A Review – Part 1: Books

I’ve been thinking about this series for a long time. I’ve spoken about starting it several times, i’ve thought about publishing different versions, but it just didn’t feel authentic or right. Plus, nowadays everyone has a blog, and I recognize mine is just one of the many, but what makes it worth it are the awesome messages of support from readers I’ve never met but who seem to get why I started this blog in the first place.

So here it goes, an attempt to end the hiatus for real this time.

A Review of What’s Been Happenin’: Books

When I moved to Carrboro. I was scared out of my absolute-freaking mind. The support and encouragement from my mentors, family, and friends, was the security blanket I clung to for what felt like weeks. The bubble of comfort and “safety” I had in Asheville? Was popped without my permission (Or so it felt) and I was in a totally new place, without a clue of how to feel about my least favorite thing in the world – change.

But i’ll get into that later…. this post is going to recap for you all my academic experience for the past year. Which can arguably be summed up in a loud audible sigh.

First, a round of applause for my professors who challenged the mess out of me at UNC Asheville.

Second, a round of applause for my bosses/coworkers who taught me everything I know about professionalism and developed me as a leader, and employee.

Third, for my parents who taught me to be stubborn and raised me with a work ethic that makes me want to roll my eyes at my own self sometimes, but I digress.

What has Graduate School taught you so far?

one year

This is a question I get asked a lot. It’s hard to sum up the amount of notes taken or lectures and classes that I sat through because the learning process changed so much for me in grad school. And to be honest that I don’t think you realize how much you learn in that first year until you’re at work and spit out vocabulary words from your organizational theory course or cite case from public administration law as if it is the most natural thing of life. However, since the post is titled books, here is a quick list that I think sums up the year.

Stop ignoring your local governments like they are antiquated and don’t do anything. They do everything.

I came into my MPA program, not wanting to really go into local government, but rather understand it’s role in whatever career related to housing that I would end up choosing, and what I got instead of guidance on the housing piece was a whole lot of knowledge and understanding about how crucial local government is to everyday life.

And the sad thing is? We ignore them. We ignore it and take for granted what local government’s contribute to everyday life. We don’t understand what public servants really do. We rush to look at the state level (oh NC….ohhhhhh NC….) and the federal level like that’s where it ALL happens when that’s where A LOT happens but not ALL things happen.

From housing, to roads being paved, to public transportation. Safety, making the community look nice, programs for the young, old, and in between. Things are really really happening at the local level, and despite my resistance at first, meeting what’s felt like hundreds of county and town managers (really just dozens) across NC, has really put the role of local government into perspective. So I challenge you, look up your town or city’s official website/twitter, look at what they’re doing. Even if you don’t get involved. You’d really be surprised as to how much is going on.

I can’t run away from math anymore.

Ya’ll. I took budgeting this past semester. Had a phenomenal professor who was patient in every single way you could be patient, and I learned so much about math I didn’t understand before. And maybe it was just the practicality of the course and how I realized I had to actually understand the math she was describing and educating us about, but truth is, I just can’t run from it anymore. It’s been a good streak though. #RIPmathavoidance2012-2016

There are more and more acronyms being created everyday and ya’ll might as well start tracking them.

I’ve been hearing acronyms for things I didn’t realize had acronyms from day one of graduate school. Eventually most if not all were explained to me, but my goodness it was so daunting for the first few weeks. My most salient example however is from my first day of work this summer. I learned a total of 11 acronyms on my first day. ELEVEN. Come on housing world…. do better….

Procrastination is the devil.

All I have to say about this is that my worst nights (and some of the funniest) came from times I procrastinated and I never want to do it again, and am fully aware that come October (that’s my goal) that’ll probably not be realistic but hey… i’m trying.

A lot more goes into your environment than you realize.

This is kind of like the “stop ignoring your local government” lesson, but the planning version. This past year I decided to apply for the City & Regional Planning program, was accepted and will be officially joining in the fall as a dual degree student. However, I had the opportunity to take a workshop in the Spring, and it blew my mind on a weekly basis. Despite it being housing focused, it consistently explored the intersectionality between other policy areas and over time, I realized how interconnected the players that construct the towns and places we live and enjoy on a daily basis truly are.

Sleep. Please do it.

I can’t really talk about getting sleep because I started writing a part of this at 1:30 in the morning  BUT, the first year of graduate school has really taught me to value sleep. Partially because it would happen anyways, and partially because I didn’t like how my body was reacting without it. Sleep matters. Do you best to get it. #tipofthecentury


Of course there is more….

struggle story

So 6 items is not an accurate depiction of ALL that I learned, but these six I’ve listed above really capture the year in a nutshell.

My hope is that over time i’ll be able to change and grow from all of it, but for now I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

So, that’s why i’ve broken up this series into four sections: Books, Pugs, Stresses, and Joys.

We’ve covered books! So be on the lookout for Part 2: on Pugs coming soon.


As always, Much love!



Annnnnd we’re back

My last blog post I did was somewhere back in October. A quote series. I had this idea to let all the quotes readers were sending to me – wreck my heart or challenge my mind in some way shape or form, and thought I would write about it on a consistent basis no problem.

