Over-Stretched and Over-Worked

I’m stressed to the max right now because I have too many uncertainties in my life.

1. I have a final in about an hour, and I’m already sitting in the auditorium. (Why would a school decide to put a final on a Sunday anyways?) I don’t really know what the professor wants from us given that he didn’t really lecture to us about the information.

2. I am suppose to have another final exam tomorrow (almost exactly 24 hours from now), and I have yet to start studying for that because I was too busy studying for this exam and yesterday’s exam.

3. I have yet to start packing anything because I don’t have any boxes.

4. My friend was suppose to pick up my boxes yesterday, and apparently they never came.

5. He heard from another friend that they indeed came.

6. The information needed for the summer program that I’m doing was turned in late, so they might kick me out of the program. It turns out that everything was sent home, but they all said that they never saw it. ;(

7. I’m suppose to be coming back to campus halfway through summer, but I don’t know what I’ll do about housing.

8. I’m suppose to be leaving campus by Wednesday morning, and I have yet to packed.

9. My friend is taking me to my favorite restaurant Tuesday night because Tuesday is my birthday.

10. I don’t know if I will be able to take this makeup exam on Tuesday morning for my other class. I really hope so, because I might cry tonight.

11. I have a music assignment due tonight, so I have to complete that.

12. I just want to go home and sleep, even if it’s for a little bit.

13. I still have to work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but I need to get this one shift dropped that I cannot make at all.

14. At the same time, my friend says that he thinks that we are not spending enough time together (I don’t think he understands my life at all, because he’s demanding more than I can give. He knew how busy I was from the beginning, so I don’t really understand what he wants.)

15. I still have yet to fill out financial aid.

16. A friend of my keeps butting into my relationship, and I am not appreciating it

Ughhhhhhh!! My Lifeeeeee!! >.<

Stories from the Past

Growing up, I really wish that I had spent more time asking my parents questions about their past. It’s something that had never come up in our conversations, and I wish it had.

Last week, I had mentioned how I had a paper about genocide, and it was a topic that I became super interested about.

I don’t think I have mentioned this in any of my past posts but… I’m Nigerian.

My whole family is Nigerian. I’m the first in my family to ever be born in America, which is exactly how it sounds: exciting yet daunting.

I’ve always asked my parents about how they met or how they came to America, but I never received much information about it. It seemed like something my parents just didn’t want to talk about.

But today, I had to call my dad about financial aid matters, and then, as usual, we diverged to other topics usually related to school. He would talk about his friend who has a daughter in Brown and she decided to pursue her Master’s after graduation. I talked about how I was still looking for summer storage and I was debating on whether I should stay this summer or stay at home.

Then it got to the topic about college and if I was on track. I reminded him that my birthday was in two weeks, and he was surprised at how fast time had flown. He talked about how he had finished school at a much later age. Then he really thought about and wondered why he had finished so late. I told him that maybe education was started much later in Nigeria. He said that that wasn’t it.

Then he said it was because of the civil war.

It was then that I had a lightbulb moment. I told myself that I would ask him about it, but I completely forgot until he mentioned it. Wow, would you look at that?

I had tried asking my mom about it a few weeks ago, but she was really tired and said that I should just try to ask my dad about it. But I forgot to ask him…

So for my genocide paper, I had wondered if Nigeria had ever experienced a genocide, and it turned out that they did have a civil war/genocide called the Biafran War between 1967 and 1970. about 2 million Igbos were killed during this time (and my family is from the Igbo tribe). I looked at the places that this had affected, and it affected the exact places of where my parents were from. I was super intrigued and wondered why my parents had not mentioned anything about it.

My dad was born in 1959 and my mom in 1964 so I was really wondering if this had affected them at all.

Apparently it did, much more than I would have ever imagined.

So I asked him if it was the Biafran war that he was talking about, and he said “Yesss”, as if a bunch of memories just flooded back into his memory.

