Capture Me

I don’t know what has been going on with me for the past 2-3 weeks but… I feel like I am backtracking with my social skills. I am so awkward and shy, not that this differs from how I have always been…

I know that I am a sky and reserved person. I have come to terms with that fact about myself. I used to think it was due to my low self esteem, but I have learned that it truly is who I am. I remember my mom always telling me that I used to be a really quiet baby. I never cried for attention or talked much. I always kept to myself.

Through my time in college, I have learned that not many people share this characteristic. In fact, it is super rare for people to be like this. Most people are social and know how to interact with people regularly. People are somewhat  talkative. It’s in our nature. We’re social animals.

But I may just be super slow to all of this.

Take, for instance, yesterday. I took part in this photoshoot for people of color at my school. I had learned about it 5 minutes before, and I happened to be in the same building, so I thought, “Sure, I’ll stop by.”

I’ve done photo campaigns before, and they were really chill, really relaxed. And it usually took about 10 minutes or so.

But this was the first time that I had actually done a photo shoot with people in the black community. I didn’t expect there to be a difference. Heck, I didn’t even realize the difference until today. But there was one, a very big one.

I came in, and I immediately felt judged for whatever reason. Everyone would see who came in, look them up and down, and continue with their activity. I found that a bit odd, but whatever.

So I had not really thought about a pose to do, but I thought it would just be super casual. I do some smiling shots and laughing shots and be done. Nope. First, I asked for the opinion of the photographer if the color looked okay (we were able to choose are background color, and I had chosen yellow. I went with yellow because I’m always a happy, smiley person). I didn’t want it to look like I was doing 5th grade school pictures or something. She looked at me and then looked at the color, and she said, “Uhh yea, it’s whatever you want.” Then another person came and asked if something was wrong, and she told them, “She wants to make sure the color matched with her outfit.”

Uhh what?

That’s not what I said.

I just wanted to make sure that the color looked okay, not necessarily if it went with my outfit…

Oh well. After she said that, I felt a bit self-conscious. Well great, now they think I’m self-absorbed.

So we are doing the shoot, and I am smiling casually, laughing casually, and I thought it was going well. But every time she snapped a photo, she would say, “Okay, think of something happy and cheerful.” And while I’m trying to think of something, she would snap the photo. She was going so fast, and I just wasn’t ready.

To be honest, I wasn’t ready to begin with. I was pushed to go next because the other girl was helping her friend out with something. So that left no time for me to even think.

Anyways, I am trying to, and while I am thinking about it, she’s snapping pictures. She’d look at them and say, “Okay, do you want me to put you into poses?” I was just thinking, “What?” I thought this was super casual.

So I am trying to stay happy and stay cheerful. I’m laughing into the camera, looking away, looking at her, talking with people off the camera… And then she says, “Okay, can someone make her laugh or something?” And now all eyes are on me, and I’m just standing there awkwardly.

I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I didn’t know what she wanted, and now I felt embarrassed. Now I just wanted to leave.

So people are coming and talking to me and trying to make me laugh, but I am just smiling and laughing, same as I was before, because that is just who I am naturally.  But apparently it just wasn’t good enough or something. She would look at me and say, “Uhm… just… do whatever you want to do. Be yourself.”

Well, isn’t that what I was doing?

Then, she proceeded to tell me certain poses to do. She told me to act like I was yawning or stretching, and I thought that felt super weird. She told me to take off my jean jacket, which I thought looked better on, especially since now I had pit stains from all the nervousness.

When I came in to do the photo shoot, I thought that the photo was to capture the real me. All of me. Awkward, laughing, shy, smiling me. That’s why I chose yellow. I wanted to portray that.

But I don’t think she was getting it. I don’t think she got it.

So time passed by, and she said, “How about we switch backgrounds, and switch photographers?” And she said this loud enough for everyone to hear, so I felt really bad after that, but I knew I had done nothing wrong.

