Each Step Led to This Dai… UW GRAD 2018!

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Greetings Daizies!

I finished school a few months ago in March and since then I’d been patiently awaiting my official graduation ceremonies that would commence in June. I spent time visiting family and evens started a brief part time job tutoring and cherished my new relaxed pace of life remembering my vigorous schedule from college.  Oh yes I remember waking up to a to do list of “class, class, study, office hours, practice for interviews, homework, midterm practice” and then sleep and do the whole thing over again. I put all of my energy into making sure I did everything I could to get the best grades possible and secure a job for when I graduated. The actual graduation ceremonies would signify that I was completely and totally done. My college experience would come to an end.

My time off has been a break long needed and deserved. I loved being able to plan out my graduation photoshoot and all of the exciting details without having the stress of studying for classes and finals. Eventually June 3rd rolled around and I was so happy I was finally going to walk the stage after 4 years of hard work!

June 3rd – Foster School of Business Graduation

I spent my entire Saturday watching the latter half of season 3 of Parks and Recreation and doing the twist out of my life. It took my 5 hours to do my hair.  Small, precise twists with no gaps, tangles, or bulges. I fell in love with Shea Moisture’s Red Palm Oil and Cocoa Butter stretch pudding. After my grad photo shoot, I knew it was going to be a twist out product staple. Anyways, I was confident that my hair was gonna be poppin’ for my very special day. I answered as many last minute questions from frantic and excited family members as I could. But overall I was focused on maintaining a relaxed mood and taking the experience in.

That morning I woke up an hour before my alarm. My stomach started pulsating and my heart was beating fast. I was so nervous and excited. I always wake up early when it’s a big day for me. It wasn’t an interview, a big test, or anything I had to endure over the past 4 years… it was MY GRADUATION! When it was finally time to get up, I did yoga as usual but this time my eyes began to water as I began to contemplate how hard I worked, the obstacles I faced, and how much I dreamed of this day. For many years it seemed so far away but I was finally walking through the end of the tunnel to experience the light.

I thought back to 3 years ago, freshman year. I was taking my remaining prerequisites to get into the business school ranked #1 in the PNW and #14 in the nation for public universities. I was ready to take on the challenge and knew that that was where I belonged. I worked long nights, went to tutoring almost every day for Math 111/112 and breezed through Stats 220. I was so happy for the Daizha that was crushed after BARELY passing the Econ 201 and 200 prerequisites. I could clearly remember how anxious I was thinking about having to choose a backup majors just in case business school didn’t work out. I thought about how vicious the curves were in weed-out classes like ACCTG 215. I had an extra prep class at 7 IN THE MORNING *now i could never see myself taking an 8 am class in my entire life* but I sacrificed a comfortable start time for extra practice for accounting. And when I submitted my application I checked it over and over again before submitting only to have to wait for an entire month to find out the results. As I waited for the results, I had to calm myself down as my heart raced each night thinking about if I would have my dream of being in the business school. Fast forward to June 3rd, I was in my room, doing yoga and preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s in Business Administration majoring in both Marketing and Information Systems!

I was so excited to get to the stadium. I tried to eat as much as my nerves would allow me but don’t worry, I had some snacks in my purse lol. I saw some people I never saw in my life and some familiar faces from group projects I’d had over the years. I found my front row squad and we walked around to find our entrance. I could hear the crowd buzzing and we actually were about to start. I was one of the first people to walk out and the energy was amazing. I saw and heard my family cheering for me! It was an amazing experience. The ceremony just about flew by and I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face and a twirl for the gawds.

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Pure happiness

Even though it was cold and rainy at first, it made me feel so good that my family planned and decorated for my graduation beach party. I felt warm on the inside no matter the weather. It just felt good to be celebrated and congratulated for something I worked for. I loved my mom’s idea of every guest going around in a circle and saying their memories, thoughts, and favorite things about me. Words mean a lot to me. I’d say words of affirmation is my love language. And hearing how I’ve made others feel and all of the nice things my friends and family had to say about made me feel so special and appreciated.  I will always look back at that video when I need it.