There was a civil war brought about by religion in that Christian Igbos in southern Nigeria were trying to secede from the republic of Nigeria (which had been established on October 1st, 1960) which was majorly Muslim, and they were trying to make their own state called Biafra. The war was brought about my government officials (who were all Muslim) who didn’t support this event. As a result, the Biafran war began.

My father was about 8 when the war started and it didn’t end until he was 11 year old. He was still in school during this time, and he talked about how anytime there were bombings happening, they would all run into the bushes to hide.

The Head of State, who was an Igbo man, was killed, which is one of the events  that helped to start the war. He said how his family eventually relocated out of the area  (about 3 hours out) and into the village where trees would hide them. I asked him if he had witnessed or heard anything. He said that he could feel the bombs hitting the grounds, and he could hear the airplanes flying over and dropping bombs on public areas such as schools and churches. Then, after every bomb the military soldiers on the ground would come and catch and kill the people who would survive the blasts.

During this time, there were killings happening everywhere. He said how on trains there were fathers being killed while the mothers and their children were allowed to escape.

Bridges connecting the Igbo land to Yoruba and Hausa lands were blown up, and the ports on the southern region of Nigeria were closed off. The Igbo people were closed in, making the annihilation of its people easier.

He talked about how times were so hard while in hiding. He had to fetch water with the elder women from a stream that was 5 miles away at about 5 in the morning. Usually a girl would have done it, but his mother bore no daughters, only 7 sons. As a result, since he was one of the younger kids, he had to do it.

He talked about how he had plenty of brother- and father-inlaws who were drafted into the army to fight in the war, and he never heard from them again. The little kids weren’t drafted because of schooling.

He talked about how the whole year after the civil war was over, military men came to every door, searched the houses, and collected all guns and weapons from everyone. His father had a gun that he hid in the kitchen, but he had forgotten that there was a bullet somewhere in the house. When the military approached and searched their house, they found the bullet and interrogated his father about where he was hiding the gun. His father tried to lie and say that he may have sold the gun or something, but then the military men pulled out their gun and hit his father with it. That was when his father had to pull out the gun from its hiding place and hand it over to them.

I was completely shocked by this. My father had witnessed this along with his brothers and his mother. They had done this when everyone was home, and everyone had thought that the war was over. According to my dad, there were still plenty of killings going on and it was still unsafe to leave your house at night.

He said how during this time, no school was in session. Everyone was in hiding with their families. As a result, he didn’t attend school until the 3 years of war were over. Unfortunately, they also had to make students repeat grades, so he really didn’t finish all of his schooling until the age of 27.

He says how to this day, no Igbo men are allowed to be in office due to this event. The only ones allowed are Yoruba and Hausa.

He explained to me how Igbos were considered the minority during that time, and they were treated as such. They were not respected as people.

He says that this mindset led to Igbos being more industrial and stronger people. They started building industries, working with mine and oil, and created a stubborn mindset among the people.

My dad also says that this led to the reason why he wanted to leave Nigeria. It wasn’t a nice place at all. He wanted to come to America.

He says that everything he does today was shaped by that event, and he could never look at Nigeria the same because of it. Unfortunately, this event has also led to him and many other Nigerians not having very good thoughts about the Muslim faith.

I don’t think I would have ever thought to ask my dad more about this subject if it hadn’t been for the anthropology class. I wonder just how many stories my parents had and they were not telling my sisters and me. Don’t they know that this is how we preserve our culture? Do they know that these are the stories that need to be passed down generations? Without them, we lose our culture, and we lose everything that our ancestors worked so hard to establish.

Where Did you Come From?

This is going to be a very random post because… well stay tuned.

This morning, I woke up late for work. It was a special project that I was suppose to do this morning. I ended up showing up about 30 minutes late, and it turns out that they were done by the time I got there. I felt a little bad, but at the same time I didn’t. I promise you that I set an alarm to wake up, but it never went off… Or did it?

Afterwards I decided to just go to the gym and work out. I felt my earphones in my pocket, but they felt much thicker than usual. I didn’t pay any mind to them while I was working. Once I got to the gym, I took them out of my pocket and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I had two pairs of earphones in my hand!