So I switch to someone else, who was super chill. She was actually a good friend of mine, and I knew she was good with cameras. She made me feel at ease again. I felt like I could be myself with her, and it was nice. She let me do whatever – just smile, talk with people, laugh around… the same things as what I had been doing with the prior photographer. She said I was super photogenic and that she loved the pictures she took.

I was glad we had switched photographers. She caught that. She caught me.

It’s funny though, because when the first photographer was photographing another girl, the other girl was only doing one pose, and it was fine. She was saying, “nice, great!”, but all she did was stand still and look off into the distance. Why did she want more from me?

I felt so much better afterwards. Even though it was a rocky start, it ended well.

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Figuras Tectas

Title is Latin for “hidden figures” 😉

I just came from watching a screening of the movie, Hidden Figures and… I feel so inspired by these women.

Okay first off, there was this lady sitting right in front of me who would not just sit stiff. AND she overreacted to everything that happened in the movie. She found every single thing funny, and when things were actually funny, she wouldn’t laugh. She danced to every single song and… it was just alot. I was so distracted by her. Even a girl behind me commented on the fact that not everything in the movie was funny…

But BESIDES that, the movie was absolute art.

I loved that it was based on a true story, the idea that these women are finally being recognized  for all the work they did for NASA (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson). It’s crazy just how much we go through history knowing some of the big-shot names, the huge supervisors of it all, yet the people working behind the magic are not recognized. For example, Rosalind Franklin is hardly ever mentioned in biology textbooks (though, I believe people are working to change that) because she was a woman just working in a lab. But her x-ray picture of DNA helped to ultimately find its true structure. But is she the one credited for it? Nope. Watson and Crick, the people who stole the x-ray picture off of her desk, were the ones who ended up getting the Nobel Prizes for the discovery. In that time, women were not allowed to receive Nobel Peace Prizes. Unfortunately, Franklin was not recognized until after she had died.

I did not even know about her until 9th grade of high school. All that time, I was told “Watson and Crick”, “Watson and Crick discovered DNA!” “Watson and Crick found the helical structure!”

Since the beginning of time, women have been over-worked and under-appreciated for the work they do. This movie just brought up so many more feelings within me about the idea of science and women in science, especially colored women.

These women did some incredible things for NASA. Without Katherine Johnson’s phenomenal mathematical skills, NASA would not have been able to put the first American man into space. Without Dorothy Vaughan, women probably would not fight for the right to demand a higher job title and higher status. Without Mary Jackson, colored women would probably not think it possible to become an aeronautical engineer, or an engineer at that. These women changed America’s (and the world’s) idea of the STEM field. America used to look through a black-and-white lens, but these women put color into it.

Over the past few weeks, I really thought about the idea of being a physics major. After taking physics last semester and being in my second semester, I realized just how much I love the science. It’s the only class that I actually have opened the textbook and actually enjoyed reading it. That has NEVER happened for me in a STEM class. I remember how back in high school, I was actually really good at physics. I was one of the few people in my class (only 3 of us) who passed the AP Physics exam.

Last week, I was walking down the physics hallway, and they showed a picture of their graduates. Their classes are TINY. Their graduating class is about 25 students (compared to my bio graduating class of over , and, to no surprise, they were all white males.

I was a little surprised at how small the department was, because the professors all seem like geniuses in the field, and they are all super enthusiastic about it. I would think that there would be more. NOPE.

I have also always been fascinated by the idea of an engineer, the idea of space, the idea of being able to take someone and send them out of the earth. I thought (and still think) aeronautical engineers are the coolest people on the planet. I remember going to the Aerospace museum in DC over Thanksgiving break 2015 and I was like a fat kid in a candy store.

The place was amazing!

They had airplanes hanging from the sky, biographies of the world’s most renown flights, they even had an entire exhibit dedicated to Amelia Earhart.

Now, no one really knows this, but Amelia Earhart is one of my favorite people in world history. I don’t know what it was, but her disappearance was the most fascinating thing to me. How did she just disappear and no one know where she was? When I was young, I used to come up with alternative ideas as to what may have happened to her. I thought that maybe she decided to reside at a nearby island.