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The sun came out for us! Family photo 🙂

 

June 8th – Black Graduation

I had a some days in between my first and second graduation. I was just having a pretty awesome week. I got to show my dad around Seattle for the first time and spend time with him while he was here. I had so many leftovers from my grad party that I’m still craving till this day. But low and behold it was time for Black Graduation 2018! I would finally be one of the black graduates receiving their kente stole. This day was a little hectic in the beginning I must say. Nails falling off, couldn’t find my preferred lashes, unexpected things, more rain, etc. I was feeling a little off for a minute but once the ceremony and speeches started I was just like ” oh well let’s just enjoy this” and decided to be in the moment. It was still a good week and the celebration must continue. This graduation was special because I was with all of the black students I experienced UW with. It’s a small small world as a black student at a PWI so it was beautiful to have a celebration just for us. I had fun on the stage too! Peep the video below lol.

 

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June 9th- UW Commencement

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The next day was big graduation with all of the graduates from the entire school, from bachelor’s on up to doctorates. Tons of people had been saying how long and boring the graduation would be or had been for them but I was still determined to go because you only graduate from university for the first time once. The rain held out this time for a while, thank God, because it was on the football field. I was literally running to my entrance so I wouldn’t miss the walk out time but I made it! I was so HYPED seeing how a huge football stadium filled with people all excited. I was so so happy to see my mom stand up and cheer for me in that huge crowd as I walked in. It was my final graduation of the week. This one was for the college experience as a whole. This stage in my life of so much growth and accomplishment. I was celebrating all of that.

All of the departments sat with each other and when it was time to present the business school, we were formally granted our degrees! OFFICIAL OFFICIAL OFFICIAL. A pleasant surprise was actually walking the stage to shake hands and receive my beautiful degree case. I thought we were only going to stand up and sit down but yay I got to walk the stage in the stadium. Literally this day was just so fun and the ceremony didn’t feel long at all.

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At the end, when the seats were almost empty, I gazed the entire stadium and took a deep breath. I really finished. The chapter was completely over. And I was like wow I’m actually going to miss this school. My eyeballs started watering again lowkey (aka crying) but it was like saying goodbye to an era where I became the adult me. I really took my whole life into my hands and learned how to take care of myself on my own. And now my life really changes from here on out.

I came in with a mission and I completed it. A college degree is a privilege that I am so grateful for and I don’t take lightly. It means so much to know that I can take care of myself financially and have the career that I’ve dreamed of having.Generational poverty no longer can have a hold on my lifeI can be a role model for my younger families and they can see that it’s possible to go to college, to travel, to take risks, and to do anything they want to do!  I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to receive a degree from a 4 year university. I’m grateful for all of the challenges, trials, and tribulations that I experienced while in college and because of college because they made me even an even stronger person.

Graduation season was everything I could’ve imagined and even more! Through the ups and downs I know that …. Each step led to this, Dai.

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Love always,

-POP

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Mission Accomplished | I Graduated from College!

Greetings Daizies,

Two weeks ago I finished my last final, walked out of school and became a free woman ready to enter the real world. My last blog post I wrote about my feelings regarding my upcoming departure of school and I thought I would miss it. But let me tell you, I have never felt more relaxed and chill in all of my 4 years of college. I actually don’t miss school lol. The days leading up to my last final, I was just so excited. I worked so hard each and every quarter, so to finally get to the point of reaching my goal felt well deserved and like a huge relief. My overall feeling is relaxed and accomplished.

I have about 2 months until my actual graduation ceremony. I’m so excited to finally have this experience. It seemed like 2018 was so far away but these last few months flew buy and it’s finally my time to shine and celebration graduation season. I have quite some time between now and when I start working so I’m fully taking in my extended time off with some planned travels and also going with the flow, taking it day by day. I’m still carrying on with not planning every single thing of my life which continues to bring me peace and comfort in knowing everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about my trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

In my spare time, I started a new Instagram blog called FroAndTravel dedicated to the beauty of natural hair while being flawless abroad. I hope this wonderful break will bring out my best creative juices and I’m excited to have more time to put my energy towards things I love.