What the heck? Where’d the second pair come from? I froze and thought back to my day yesterday. I couldn’t think back to a time where I could have picked up a 2nd pair of earphones. I had earphones in my ear for most of yesterday, but I never had two.

They were so tangled that I didn’t even use them as I worked out. Even after my workout when I went for brunch, I was thinking about how I could have possibly picked up another pair of earphones. I messaged my friend asking him if he still had his, and he said yes.

Even now I am still confused and have no idea who to ask or how to ask around. My campus is huge, and these earphones could literally be anyone’s.

I figured out which one was mine by looking at both of them closely, so that was nice. There were some small differences that I noticed to be uniquely mine.

Oh well, I guess I have 2 pairs of earphones. Time to disinfect and claim them as my own?

No no no, I really do need to find their owner. They probably miss them alot.

Coming from the Heart

Yesterday I probably had my worst volunteering experience yet.

I had to volunteer at my local library because they were working on a community project. Everyone was suppose to contribute to this cause. People came at different times to contribute to the project.

I was in charge of helping to sign people in, but it was a very slow day. In addition, the person who was suppose to be volunteering with me ended up not showing up. I kind of wish I had done that too because I stayed there for two hours doing close to nothing. The coordinator seemed really nice, so he showed me what exactly I would probably do (turns out he did it for most of the time, and I wasn’t even mad about it, because I went to sleep so late the night before and I wasn’t in the mood of talking to people).

I talked to him a little bit more and he told me how he was an English major and moved here about 2 years ago from England. Yes, England. I was super surprised because he didn’t even have the accent. He told me how England’s education system was very different. In England, you study and test in 12 subjects, and you choose 4 subjects out of the 12 to continue studying in depth. When he moved to America, it was a hard transition because there were some classes that he hadn’t taken in years due to this system.

As we were talking, I did notice that he was a bit attractive. Unfortunately, I had a huge hunch that he may not have been straight. And it turns out that I was right.

We ended up talking during the time that no one was there (which was a large amount of time), and he talked about how he wrote queer fantasy, which I thought was pretty interesting since there weren’t many of those kinds of books.

Then the other coordinator came and started talking to me. He asked me what I was studying and which school I went to. It’s funny because his first guess was that I attended the community college nearby (he kind of pointed his body in the direction of the community college and asked, “Soo do you go to…?”) With pride I said my school’s name, and his eyebrows raised a little bit, and he re-established his posture. He also seemed more enthusiastic to maintain a conversation with me.

I told him that I’m a bio major pre-med, and he was again surprised to notice that  I had maintained the pre-med track into my sophomore year. He talked about how he used to be on the pre-med track back in the day, but organic chemistry ruined his life.So he decided to do English instead and become a librarian.

At first I was confused as to how you go from being a doctor to being a librarian, but I didn’t show it in my face (atleast I tried not to), and I realized that it looked like something he loved, so I was happy that he found the right track for him.

So some more people came, and there was one lady who came with her son. He said that I could do it this time, so I took the clipboard and approached the mother of the child. It was at that moment that I realized I didn’t really know what to say, even though I did?

I was suppose to ask for her name, but I stalled to long and the coordinator noticed it. He instead asked her for it, and  I checked her name off of the clipboard. I kind of felt bad because that was the only job I had, and I felt like I didn’t do it.

So more dead time came, and it was near 1pm. I had a review session for my final exam starting at 1:30pm. I decided that I would leave early because I needed the review session..

The coordinator offered me a sandwich, and I took it and told him that I couldn’t stay for long. He said that it was totally fine. So I sat for about a couple minutes longer, and I told them that the bus was coming so I was going to leave. I needed them to sign off hours for me so after a goodbye I told him that I needed him to sign off the sheet for hours. The girl sitting next to him turned away and started rapidly blinking. He wordlessly took the paper from and me and scribbled his name and info on there. I don’t think they were pleased at all.

