh to do. Here’s a couple of ideas that will hopefully solve that problem!

  • Spend TIME together: If you don’t live with your mother, why not drive down there and visit her? Spend the entire day together. You could go out to eat or cook her a nice lunch or dinner at home, see a movie at the house or go to the theatre, take a walk around the park or spend time in the backyard. If you do live with your mother, this still applies because even though you share the same house, do you ever really just spend the day together?
  • Help her get away: Whether this includes the man in her life or if you’re going with her, get her in a nice hotel room/resort room! Sometimes just a night in a nice hot Jacuzzi with room-service and a change of scenery does wonders to rejuvenate our hard-working moms!
  • Go Shopping/Exploring: Oh, come on. Who doesn’t like a bit of shopping? Take her somewhere she has never been or somewhere she hasn’t been in a long time. That place could be a mall, a boardwalk by the beach, etc! Get creative and think about the things that your mother likes.
  • Paint: Here’s a good creative project! Dip your feet and hands in paint (along with any other family members that wants in) and place them on a large enough construction paper to fit everyone in and write your names on it! Let it dry and there you go! A cute, sentimental gift that your mom is sure to love!
  • Treat it like Christmas: Get the entire family together, even extended family! Have everyone give her a gift and have a giant dinner! She’s sure to appreciate the fun time with the family and feel well appreciated!

No Black & White in Music

Bored, my friend and I scoured through our social media. After about fifteen minutes of showing each other this video and that picture she came upon a post that said “name the first five songs on your iPod/playlist/phone/iTunes,etc alphabetically using A as 1, B as 2, and so on…”

Mines went like this:

  1. A-Team by Ed Sheeran
  2. Baby One More Time by Britney Spears
  3. California King Bed by Rihanna
  4. Dance Floor Anthem (I Don’t Wanna be in Love) by Good Charlotte
  5. Emergency by Paramore

She proceeded to scrunch up her face and ask, “who the heck is Good Charlotte and Paramore?”

I glanced at her list and saw that hers were all recognizable, mainstream, R&B artists. Not to say that my artists aren’t all mainstream- but the fact that she only had one genre throughout the list, even when we went further down the alphabet surprised me.

“Do you only listen to one genre?” I asked, this time scrunching up my own face.

She shrugged and said yeah, continuing to laugh at the songs on iPod that she had taken from my hand. She struggled to pronounce “Kimi ga Kureta Mono” by Ai Kayano and asked how I could “like not only White people music but Japanese people music too”.

That brief moment stuck with me because it brought me back to several times in middle school that I had long forgotten about or had suppressed to the back of my memory bank. I used to hide my taste in music because kids would laugh at my choices and say that I was trying to be white or that I was listening to so-called white people’s music.

It surprised me that my friend would bring up this stigma again- that she was in the same mind-frame as a sixth grader. But it’s not just her. It’s a lot of the world, especially (unfortunately) in the Black community. We repeatedly shun artists like Iggy Azalea and Mac Miller for “stealing” our culture and having the nerve to rap.

And it may very well be true that people like Kim Kardashian have gotten plastic surgery to make their lips and butts bigger, therefore wanting to look more like a Black woman, but in my opinion that is something that is totally different and should not be associated with music.

My question is: is there a such thing as white and black when it comes to music?

Yes, Black people may have invented the Hip Hop genre and the culture surrounding it but does that mean we should be so stingy and not share it? So what if a white person wants to rap and enjoys the music for what it is? Are you saying that I, as an African American woman, should not be allowed to sing in a country accent when I am not making fun of it?

Separating music genres is rooted in racism- a ruthless, unnecessary evil that still grips our world in an iron grip. Don’t we get enough of that without letting is spread to something that is designed to make us happy?

So excuse me if I want to have Eminem, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood and Kirk Franklin on the same playlist because I can and I will.

Having a wide variety of musical tastes shouldn’t be shunned but embraced.