Here’s some pics of me living my best life 🙂

Shirt: H&M $7

Shoes: Payless $15

Pants: Forever 21 $18

Photo cred: Martha Girma

 

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-POP

Happy New Year! | 2018 I’m Ready

Happy New Year Daizies!

Letting go of the trials and tribulations of 2017 and accepting my blessings for 2018! I’m feeling relaxes, excited, and just ready for what the year has to offer. I’ve taken time to write in my journal and this time organized my goals in categories such as health, finances, career, school etc. This is just a short excerpt to bring in the new year and post my favorite New Years pictures!

 

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Cheers,

-POP

 

3 Liter Water Challenge|3 Month Review Expectations vs. Reality

A few months ago after getting back from Ghana, I made it a point to keep up with drinking the same amount of water I did in the humidity of the summer. I drank 3 liters of water, sometimes more, with no problem. I went on amazon and purchased a pink 3 liter water jug and I was so excited to begin my new increased water intake journey.

Expectations: My expected outcomes for drinking more water was to boost my immune system, give me more energy and to have clearer skin. Here’s how things turned out:

Week One:

Carrying 3 liters everyday to school was a nuisance. I had to make sure I sat on the isles for quicker access for my hourly bathroom runs. I would start the day off strong with continuous sips of water but lag off as the day went on and find myself with about a quarter left with bedtime around the corner. I really got tired of the taste of water by day 3. I took a picture a couple of days into my challenge so I could compare skin changes.

Week Two:

After the first week I figured out a time frame as to how far through my jug I should be during the day. At 5pm I should be at the halfway mark. I figured out it’s best to finish my water before 10pm, so that I won’t constantly have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The weekends or days when I’m mostly in the house, were the hardest to reach my goal. I didn’t have the weight of 100 ounces to remind me to drink water when I’m in bed watching Netflix all day. I would often just chug as much as I could when chill days arrived. By the second week, I felt pretty adjusted to drinking 3 liters daily.

Week Three:

I wondered how I ever went without drinking this amount of water. I really carried my jug everywhere I went and loved that I had made it apart of my lifestyle.

Week Four:

Drinking 3 liters is just the way I go about life at this point. I have to pee about every other hour but I just got used to that. I have to try harder on the inactive days but I still managed to get through the amount. There were a few days where I had about 16 ounces left by the end of the night but it would be too late to drink that amount without throwing off my sleeping schedule with several trips of the bathroom. I would end up drinking that amount in the morning and continuing with 3 liters for the day.

Energy

I didn’t really feel a change in the amount of energy I had. I think the seasonal change and my lack of vitamin D also has something to do with that. I expected drinking more water to really make me feel a lot more awake but when it gets dark at 4pm it’s like my body can’t help but feel like going back to bed lol.

Reality on Skin, Energy, and Immune System

Skin

Prior to drinking 3 liters a day, my average intake was about 64 ounces. I was always adamant about drinking water and had a healthy intake before. Drinking 64 ounces is what is considered the amount a person should drink each day. I have normal skin with few breakouts so going from 64 ounces to 100 ounces didn’t drastically improve my skin’s appearance. I think drinking more than 64 ounces is like the point of diminishing returns. Drinking 200 ounces probably wouldn’t do anything more than drinking 64 ounces did. So i didn’t see any changes with my skin over these past few months. My skin behaved like it normally would, super clear some days and a few pimples here and there. There’s obvious lighting differences between the photo on the left and right. One was taken in late September and the next in October.

 

Immune System/Overall Health

The main pros come in at my overall health and immune system.Every year I get a cold almost every other month. It’s particularly harsh during the fall season and especially when I have a demanding school schedule usually near midterms and finals. It was always annoying to have to battle a cold and find the energy to study when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and get better. Drinking 3 liters of water has helped me stay healthy even during the weeks of having multiple interviews in a week and a midterm week when I had 2 exams on one day. I felt intense stress and pressure during trying to prepare for 2 final interviews and 3 exams that fell in the same week but I was able to avoid getting sick.