I have always thought, “What if I became a physics major?”

First off, I would be highly under-estimated, like the women in the movie. None of the men thought that these women were worth much. They al prejudged their intelligence only to realize just how important and needed they are in the field.

Anyways, it’s still an idea.

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, a black female physicist who is breaking boundaries all over the place in STEM research, is my role model right now (besides Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, of course), and she has me thinking, “Why don’t I just change my major?” she was the 76th black female in the US to get a PhD in Physics. I thought that was crazy. Where are the women? Why are the numbers so small?

On My Way to the Kingdom

Soo I got good news y’all!

I will probably be studying abroad this upcoming fall semester! I will be going to my dream place, the place that I’ve told everyone that I would go to: the UK!

I am so excited. The dean had emailed me today about the results of my petition, and she said that it went through and that I should be able to. I am so excited right now!

I was worried because my GPA did not really hit their minimum. I was super sad because studying abroad has been a longtime dream for me. Heck, it was the first information session I went as a freshman. I was super pumped, but I had gotten discouraged when the woman said that if you were premed, you would be in the worst situation.

Well guess what? I’ll be done with all premed requirements this year, so next year will be freed up to do whatever I wanted.

And I want to study abroad!

I have really thought about what I would be giving up if I studied abroad:

  1. I was applying for a higher job title in my job and there was a pretty big chance that I would get it.
  2. I do not have any plans for housing next year because I knew that I would possibly be studying abroad, so if this does not work out, then I will be homeless
  3. I am giving up my Inequality Studies minor, which I was so pumped to get. I am taking a Soc class right now that goes towards the minor, but there is a required class that is only offered in the fall.
  4. I would be missing out on whatever has been reserved for seniors fall semester. This will be the last time I will be seeing alot of people, so that is kind of sad that the time is cut short.
  5. Studying abroad will probably take some more money that I need to get. and I am already paying a good amount to go to this school (time to start applying for a bunch of scholarships)

But I am just so excited for it that none of this really matters for me currently. I just want to go and travel! I love to travel, so yes, I want to go!

Now all I have to do is finish the college application. Hopefully they let me in. I am so motivated. I hardly got any sleep last week (which is probably why I woke up so late for classes today. I should not have gotten out Saturday night.. though it was a great time! Okay, I digress). I was working on everything studying abroad, which is why I am so happy that everything went through! I would have actually cried if everything did not go as planned.

Ridiculously Late.

Today, I wake up to sunlight shining in my room. I had a dream about… something. I’ve forgotten. But I wake up form that dream, and it was as if I knew something had happened.

I immediately look at my alarm clock and it reads… 11:15am.

WOAH what???

I jump out of my bed and am yelling to the skies while I try and put on clothes while doing my hair. I was in such a panic. I have never… EVER woken up so late for classes before. Not even when I was in high school. Not even middle school. Heck, not even elementary school!

I’ve always heard of people oversleeping their classes, but that was never me. I always woke up either a few minutes later than when I was suppose to or maybe I would wake up at the time that the class started.

But today, I have classes from 9:05am-12:05pm, and I woke up at freaking 11:15am!

I had missed my physics class (which is the most important one for the day) and my sociology class (and that was my third class in a row that I am missing). I also missed half of Latin, the class that I had stayed up all night studying and preparing for. So of course I was not going to miss that one.

I threw on clothes, tried to look decent, and I ran out of the door. I had texted my friend that I had just woke up, and she said, “Lol.” No, no “lol.” This wasn’t funny for me. I had missed most of my classes. My mom is not paying for me to go to this school just to miss my classes.

I started thinking to myself how I could have woken up so late.

I mean yea I had stayed up super late last night (and I should not have. I should have went to bed by 2am, but I guess peer pressure). I didn’t really go to sleep until about 5am. But I’ve done that before in the past, and I still managed to wake up for classes.