Except, there was a problem.

It’s name? Grad School. Aka life. Aka the struggle. Aka ….. the reason behind why I’ve not blogged in over half a year.

And so upon my return the first thing I have to do is catch you all up.

New Series:

Books, Pugs, Joy and Stress – A review of what’s been happenin’




First post will be up tomorrow! Enjoy, and as always…


Much love,




Passing the torch : A letter

About a week before the week before I graduated college (yep I meant to write that) … I “passed the torch” in two organizations that changed my life, and made my college career a revolutionary one. She’s the First, and the Black Student Association. But I’m not going to spend this post being mushy about how wonderful those organizations are, or how much I love the people in them… because that is a whole other post in it of itself.

What I would rather do is write a letter those that I passed the torch to, and any others that might find these words helpful. Those with the torch.

Dear torch holders,

You’re not supposed to have all the answers. Take this from someone who searched for as many as she could and ended up burnt out on many occasions. You don’t have to be 100% sure of what you’re going to do. Take this from someone who doubted herself every single time someone gave her another responsibility, or a new title. Be humble, but take pride in what you’re passionate about. There is what gets you through a lot of times… your passion.

I wish I could put into words how amazing you all are, even those that I do not know who are reading this, you’re wonderful. Being a leader is a blessing and a curse, and I’m sure each of you have already overcome things to get to where you are today.

If you don’t feel 100% confident in your ability to lead then you’re doing something right.

If you feel the weight of it all, already bearing down on your back and nothing has really started yet? You’re doing something right.

If you are more preoccupied with the health and progress of whatever group or institution you’re leading than what your resume or linkedin looks like? Congratulations, you’re doing something right.

In my short time as a leader, I’ve experienced highs and lows, but no matter the point in the journey, I learned so much each and every step of the way. So as I write this I try to imagine what I would have wanted to read before taking on some of my previous leadership positions, and a few things in particular come to mind.

First – Building and cultivating that passion is a process, and you have to remember to take care of yourself in order to take care of your passion. If I could go back and change anything, the only thing I would change out of all the failures and successes, would be the level of self care I actually showed myself. It’s something all leaders struggle with, and as I write to you one week out from graduation, the consequences of not showing myself enough self care are still here with me.

Second- Don’t ever think that being passionate about something is a crime. Go for what you are passionate about, not what you think you should be passionate about. Some of my happiest moments came from doing something I wholeheartedly believed in. Showing solidarity is important. Diving into what you are passionate about truly is even more important… don’t ever support something just because everyone else is doing it. Find your stake in it, and stand on that.

Third- Ask questions. Ask deep questions, ask shallow questions, ask questions period. There is a reason why great leaders always have people to thank, it’s a symbol of the fact that they didn’t do what they accomplished alone, and some of the people in their thank you speeches were the folks that they trusted and asked questions to. Seeking knowledge is important. My mind jumps to my political science and sociology professors that answered a countless number of my questions , and i’m not only a better leader but a better human being because of it.

Fourth- Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. Some will probably laugh that this isn’t at the top of my list, but it’s because I still struggle with it at times. I’ve had the opportunity to admire and observe some pretty wonderful leaders and people over the years, and this piece of advice is something common amongst all of them. Good leaders delegate. They help build other leaders. For those that are too prideful to share something they created with others, take a step back and breathe, realize that the life of your creation, of your passion, of any project, often times depends on others… the others you share it with, the others that help you build it, the others that keep it going once your gone. As a person who struggles with delegation to this day… I don’t know the perfect key to this. All I know is that change isn’t built in a day, nor is it built in 4 years, and so the work must continue, even after you have to move on.

Fifth- Be open to learn from everybody. Learning from others around you both young and old is always a good idea. Leaders are just two letters away from learners. No one knows all the answers. There are folks who have been doing what you want to do for years, sit back listen, and learn from them. There are folks who are young, energetic, and creative, let them speak up, give them a chance, and learn form them.

Sixth – Last but not least, enjoy the ride. Chances are you will not have this position forever. Chances are you won’t get to everything you need to do. Whatever you DO get a chance to do, and for the time you DO have… enjoy it. Look at the people around you, how long have they been there? Are they new? old? Do you laugh with these people? Can you? Do you cry and lean on these people? Can you? If so… do it. Do you see a newbie ready to jump in? Embrace that, help them get connected. Do you have the chance to get to know a fellow vet (in your respective fields or year) then do that. Some of my most memorable times have happened in the last 6 months… with folks that I finally had the fate and chance to spend more time with this year.

And so to those with the torch. Don’t ever think you’re alone. You have folks who have been at it for a while supporting you, folks who just left and are starting over who support you, and you have folks who look up to you and support you.

I sincerely hope that you find your stake in whatever you’re doing and stand on it, you have the torch now, so keep on keepin’ on.

Much Love,


But what if I fall? Oh darling, but what if you fly ? : Choosing not to crumble.