I’ve also noticed that I rarely have headaches. I always had to reach for Tylenol or advil probably at least once a week but I’ve noticed I’ve probably only had a headache 1-2 times in the past months. A boost in immune system and preventing headaches were listed in the benefits of drinking 3 liters of water in the article I read by Health Fitness Revolution. It was found that

“drinking water ensures that your blood will carry plenty of oxygen throughout the cells in your body. Your immune system uses something called lymph to carry water and nutrients to your blood cells.”

My body was far from dehydrated which decreased my chance of getting headaches. I think extra intake of water added an extra shield to my immune system that otherwise had been easily shaken during stressful demands of school and life.

I plan on continuing drinking 3 liters a day in the future. The immune system results alone are enough to keep me going. I’ll probably have some fun with purchasing new water jugs and there are an assortment of colors on amazon. I’ll include the link below.

Have you ever tried a water intake challenge?

-POP

 

 

Summer Fitness 2017 Goals

Greetings Daizies!

Last time I blogged, I was preparing for a deep condition before my first silk press (which I’ll do a blog post on soon). Since then, I finished finals and started a full-time internship in advertising.  After my first full 8 hour work day, I was so exhausted when I got home and was wondering how I would survive the whole summer. I was so tired coming home that all I wanted to do was sleep. I then started to incorporate going to the gym, in order to make my summer more fun and not simply working and sleeping every single day.

Fitness started to become part of my summer routine and now it is week 3 of my new life-style. I started going to the YMCA near my house and have participated in weekly Zumba, Pilates, and Strength & Conditioning classes. I enjoy group fitness classes because it’s structured and also pushes me to try keeping up with the instructor during class. So far I have successfully worked out at the gym 3 times each week which is a huge accomplishment for me considering going that often was always a goal during the school year. After going to one of the fitness classes or even working out individually on the elliptical or free weights, I noticed I have so much more energy.

My quantitative goals with becoming more active is to loose 1 pound a week until school starts (so about 15 pounds). When I came back from studying abroad, I had lost 11 pounds without even trying. I really liked my lifestyle I had when being abroad simply because I was always walking and ate way better than I did when I was home. I hoped to keep up the healthy eating but after a quarter of the year away from BBQ chips, Jimmy John’s, Charley’s Steakery and more, it was hard to not indulge in my favorite junk foods lol. Anyways, I kinda went overboard and combined with being less active during the school year and not counting on walking 10 miles each weekend for travelling, weight gain came back faster than I imagined. I realize that now and want to make a change. I can’t continue in my twenties eating 2 giant bowls of cocoapuffs every other day and wonder why I’m gaining more weight than normal lol.

A healthier diet is also important for my overall health goals.  I’ve cut out sugary drinks and replaced them with cucumber water. CUCUMBER WATER IS AMAZING! Like seriously I am having no trouble drinking 4+ bottles of water of day just by adding 3 cucumber slices. The extra flavor is everything. Some of the benefits are that it helps with weight loss (drinking more makes you feel full), its rich in antioxidants, and supports healthy skin. I’m adding more nutritional value to my diet by eating healthy snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, and bananas instead of hot Cheetos and Swiss Rolls lol. Just taking it step by step ….day by day literally. But every now in there I do give myself a treat 😉

My other healthy goals is to become stronger and  be able to lift heavier weights. Right now I stick to the 3lb weight during classes and I want to work my way up.  I’m learning more about health and fitness via other blogs and articles but all together it’s really fun being more active and having another goal to reach. I’m excited to make it to the finish line!

Xoxo,

-POP

Springin’ forward in 2017

Spring is upon us and its the perfect season for Daizies to blossom!