And then I thought… This is the first time that I didn’t have a roommate.

So long story short, my roommate moved out over February break. We had gotten into a huge fight, and she decided to leave. Thank God! I was actually looking for housing when she came in, argued, then left. It was just great!

So now I have this whole room to myself, which is super nice. I turned her bed into something like a long lounge chair where I can sit and work, and it has served me very well. I covered it with my gray blanked and put my red armchair there as well. It’s perfect.

One this about the room is that… it gets kind of lonely.

I have had about 5 roommates up to now (counting the summers), and I am so used to having someone in the room that it feels weird when I don’t. And many of my friends are doing their own thing now, with their own friend groups. So I literally am just in my room studying or wasting time. It gets lonely, but sometimes I really do need the time to myself.

But one thing I hadn’t realized is that in the past, I would wake up to my roommates waking up. As a result, I would never sleep in so late. Even when I was late, I wasn’t extremely late.

Today, I realized that I did not have anyone to come and check on if I was awake or not. Friends in physics didn’t even text asking me where I was. And I didn’t have anyone in sociology checking on me, even if I shared that class with people.

I don’t know, I just thought that someone would have texted me asking me if I would be in class or not. It was as if nothing changed if I was there or not.

I’ve been struggling with this, feeling like I am not really a part of anyone’s life or significant. I know I shouldn’t define myself based on others, but it can be hard because that’s how the world works.

Because what if I were to just leave? Would anyone notice? Would anyone check where I went? What if I got kidnapped? Would life just go on?

I may be thinking too much into it, but I’ve just been kind of lonely recently.

And it seems like all the friends I did make are kind of keeping their distance now, and it makes me sad. I’m sure it was because of the past relationship I was in. It didn’t end well and, well, it somewhat divided the friend group. And many of them went to the other side.

But anyways, I should not have been that late today. I really have no excuse for it.

I ran to Latin, and thank God it was a calm day. I was kind of upset that he didn’t even go over the passages that I had stayed up translating last night, but whatever. Atleast I had made it to ONE of my classes today.

Now I have 2 prelims tomorrow (Biochem and Physics) and I really need to study.

Getting Better

It is almost like I dread going to my Latin class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And it’s not that the topics are particularly boring, but it’s the fact that he picks people at random to scan and translate.

In school, this has always been my greatest fear: getting picked on by the teacher.

The last time I was in Latin class, I did not do so well. As I said in my last long blog post, I was picked on by the substitute teacher and couldn’t say a single thing. So this time around, in fear of the substitute teacher giving my name to the teacher, I made sure to scan and translate all the lines.

All the poems are actually very interesting. It’s just that if you mix this homework with Physics, Genetics, and Biochemistry, it is very easy for Latin to become a second thought.

So today, I just had the feeling that he would pick on me at some point. I actually thought I would be the first one picked because I thought that the substitute had talked about me. He didn’t mention anything about last class, so I guess not.

So we are scanning and translating lines, and everytime that we go to the next poem, he turns and looks at his paper of attendance. I am always praying in my seat hoping that he will not pick me.

So there came about 5 minutes before the end of class. He wanted to finish one more poem. I looked at it and felt like I knew most of what it was saying, but I had forgotten words (the sleep deprivation is actually real. My short-term memory is getting worse). He looks at the page, and… call it a gut feeling or God Himself, but I had the strong feeling that he was about to choose me.

And he did.

When he first said my name, I almost didn’t believe it, since he hadn’t called my name in about two weeks.

So I began.

I was trying to hit every elision in the poem because it always bothered me when I heard other people miss it. It came to the last line of the poem and there were 3 elisions one after the other. I promise you, I read over that line atleast 3 times because it was so hard. Once I was finally done, the class kind of chuckled, but I chuckled along with them and so did the professor. It was more on the laughter at how hard I had tried with that last elision. Atleast I got it in the end. The professor was smiling, so that was always good.