That’s the hardest thing for me: getting papers signed. I  feel like people would automatically think that you’re volunteering just to rack up hours, not because you actually and willingly want to help. That’s something that I really don’t like.

Time for Myself?

The more time I have given to other people, the more I realize that I really do not have time for myself. Like at all.

I thought that throwing myself into more activities this year would be a good thing for me. I would make more experiences, and it would force me to have better time management skills.

Those two things definitely did happen, but they still need to be improved.

I have yet to have any time where I have just relaxed.

I always have either an E-Board meeting for one of two groups (dance or biology), practice for my dance group, meeting up with a friend, doing homework, spending time with more friends, giving notes, answering questions, research (which I haven’t been to in a while, and the last day of classes was Wednesday), Office Hours, sending emails, getting forms signed, training for a counseling service on campus, work, etc. etc. ETC.

And even now, I am suppose to be studying with a friend, but I never get anything done with him because, well, he’s my best friend. And he’s on the phone right now.

I am just so tired and I am ready to just go home and relax. But even then, when I go home I will probably still have no time to myself.

I felt bad last night because I kind of went off on a friend who I promised we would watch a movie last night. It was right after I had an event. So I didn’t get back until about 12:43am. Right when I got back, I guess he heard my voice, so he messaged me saying if I was free. When I got to my room, I laid on my bed for a little bit just to relax. This was the first time that I had actually gotten time to myself. Just peace and quiet. My roommate was already asleep so it was just quiet.

Then my phone buzzed… it was my friend.

He was reminding me that I told him that we should have a movie night. I told him that I needed time to get ready. I almost added in the message that I needed time for myself, but I decided not to add that in.

I ended up taking about 20 minutes to take a nap, and afterwards I felt so much better. As in wide awake. I woke up, and he texts me asking me if I still wanted to do the movie night. I said, “Yes, why?” And he said, “Well, you’re still not here.” In my slightly sleepy/slightly awake state, I was pissed off. Can’t I have just an hour to myself? Why couldn’t he understand that I had just spent an entire day with people today, and I had no time to myself? I had seen him earlier in the day, so can’t he just wait for a second??

I answer, “I already told you that I needed to get ready. This includes time to relax for one second and also shower.” Right after I sent that, I knew that I had acted out of line. I know that he wanted to spend some time together, but I just needed time to relax.

He texts me saying, “I didn’t know. I’ll be in the lobby.”

I felt bad, but the night before I really wanted time to myself then too, but he just came in and took it away from me. I was sitting in the lobby and hoped that no one would be awake. Instead, he comes outside and he sees me and decides that he wanted to stay. I told him that I was studying, which I was, and I knew that he would be a distraction. He claimed to be studying too, but I knew that he wasn’t because it was already 2 in the morning. He usually slept at about 1.

I really hoped that he would go away, but he wouldn’t budge at all. Needless to say, my “me time” that was only to last for an hour turned into a 2-hour “sleep time” (I tend to fall asleep when someone is around me and it’s night time. I have no idea why). And he never left until I said that I was leaving. I didn’t get any work done and I had just wasted two hours doing what I could have done in my bed. Slept.

So I went to sleep a little pissed off, but I guess I knew that he meant well. I just think that he needed to know that I just needed space. I needed time alone. It was vital for me and my sanity.

I need to incorporate more of that into my life or else I will go crazy.

Getting Excited About Science

For the past few weeks since I have been back to school from spring break, I have been donating a large amount of my time on the weekends to community service. I realized that it’s something that I really like to do, and it’s something that I have constantly done since I was little (even throughout high school). I thought it would be a good idea to get back into it.

Earlier this semester, my friend had introduced me into this one group on campus that is focused on community service and leadership. Some of the requirements of the group is to obtain about 250 hours of source through work, community service, clubs, and organizations that I had been involved in. At first, I was pretty sure that I had just eliminated my chances of being in the group because I realized that I never documented any of those hours.