Although it feels like winter, the sunshine is starting to peak through. It’s hard to believe the year is already 1/4 of the way over. At the beginning of the year, I of course wrote down some goals and things I wanted to work on for the new year… resolutions if you want to call it that. I believe spring is the perfect time to look back at that list and revise, elaborate, delete, and/or reflect on my feelings towards what was originally written down. Even within 3 months, things can change and especially in college I am learning more and more about myself.

Revising for more effective goals

It’s easy to plan resolutions during relaxing times. For example, saying I want to go to the gym once a week and jog outside each week sounded realistic over winter break when I had absolutely nothing to do. But once school started it was less realistic considering my work days consisted of being at school and studying 10-12 hours a day with the gym an entire bus ride away (lol the bus ride is only like 8 minutes but still…). I still want to be more active because of all the health benefits that come with it. So how do I take the steps to get the results I want?

What are the obstacles preventing me?

Getting to root causes will help determine solutions. In this case its simple. I’m tired, the gym is too far away, and when it’s cold outside I would rather be under my covers watching Scandal and figuring out why Abby tried Olivia. With the root causes laid out I can now brainstorm solutions to some or most. Tired? Pick out time frames in which I have the most energy and days that are least exhausting. It’s probably not a good idea to plan going to the gym or exercising on class heavy days such as Mondays and Wednesdays. Even though I don’t start class until 1:30 pm, I always use my mornings to get a head start on homework and studying. Even Tuesdays and Thursdays can be busy with working in the late morning, one class in the afternoon, and followed by group project meetings. This leaves me with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I have now found my ideal time frame to take action.

Why do I want to do this?

Reaffirming my motivations will help inspire and determine how your objectives have changed. If you can’t really come up with why YOU want to do something then maybe it’s someone else’s goal or not yours. Also, things can change and you may not be as interested in something as you were a few months ago and that’s okay. Asking questions like “Who am I doing this for and why?” are great questions to start with.

My example: Exercising has been found to reduce the effects of stress, and I want to have healthy stress management. Exercise makes you feel good (releases endorphins). I’m in my 20s now and want to set healthy habits so I can live a long life and have a strong heart, muscles, etc. It’s actually fun to push myself and do more than I thought I could .

Baby steps. What can I do THIS week to make my best effort?

I’m probably not going to jump up and become an active gym member anytime soon but I do want to use my school’s gym while my tuition is still automatically paying for it. So starting small I can point out activities held at the gym that I actually enjoy. Roller skating! It is a form of exercise and won’t be a huge jump. It is also on a Friday which I identified as an ideal day for exercising. If I have other plans, I could try yoga in the late mornings. I’m genuinely interested in going to a yoga class since I’ve been doing yoga independently for 10 years every morning. I’m interested in seeing what it’s like being in an actual class and improving my form. Don’t feel like signing up for the class? There is always Sunday and a park down the street where I can jog for 15-20 minutes. I have now given myself 3 detailed opportunities to begin baby steps of frequent exercising.

I used a simple example of exercising but using the framework can help with more  is complex and long-term goals. With longer-term goals of starting my career after graduating in a year and becoming an entrepreneur, this same evaluation can be used on a timescale of thinking 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 month increments. Reflecting and taking corrective action when necessary is essential to effective goal setting and goal reaching!

In the meantime, take the time do something that makes you life or smile and enjoy the sunshine ( depending on where you live this may be every now and then).

 

Halfway There! | Thoughts on my Experience Abroad

Can’t believe I am more than halfway done with my study abroad exchange!

This experience has already taught me so much about myself and has helped me grow to an even stronger and adaptable person. I’m proud of myself for taking this risk and pushing through my fears.”If you dreams don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough”

So how has it been?

The first few weeks in Milan were challenging. I did not immediately like Milan. I was comparing the speed of how fast I loved London with Milan and it just was not the same. After one week in London I had made a solid group of friends, didn’t miss home at all, and could navigate the city with no problem. Milan was completely different. I was not blown away by the dazzle of the city. After seeing the Duomo I was like “what else is there?”. It took a lot more effort to adjust to Italy.