So I started to translate, and that’s kind of where I stumbled. I had translated the poem earlier, but I had forgotten some key words. So there were pauses and times where I had to ask him for help. I would say about two times to be exact. I am going to say that nerves probably got to me. Not only am I sleep-deprived and my short term memory is taking a toll, but nervousness definitely does not help. I was trying with all my might to remember what was being said in the poem, but it wasn’t working.

But I got the first and last lines of the poem correct (thank God), so I began and ended on a good note. I guess that’s all that matters?

Next week is the test, and I am a little nervous. I will probably  need to translate and scan all the poems that we have done over this weekend. No partying for me :/

I was planning on going to this Caribbean night thing tonight, but I have too much on my mind right now.

I have to finish applying to this job position that I am hoping to get next year, I am thinking about studying abroad, so I need to do that, I need to finish application for a summer program, Ih ave to finish financial aid documents, I have to help my sister out with hers, I have to to more counselor training practice rounds (3 more to be exact, but probably more), I have to study for my physics test which is in a week and a half (and Biochem is on the same day… yay), I have to study for this Latin test on Wednesday…

I know that I should probably go to my Latin teacher’s office hours next week just to ask him how many hours a day does he believe we should study for Latin. He has already said the best way to get better at Latin, but it kind of sounded like he wanted us to be experts. I’m going to have to ask him to about a more realistic approach because… I ain’t a Classics major.

Hardcore Science major premed over here, and my stress meter is on high all the time.

“Sooner or Later” – Aaron Carter & “Lights Down Low” – MAX

This song is just a great song. I don’t know what it is, but maybe because it keeps going back and forth between calm and slow to fast and upbeat. I like the keys and the sounds that they used. It’s a mix of electro, but also some soft sounds too like a guitar (or an electric one). I don’t know, I really like it. It’s not a very popular song, but it needs more recognition, because it was definitely well thought-through and well-crafted.

The other song, “Lights Down Low” is a good song too. I really like how it has the soft sound of a guitar. And then there would be parts of the song on the downbeat where the sound completely cuts out, and I really think that it goes well with it. I also like that on those parts where the music cuts out, there is a group of people yelling “Hey!”. It is just so unique and I feel like just that will capture people’s attention. It captured mine.

Gut Feelings

Something in my gut told me to miss my Latin class today. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the fact that it was 2am on the last day of break and I had not even touched my Latin stuff. I found out that I had to translate about 7 poems, but I had no idea how that was going to happen. I took little 90 minute-naps (because I read somewhere that it takes 90 minutes to finish a REM cycle), and somehow that kind of worked. I would wake up not feeling groggy and I felt like I could work. But then I would just go back to sleep after a little bit.

By 6:30am, I decided to wake up and finish the poems. It was around this time that I felt the need to just email my professor saying that I would be sick and miss class. I should’ve done it, I really should have.

But then I thought, “What if this was the one day that he choose a me and I would lose participation points?” Also, what if I needed to use that sick excuse for another day when I was really dying? So being the good student I am, I decided to go to class.

Well this will be very ironic coming from a student, but this was one of the few times in my college career that I absolutely regretted going to class.

So after Sociology, I walk over to my Latin class, which is technically in the same building. I sit and go over my notes once I reach the class room. I am a little nervous because there were so many poems to go over, but I knew that I had atleast looked over them.

So the rest of the class comes in, and we are all waiting for our teacher when suddenly some one tall old man comes in. He asked with an English accent, “Is this the Latin Catullus class?” We all nod, and he just comes in and sits down. He says that he is taking over the class for today. I thought to myself, “Wow, I really could have missed this class today.”

So he comes in, and he seems nice and everything. But he also seems very straight-forward. No wasting time and no beating around the bush.

So I was a little antsy, and I was hoping that he wouldn’t be like my professor and just choose people.

Of course he did.

And guess who he chose first…

Ugh.

So before he even chose me, he was already staring me down for whatever reason. Most likely it was because I was the only “melaninated” person in the room, which always received attention.