It took me a while to muster enough effort and motivation to actually start thinking back to the amount of times that I had actually did community service. It turns out that I had done alot of it. I remembered volunteering last semester, and it still counted for this semester. I was super happy about that. I had volunteered at the inauguration of the university’s new president. That was really fun because I was a volunteer that guided people who needed special needs. I felt special, like I actually played a role in the inauguration. I remember volunteering only for the benefit of saying that I actually did it. I mean who could honestly say that they helped out with their president’s inauguration?

For whatever reason, at the time I felt like this inauguration would be memorable. And it certainly was, definitely for reasons that I would have never imagined.

Anyways, a few weeks ago, I helped out with another event on campus that was about increasing the amount of involvement of females in STEM fields. I had helped out last year, but those hours wouldn’t count. It didn’t matter. It was something that was always a joy for me to help out with. I fully believed in the fact that more girls needed to be exposed to STEM fields. Many times, the guys are the ones given the building toys and the computers and the video games and the technology. On the other hand, the girls are given the little kitchen sets and the dollhouses and the sewing kits. That’s only going to help them become good stay-at-home moms. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what if that girl wants to do something else? What if she would like to learn how to build and design things? What if she learned how to engage in combat? What if she knew how to build her own computer?

That’s the purpose of the organization that I worked with.

So college students are paired with 7th and 8th graders, and you become her “buddy” for the day. You take her around to different workshops and work with her aon different activities.

This year, I had a 7th grader who, I must say, really impressed me. She told me that she wanted to study Computer Science, just like how her dad did. She had already had programming experience from her dad who is a programmer for a very renown camera company. He has already shown both his daughter and son how to write code! Her dad went to MIT, and her mom was super nice.

We went to a workshop about bioluminescence. So they mixed a few chemicals together, and it glowed in the flask. I watched as they took a really long time measuring the chemicals and pouring them into flasks. They even took a super long time putting on gloves. It was the funniest thing to watch, because nowadays I could do all of that under a minute. It goes to show that all the abilities that we did learn were acquired…

After that, we went to this computer programming workshop about coding and making your own code to create your own animation. I was fascinated at first, and I now understood a little bit about how code worked, but it was sooo boring for me. I quickly fell asleep during it. I even had to excuse myself so I could walk around a little to stay awake. The girl I was with definitely had fun, especially since her mom, dad, and brother were right with her the entire time. They were having a jolly good time.

After that was another chemistry lab, which woke me up. It was all about polymers which was really cool. I learned about how you could easily break a CD once you put some esters (or was it ethers) on them. In the next one, we dissolved a styrofoam cup into a solution. The next once, we made some silly puddy. In the next one, we made this long polyester chain. Now that one was really cool because he showed me what exactly he did and how it worked. I came up to him after the experiment and asked for the mechanism. He asked how much organic chemistry I had taken, and I told him that I was finishing up my 2nd semester. It looked like his eyes had lit up, and he was like “Oh cool!”. so he showed me the mechanism which I was super amazed by because I had just taken a test on it. It was all about a substitution between an amide and a carboxylic acid. He even showed me how to make the bonds on a large scale, because apparently he was showing them the baby version way to make it. I was super intrigued by it.

So after that, it was time to go. I said goodbye to my buddy and her family after the closing ceremony (where she actually won something in the raffle! 😀 ), and I left.

This is honestly something that I plan to do every year that I am here. Maybe next year I’ll be on the planning committee. Though that will be a whole lot of work, I believe that I could do it.

I had

Emotional Mother’s Day posts

All of these Mother’s Day posts make get me so emotional. Just imagining how much our mothers mean to us has been so heart-wrenching because I want to give them back so much, yet once you think about the sacrifice they have… there’s no way of returning that. They is just no way.

I just finished writing mine (very emotional), and I actually had to block my mom from reading the post I made because just thinking about her reading it… I know she would get emotional and I would get super emotional and would not be able to continue my work. I also had to block a few other people but… they didn’t deserve to see it.

Anyways, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! You are truly God-given jewels and I am so blessed for each and every one of you! 🙂