An Open Letter to My Residents

Dear residents,

I started the year a little worried about being a senior, about to graduate, working with first-year students in a residence hall.  I realized that I was closer in age to my supervisor than you.  That gap has become even more real as I prepare to graduate and go to grad school while you all plan where you’re living next year, find new organizations to be involved in, and register for your next set of classes.

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions and challenges.  We’ve had our bad times for sure, but we got through it all and managed to make it to the end of the year.  We have made a lot of memories and I’m so thankful to have had such an awesome group of residents.  The way you all supported each other and latched onto “ohana” made my job so much easier.

ResidentsThroughout the year, you have gone from simply being my residents to integrating yourselves into being a part of my friend group.  I love seeing you at the same organization meetings and events that I’m at – I’m honored to pass down the torch to you in the organizations that I love so much.

I have seen so much growth in each of you over the past year.  You have had the opportunity to learn about each other and yourself in ways you probably didn’t even think was possible.  You’ve learned to appreciate new areas of diversity and accept everyone with love.  There are going to difficult situations any time we don’t understand something, but you have been willing to learn and change and that is what makes you so incredible.

I also want to give a special shout out to my incredible floor partner: Jalen, you have been such a remarkable leader for our floor and we have been a great team.  Your display of leadership and social justice for the residents is truly inspiring.

As you all continue your journeys at ISU or where ever life takes you next year, know that I only want the best for each of you and wish you all good luck with whatever you do.  You have my support and I’ll be cheering you on from a distance. (And if you’re ever in Florida, stop by and catch up.)

Ohana forever,



sagrad journey

My Fears on Becoming a First Generation Graduate

In just 17 days, I will become the first member of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.  I am proud to be first generation and have never seen it as something to be ashamed of or as a hurdle.  Over the last four years, Indiana State University has become home and I feel just as comfortable on campus as I do in my hometown (if not more).  In 24 days, I will walk across the stage and then leave my campus home. My struggle as a first generation student will start all over again as I prepare to move to grad school. Continue reading “My Fears on Becoming a First Generation Graduate”


Starting my #SAGrad Journey: Interviews are here

It’s been a long road to get to this point, but grad school interviews are finally here.  Tomorrow I’ll be flying to my first one and then have 3 more in the next few weeks.  Fortunately (and kind of unfortunately) they are all consolidated on the calendar.  It works out in every way except for the amount of classes I’ll be missing in a short time frame (applying to grad school and finishing undergrad at the same time is harder than I expected).

As I prepare for the next part of the journey, I keep reflecting back to just a few weeks ago when I was nervous about getting acceptance letters.  Now I’m proud to say I was accepted and/or offered interviews at three of the four schools I applied to (every process is different).  I’m not going to say which schools I’m applying to publicly, but if you want to know, you can ask me privately.  This process goes so fast and that is especially true when I realize that I could likely know where I’m going next year in a month from now.  That’s insane! Continue reading “Starting my #SAGrad Journey: Interviews are here”


One Word to Guide My 2016

A new year is a time for resolutions, changes, and starting to become a better person.  Flipping the calendar page – pulling out a brand new calendar – is a strong metaphor for the clean slate that many people see in a new year.  At the end of a year, we all look back at what happened.  We see what was in the news, what we posted on social media, and even what music we listened to in 2015.  We look at what happened in our lives and make a judgment to determine if 2015 was good or bad.

Then the countdown starts – 3… 2… 1… – happy new year!  It’s 2016, couples share their first kiss of the year, and everyone celebrates and welcomes in the new.  The year starts and despite the many resolutions that were made, it does not feel all that different for most people.

Since resolutions rarely work for more than a week or two, I have decided to simplify things this year.  I have chosen one word that will guide and define my 2016.  That word is… Continue reading “One Word to Guide My 2016”

If a student has the motivation to persist, financial and family situations should not be roadblocks.

First Generation Students: Working the Hardest, Achieving the Least

Four years ago, I sat in a financial aid session at new student orientation where I learned about all the expenses associated with college.  After the session, I called home because I had sticker shock.  I was attending a state university, but it seemed like I was paying out-of-state tuition at an Ivy League school.  It was not until weeks later that I realized I had more than enough financial aid to cover the cost and would actually receive money from the university in a refund check.  This story is not unique to me and is in fact a common trend for first generation college students such as myself.  First generation students are inadequately prepared for college while in high school and poorly supported while receiving a post-secondary education. Continue reading “First Generation Students: Working the Hardest, Achieving the Least”