A Future Direction

After taking this course, I feel that I have a greater understanding of one of the most important aspects of Afrofuturism, which is what the future holds for individuals of color, and what can be done to break down the barriers that are still institutionalized within society today.  Related to Snead’s idea of repetition, I have learned that while the state of contemporary black life has improved in many respects compared to the past, history and culture have transformed these negative past experiences of the black community into a more subtle version of its previous self.  These subtleties take on forms such as high incarceration rates for black men, racial steering and police brutality. To me then, big question then is, what’s next? How do we move forward? What can we do to make a change?

Obviously, it goes without question that there’s only so much we can do, and that the real change is in the hands of lawmakers, politicians, and other government officials. However, some works that we discussed in class, such as Dirty Computer, gave me insight into what I feel can be done on the part of everyone to further transform black life and it’s overall perception in a more positive light, while not simply wiping away the oppressed past of the black individual. One of the answers that I found through Dirty Computer was simply to speak out. To share our experiences. To embrace uniqueness,  intersectionality, and individuality, and to do the exact same for others of any and every background. Speaking out can also involve voting for government officials who would support anti-discriminatory legislation and policies, and getting involved in the conversation within your community about any racial issues that are taking place.  By speaking out and sharing our experiences and perspectives with the world, especially in the age of the internet, we have an ability to influence the public mindset that overtime could produce the change that we want to see. 

Dr. Smith has asked us to imagine a future direction we would like to take, being academic or non-academic, given what we have learned in this course. For me, something tangible that I would like to achieve following this course is to speak out and share my experience with the world in the form of music. I have always sang and played instruments, and my goal is to get better at writing and producing music through learning the piano and practice writing.  I feel that I have a lot of ideas that I would like to convey regarding my own experiences, social issues and, very broadly, the insanity of our world today. I have recently been inspired to take such a route through The 1975’s new album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, which touches upon some major social issues going on right now and the dangers of the internet in almost a plea of salvation. As stated previously, I feel that the concept of sharing ones experience, or ones perspective of what they think is important, to be a critical essence of the human experience. By sharing our experiences with the world, we have an enriching set of perspectives and stories that transcend our secular selves and puts us in the shoes of someone else. I hold this as something very important to me, and it has always fascinated me how music can serve as a uniting force, or a bridge of understanding between individuals. Music allows us to escape our current world and enter the world of another, fostering greater relatedness and understanding between us, this is something I hope to contribute towards one day. 

Michee Jacobs: On Exploring the Unknown and Attacking Fear

One of the most important questions that I’ve asked myself throughout this semester is, “where did my growth begin?” I acknowledge that I made significant strides this semester, not solely academically, but all around; however, I am not sure when things began to click. Coming into this semester I thought I had things all planned out. I knew what classes I would be taking, how much time I would need to contribute to each class, and the amount of effort that I was willing to put in. While I stuck to my plan (for the most part) in terms of academic planning, the way that I went about completing my classes changed somewhere towards the middle of the semester. I guess I had a break-through (or break-down), whichever feels more appropriate at the moment. Continue reading “Michee Jacobs: On Exploring the Unknown and Attacking Fear”

Under Construction

Once again, I find myself stuck in between words, staring at the clock as I wait for the anxiety to hit. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts, but articulating them has never been my forte. The idea of language has always been to help ease the flow of conversation. As writers, our use of words allows us to go beyond communication. Language bridges the gap between imagination and reality, giving the user the skill of creation. The ability to comfort someone or expose them to a feeling greater than themselves has been the ultimate goal in my search for higher education. The idea is to leave behind something greater than myself. Yet, the formation of such a legacy is difficult when you do not have a stable sense of just who you are exactly.

Continue reading “Under Construction”

Oh, The Places I’ll Go

With a couple of Home Depot boxes, ranging in sizes, a white laundry hamper (which I purchased at the Clearance aisle at Walmart) and a suitcase full of aspirations, I embarked on a 6-hour car ride to a place I would call home for the next 4 years of my life. Coming from an underdeveloped high school for inner city students, I placed expectations of how college life would be. I envisioned all the things that college brochures are so good at promising and the immense amount of freedom to decide the path I found fit. Immediately, I could see the difference between high school and college. I enjoyed the ability to pick my classes, live on campus, and interact with my peers in a way I could never do with my past classmates. I felt intellectually challenged by those around me which pushed me to think beyond my original aspirations for the first semester of my freshman year. Despite having a memorable semester, I have also learned from the struggles I encouraged as a result of the decisions I made. I remember the words of wisdom my mentors and advisers gave me before departing for college. While most of them had to do with avoiding procrastination and mastering my time management skills, the reality was far from that. It all started with my inability to start. Continue reading “Oh, The Places I’ll Go”