The making friends part required more work than I expected. Since I wasn’t in the Italian crash course many people were in, there was no setting where I could mix and mingle. There were some awkward cocktail parties but everyone seemed to already know each other or hung out with people from their schools. It was just weird and I was exhausted from comparing myself to people who had a whole squad within two weeks lol. So I just chilled. I fell back. And took the pressure off myself of trying to find friends. If I had 2 people to hang out then oh well I just had 2 people to hang out. Patience is what I learned in the first month here. I would rather wait for people I actually like and would hang out with back home then to be annoyed and out of place in a circle of people just to say I have “friends”. So I waited. I was less stressed and developed a routine. I would go somewhere new each week. I took pictures and enjoyed the sun while it lasted. It took almost 6 weeks to feel acclimated and make friends I enjoyed being around. If I did not know how to have fun by myself it would’ve been a miserable first six weeks!

What am I going to do today that will make me happy?

YOU CAN’T DEPEND ON HAVING PEOPLE TO MAKE YOU HAPPY? What will you do when you’re miles away from the people that make you feel happy? I took it day by day (daibydai lol) and did things that would put a smile on my face. One day at a time is how I got through feeling lonely. And I soon liked it.

Always looking forward to something really helped me during the beginning stages homesickness. I would smile when thinking about an upcoming trip to Rome or finally going to Venice kept me in a positive mindset.Up until now I was literally going somewhere new every weekend. And that’s when I put things into perspective. This literally is my dream. I remember being at scholarship meetings for high school and going around saying what our goals were for college and I said “studying abroad”. My second week at UW I set a meeting up with my advisor to talk about studying abroad.  I always planned ahead and now I can live in the dream I had for over 5 years. I was seeing the big picture and I felt more joyful.

I’ve had to do so many new things on my own. Working though stressful situation and celebrating even the smallest victories are important.I think living here has helped me become proactive and confident in my problem solving skills. Getting lost, figuring out how to vote from abroad, paying rent, permit of stay procedures are all very taxing but I had to do it and did it on my own. Things like going to the grocery store would give me such anxiety. I would literally wait till I had nothing to eat because I hated the feeling of being asked something in Italian and feeling embarrassed to not know what they were saying. There was this one time when I held the whole line up because I brought non-food items to the checkout and they were having trouble scanning the notebooks. It took like 20 minutes to get it solved and after that I was just so over it. I was stressed and didn’t want to go through anything like that again but I eventually needed more food and had to try it again. How could I have known what to do on the first try? Not possible to know exactly what to do all of the time and that’s okay. Awkward moments happen. People are nice and I don’t need to be harsh on myself for not being a local, knowing the language, or making mistakes. Get your food and go on about you day because these people sure will!

With such a chill class schedule I realize this is the most stress free I’ve been since starting college. No club organization commitments, no interviews, no midterms, classes are easy, and just travelling to the places I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve worked so hard and constantly so this break is definitely something well deserved and appreciated. This was the feeling I was seeking when I applied. I had forgot why I wanted to do this, when the date to come to Italy approached. What was it that I wanted to experience again? The feeling of being free. The excitement. And new experiences that helped me grow. That is what I missed when I came back from London and immediately knew I wanted to leave again. Travelling is just so exhilarating and it is a blessing I am able to experience it.

Now that it is halfway over I guess what’s on my mind is how to take this carefree black girl feeling and transfer it back to when I’m in the States. I know I have a lot more responsibility when I am back home and I slightly don’t feel ready for it. So I am living in the moment and taking everything in. I said this last year but I do want to explore Seattle more. I want to explore it the same way I do the cities I go to in Europe. I think even though I am abroad, my mindset has changed and taking this mindset back home will make a difference in how I approach these responsibilities that can sometimes take a toll on me.

So the next time I have an interview, 3 group projects, and it’s dead week at school, I can think about how I made it through the obstacles abroad and that confidence will be with me through every new situation I encounter.