If someone told me that senior year would have been the way it has been for me, I would have only partially believed them. I say this because the past eight months have been eight of the most ridiculous roller coaster rides I would have ever expected. I’m not talking the duo-toned roller coasters where it’s just up and down, good and bad. I’m talking the up, down, in the middle, half up – half down, super down, lower than low, higher than high, middle-high, middle-low, you name it… sometimes in a week.. hell let’s be real, sometimes just in 24 hours.

I’m stubborn though ya’ll, this post isn’t exactly like me…

I’m not the type to show my emotions to everybody, or even if I do show my emotions, show the depth to which they are affecting me.

But it’s time for some honesty, because honestly, I now know for a fact after talking to a handful of seniors, and even some juniors waiting in line for the senior year ride, that I cannot be the only one on this campus, nor in this world that hasn’t felt like this at some point, or right now.

Truth is..

I have been in a constant state of fear, anxiety, depression, happiness, and emotion for the past 8 months. Nights are especially hard, because that’s when all the meetings, classes, and talking stops, and the only talking, the only sounds I hear are swirling all around me in my head, my heart, in and out of my ears, overwhelming me even more. And many might say “Pssh, how can that be? You have it all together”, and to that I say LOL , a huge laugh out loud. I don’t think there has ever been a period for more than a few hours where even i’ve felt completely together, and although I don’t think that is a bad thing, I do want to say that not having it all together all the time is definitely a part of humanity, and I don’t try and be perfect and act like it’s not a part of my reality.

There’s this large fat ball of anxiety (my friends have heard me describe it as a fat guy) on my chest at all times. The size fluctuates, somedays it’s tiny, somedays it’s huge and the smallest of things, positive or negative can 15528391258_8c107335cd_otriple or double its weight and size. Somedays its a lump in my throat. Somedays it sucks all the energy out of me and feels like a million bricks.

I have trouble wanting to get out of bed in the morning.

Among my friends and colleagues they know that I am a heavy sleeper. In times of humor I pride myself on it. Oh yeah I could sleep through anything, if Jesus came back tomorrow morning he’d have to poke me and tell me to get up cause he knows how hard I fall asleep. But it’s not that part that is the tough part, not the opening of my eyes, but the willing my body out of bed part. Willing my mind to slow down and just take the first step of the day, the step onto the floor. No, oh no, my body and mind, and heart would rather just curl up and stay in bed all day long… and avoid the roller coaster ride for just one more day.


I am constantly surrounded, consistently supported, and yet I feel alone.

In the past year I have seen my inner circle grow tinier and tinier. And the results are some pretty amazing, ambitious, hilarious, and wonderful people.

In the past year I have to deal with this weird soap opera like love life that I know is bound to teach me so much but I’m still waiting for some of those lessons to begin, but I guess they only start once the pain ends.

In the past year, my mind has grown and opened its horizons, grown stronger and better at defending my dreams from doubt and sadness… all the while my heart has been lagging behind.

And so I come to my inspiration for this post. A decision I made that completely tore me apart in ways i never expected it to.

Less than three weeks ago I let go of a person who presented their heart to me in a box. Who’d filled my last few months with laughter, care, emotion, attention, intensity, and faith. All the while, I’m struggling with everything mentioned above, and with some things dealing with this person as well. And my fear, anxiety, and emotion won. In addition to practical reasons that led me to let this person go, the fear-anxiety-emotional combo is what truly sealed the deal. And what’s worse is that making the decision to do so revokes all my rights to the laughter, care, emotion, attention, intensity, and faith. What is worse, is that I did to this person, what just a year ago, was done to me. And so I know exactly what the receiving end of my reasoning feels like.

And the first quote that came to mind when I verbalized my decision, was
” What if I fall? Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”

There are days when I regret the decisions I make that are inspired in any way-shape-or form by fear-anxiety-and emotion. And then there are days when I have a glimmer of confidence that it was the right thing to do. And the only advice I can give to people searching for the key to not crumbling after making a hard decision… is to think it through.

Thinking may not always help, but it can calm you down.

When thinking of reversing any hard decision. I think of how. After I figure out how, I think of why. Why is the Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.45.07 PMhardest part. Is the why the why you truly see or the why that everyone is telling you to see? Is the why how you truly feel? Or is the why the why that people are inspiring you to feel? Then after that mess is semi-figured out, I return back to how. How to reverse or not reverse. How to crumble and stand back up, or not crumble and grow stronger.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about my choices every night when the words are flying all over my head. And I’d be lying if I said that I will never change my mind, because I know that is a possibility. But if that truly ends up being the case, I can only hope for the best… and prepare for the worst.

Crumbling just CAN’T be an option right now.

This is what i tell myself every morning to get out of bed. Ultimately I admit this not to gain pity, nor worry…but to make others with their own options, with their own pep talks…realize all of this mess is not a singular thing.

What’s that saying? Keep on keepin’ on?


Keep on Keepin’ on

And if we fall? We fall…. But what if, what if…we do fly?

Besides… Who ever said chasing your dreams was easy?

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.33.06 PM

Much love,