The Joys of Coconut Oil

If you haven’t heard it by now, then I’m here to tell you: coconut oil is great. In my book, this is one trend that should never end. Whether you’re using it for hair care, skin care or in your food, coconut oil is a great alternative to more mainstream products!

Hair: When I first discovered coconut oil, it was by watching many YouTube videos about haircare. I had never heard of putting anything in your hair other than grease or heat protectant so it surprised me to think that an oil used for cooking could actually be great for moisturizing your hair. It is great for moisturizing that helps your hair to grow and gives your hair an awesome shine while it’s at it! Not only that, but frizz will be eliminated and your hair will be sealed and protected from the sun at the blazing bleach, saltwater or chlorine.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is also great for moisturizing your skin! It prevents dryness and flaking and can even heal dry skin over time. Make sure you have unrefined/extra-virgin coconut oil so that it does not have added fragrance, flavors or coloring. It makes skin silky and has antibacterial/antimicrobial properties. Feel free to put it on before shaving your legs too, ladies!

Cooking: It has nutritional properties such as that helps to improve the digestive system. It helps in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. It also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Besides the nutritional properties, organic virgin coconut oil has a marvelous coconut scent and gives a natural flavor that is great for making cookies or cake!

That’s just a few of the things that coconut oil is good for. A quick search of the benefits of coconut oil can tell you more, but I think you get the gist. I’ll vouch for got it any day- I use it and I love it!

The Big Chop – Will it make or break me?

When I was a child, I always thought my hair was a redeeming quality of mines. A little black girl that went to a public school where all the other little black girls wore weave seemingly 365 days of the year, I took pride in being one of the few that was proud to wear her actual hair out. My mother permed my hair at the age of 12 or 13 and from that moment on I loved to turn run my hands through my straight, long locks. I felt as if my hair defined me, made me better somehow despite my short stature and mediocre face.

That is, until I reached the age of 23. Years of perming my hair had made it thin and my scalp was always so dry that I had a huge issue with dandruff. With the sudden Natural Hair movement, I was inspired to get rid of my perm and finally have healthy hair that I could truly be proud of. By then, I was confident in who I was- shortness and all. I even now knew that my face was pretty- I had grown into my big teeth and found my face to be quite appealing.

I tried for five or six months to transition my hair from permed to natural. I did twists-outs and braid-outs, but the management for these styles with most of my hair still permed proved to be a hassle.

Day after day, the “big chop” entered my mind. The thought was tantalizing but scary. Ladies, whether you’re black, white, yellow or brown…you’ve got to know what I mean if you’ve never had short hair before. I wondered what I would look like. Would I look like a little boy? Would my boyfriend still find me attractive? Would I still find myself attractive?

Not to mention that, being an African American, other fears popped into my brain. Wouldn’t I be seen as just another Black girl who can’t grow her hair long? Would my hairstyles be work-appropriate? Was I willing to do the maintenance and keep up with the products that would maintain my healthy hair and grow my hair back long?

On my 23rd birthday I came up with the answer to all of those questions: WHO CARES?!

I went to my beautician and told her to cut all of my perm out, leaving me with a meager couple of inches that I didn’t even bother to measure.

I admit that the first couple of days I berated myself for cutting my precious hair. I admit that I even cried. But you know what, once I sucked it up and really looked at myself I realized that I was still the same person…just with different hair.

Over the last three months I’ve had time to get to know my hair. My natural hair. Thicker than my permed hair, curlier than my permed hair, just as beautiful as my permed hair. My hair has already grown a couple of inches and I’m even able to do a twist-out again!

The point I’m trying to make is that your hair does not define you, ladies. It’s hair. It grows back. No matter what race you are, if you want to cut your hair then do it and rock it! If you find that you don’t like it pin it up, wear headbands, look up styles that other women with short hair has and try them out. Your hair won’t be short forever so have fun while it’s still short because once it grows out again you might find yourself wishing for the easier maintenance.

Love the process, love your hair, love yourself!

Jocelyn H.