Learning to Write

Writing is a difficult skill that takes years to develop and perfect. The process to solve a math problem can be instructed, the dates of a political conflict can be memorized, and even chemical compounds can be derived and analyzed. Writing is difficult in other ways. It can’t be taught in a traditional sense, you cannot read how to deliver an idea, argue a point, or explore a concept beyond the pure basics of writing. Much of the journey of learning to write is a personal process of trial and error, considering input from others to make small, microscopic adjustments over time. Many times these adjustments themselves are hidden. You can’t mathematically confirm if an essay delivers what you want to say, or look up the answers online to find if what you are saying reaches the reader in any meaningful way. This is where the value of good writing and good writers come from, the difficulty in developing this skill.

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The Orogenes of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Rather than being inspired by an enlightening experience with a medical professional like some of my fellow pre-med peers have expressed, I’ve always been fascinated by the ability to heal others in general ever since I was young. Throughout primary and secondary school, I remained so oblivious in my fascination and excitement that I never realized what I was getting myself into. I knew nothing of the medical school process or even the specializations within the medical field. For some reason, the mantra “when there’s a will, there’s a way” was all that kept cycling though my head all those years. I never really look back at the times before 2015 because I’m (mostly) no longer that steaming pile of emo angst anymore but in reflecting back, I think that there was a lot more at play than my blissful ignorance at work.

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Untangling the Knot in the Silver Thread

Jemisin explains in her afterward, “Where there is pain in this book, it’s real pain; where there is anger, it’s real anger; where there is love, it’s real love”. (416) The same rule applies to my reflection of her novels and the course as a whole.

I’ve always struggled with taking myself seriously as a writer. For the longest time, I refused to re-read my work. I would sit down, write an essay, and then refuse to think about what I wrote because I had a wall up against putting true effort into my writing. I think this was my defense mechanism against criticism. Like Syenite, I was only functioning as a part of myself. I didn’t want to think about any of the issues that defined me, or how I evolved into the person I am. Continue reading “Untangling the Knot in the Silver Thread”

To Fail is to Succeed by Practice

Today, many motivational quotes and statements are seen as clichés due to its repetition and being overused. One phrase in particular, “failure is inevitable” was built upon the idea that one fails and struggles throughout their life. This thought provoking phrase has been deemed as a cliché–by society (my friends included)–, but what counts as three individual words serves as an underlying significant reflective meaning, for me at least.
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A Letter to a Lost Opportunity

Dear Blogs, 

Yesterday, as  I reclined in my chaise lounge, cigar and whiskey in hand, accompanied only by the crackling fire, I felt a reflective mood come upon me. I scampered to my computer and began furiously typing.  Reflection, sweet reflection, where to begin? Blogs, oh Blogs, how I have wronged you! I never cease to think of you. Many a restless night have I spent contemplating how I could have done better, spent more time and worried less so that I might have fully enjoyed writing you. When I think of the time I wasted, I could honestly cry. I wish I had made more of an effort, but fear, yes fear my dear Blogs, had the upper hand. Dread took over me and stole the time away. It led me to write complete rubbish that didn’t matter to me or anyone else. But my dear Blogs, the time to reflect is nigh, thus providing a catalyst for change which I long for. Continue reading “A Letter to a Lost Opportunity”

The Worth of an English Major

It is a few months ago, and I am at a frat party watching a rather riveting game of beer pong (just kidding – they’re all the same), when I am pulled into a conversation with a friend of a friend. He introduces himself and I do the same. Then comes the obvious, “What’s your major?”

“English,” I relay, bracing myself for what is sure to come next.

“Oh.” The guy looks unimpressed. “Hard,” he says, sarcastically widening his eyes for emphasis.

“But…you– you don’t…that’s kind of unfair,” I stumble over my words because I never have a great response to such bold condescension.

This happened to me at a frat party of all places. Is there no place this English major is safe? Continue reading “The Worth of an English Major”