Another note about mentors…

A few weeks ago I wrote about using social media to seek out and pursue relationships with (or merely be inspired by) virtual mentors. Earlier this week, The Chronicle of Higher Education also highlighted how this practice is a very good – and particularly useful – approach to mentorship. The article provides good reasoning and good advice, and I especially like this tidbit of truth:

The power and potential of virtual mentors and academic communities are helpful to everyone, but they offer a particularly powerful tool for marginalized groups, whose mentoring needs are often neglected. Social media provide graduate students of color, first-generation students, and others with an important space to navigate the often inhospitable culture of academe.

Being able to seek out and potentially build relationships with mentors is a key advantage of living in a socially mediated world. Read the entire Chronicle article here.

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Book Share: What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

About a week or so ago I finally cracked open (or, rather, clicked open – the Kindle version is only $2.99) What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, an amazingly quick, and useful, book written by Laura Vanderkam. Apparently, she’s written an entire series of books on how people manage their time efficiently.

What the most successful people do before breakfast by Laura VanderkampThis book caught my interest because I’m typically a night owl and my PhD journey has consisted of several nights up burning the midnight oil. However, moving forward with my dissertation, and as a professional, I’m thinking I should probably get a handle on this time management thing. Plus, I’m not getting any younger and the midnight oil doesn’t burn as bright as it used to. As I’m always feeling the pressure of a constantly ticking clock, I decided to take a look at this text after I saw one of my e-mentors, Myleik, shared it on Instagram (check out the hashtag #myleikbookshare).

Here are my thoughts on this brief read (really, I read it in one sitting!):

In one sentence this book is about: 

This book explores the benefits of nurturing yourself (goals, desires, relationships) FIRST in the day and, ultimately, first in life.

You should read this if: 

You often find yourself up late and night wondering why you didn’t get any of the things accomplished that you said you would. Continue reading

The Problem with Perfectionism

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I often identify with and am inspired by women who share their lives via social media. Within a week, I found myself being forced to confront the flip side of this: how intimidating it can be to live in a socially mediated world. If you read  What is Movement?, you’ll recall that I often ask upon meeting other women: “How can I get there, too?” But there’s a fine line between being inspired by someone and being obsessed with their life – especially when you reach the point of measuring your accomplishments against the accomplishments (or shared-on-social accomplishments) of others.

In addition to my research and personal experiences with social media, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a content curator for going on four years now. Through my work and conversations with other curators I’ve learned one thing for sure: smiles behind filters and stories told in 140 characters or less are not real. I’ve used a filter and a few enhancements to turn gloomy weather into sunshine plenty of times. What we encounter online are productions, and our reactions to them are perceptions. And as a Roman poet and somebody’s mother would say: “Things are not always what they seem.”

Pacing the fine line between searching for inspiration and fending off obsession has been a part of my journey to overcome perfectionism. Continue reading

Remembering Maya: Where’s Your Mentor?

On the morning of May 28, 2014, I had just settled in at my office and powered up my Mac. Each morning, the first item on my to-do list is to check my department’s Twitter account on HootSuite and my personal account on Tweetdeck. So there I was, about two minutes after settling in, when I realized “RIP Maya Angelou” was the morning’s trending topic. My chest sank and I couldn’t find air.

maya-angelou-quotes-2I let out an “Oh My God!” loud enough to alarm my coworker as I stormed out the office, unable to finish my thought: “Maya Angelou is..” Before I made it out the double doors of our reception area my tears were in full view. Outside, I completely broke down. Maya. God, why Maya? I remember wondering how a morning could be so beautiful when the pain I felt was so excruciating.

Maya was my first mentor. Through her words, she wrapped arms around me and taught me life lessons that were otherwise not immediately accessible or palpable. Some time during undergrad, and as a young single mother, I read Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting Merry Like Christmas and I felt my life changing. With each page, something in me transformed.  I loved Maya because of her realness. Her story was anything but glamorous, like mine was shaping up to be, and that was the story I needed to read. Continue reading

Dear NOLA

photo 1

Gumbo. The end.

As a modified military brat (I like to say I’m from Georgia by-way-of Texas), I’ve always been fascinated by places with strong cultural identities. When I graduated undergrad, I was determined to get to New York, where I stayed in Queens, befriended a local bartender, and lost my breath as I watched a group of young boys break dance on the corner of the street.

Another place I’ve always wanted to visit is New Orleans. I received letters from Tulane as I was applying to colleges in 2005-06, but I was a coward. I was too afraid to venture off to the city while in its early rebuilding phase; I didn’t want t o imagine what that would look like. To be fair, I also bailed out on Texas Southern and Spelman, and opted to stay close to home at CSU. Thankfully, I’ve conquered my spirit of fear. Continue reading