He was talking about the current poem that we were about to discuss, which we had talked about maybe a week ago. Unfortunately, I had not really focused on that poem because I thought we would move on, but instead that was the focus for half of the class.

My luck is just amazing.

While he was talking about it, he was talking about how controversial and sexual it was, and he used the word “Racy”. Right when he said that word, he stared at me. I stared right back at him with disbelief. Did that actually happen? I even smirked a little bit.

I’m sure the class took the word just the way it was intended to be taken: sexual, lively, entertaining…

As for me, I took it differently.

Just the way he said it and the way he looked at me when he said it, I knew what he was getting at. I believe he meant to say that word in a way to pertain to race, and I was not having it.

I already felt like me and this guy probably would not get along.

And maybe he felt that too, because he quickly pointed to me (like actually pointed to me), and said “You, what is this poem talking about”. I was taken aback, but at the same time, I felt like I was expecting it, since he never once moved his eyes away from me except to look down at the poem for a second.

I looked at the poem and my mind went blank. I knew what the poem was about. I knew it was about this guy having a sexual desire for a girl, but everything in the middle was a little confusing for me. In the poem, I didn’t really catch on to the fact that he was forcing her to stay home for him.

Anyways, the point is, once he pointed to me and asked me to answer, my mind drew a huge question mark and I didn’t say anything. All I said was that I knew the main character and that was it. I didn’t want to feel dumb by saying it was sexual, even though it really was. Maybe I really didn’t know this poem as well as I had hoped.

Anyways, there was a silence for maybe 10 seconds, and then he chose someone else to answer. The person answered perfectly.

I kind of felt bad at the time, but I didn’t want to show it because I knew that almost every eye in that room was on me. There was always this girl in there who constantly stared at me every day in class, so I knew her eyes were on me.

What I really hated was the fact that it was as though I had solidified his idea of me. He probably just wanted to test how smart I really was. He wanted to see how much I knew. Once I didn’t say anything, it probably justified his assumptions, which really pissed me off.

I wanted to blame it on the lack of sleep, I wanted to blame it on the fact that I was giving him an attitude for the “racy” incident, I wanted to blame it on the fact that my break was not as relaxed as I had wanted it to be (due to a mentally-unstable roommate, who by the way moved out this break as well :D), I wanted to blame it on the fact that I was caught off guard. But honestly, I couldn’t really blame it on anyone or anything except myself.

I should have said something.

And the worst part of it was that I felt that my failure allowed others to feel more comfortable when talking. They probably thought that they weren’t as bad as me. He called on people to translate, and he called out a couple people on how bad their readings were, but even that was better than my response (or the lack of one) …

Also, I know that he will probably say something to my professor because he will definitely remember me. I mean come on, he can just say, “The ‘black girl’ in your class did not say anything when she was called upon” and my professor would know exactly who he was talking about. If it were anyone else, he wouldn’t have a name and the professor wouldn’t be able to pinpoint who it was. Ughhhh.

I can just tell that my professor will call on me next class. Hell, he might even make me translate everything for that day. Now, I really have to be on my A-game on Friday.

I hate how I feel like these problems come down to race. If I weren’t the only black girl in the room, I highly doubt that this old man would have called on me.

The crazy thing is that, all problems aside, I really liked this guy. I liked how he taught the material. It was actually what I had expected to get out of my Latin class when I enrolled. I like how he broke everything down and made me see the poetry in a whole different way. We talked about this other poem about inviting this guy to dinner, but it was so cool how he made us see the invitation inside the poem. I also liked how he stressed that the poem at first glance is different from the hidden message. He MADE us see that hidden message and it was fun discovering it. I also enjoyed how he was open to most interpretations (I say most because there were some people who he said were just completely wrong), though he definitely showed that he had favorites.

There is this girl in my Latin class who just does the most all the time. She always has this super intricate evaluation of the situation int he poem that ends up being correct, but no one would have probably guessed unless they studied Catullus for atleast 10 years. She just seemed like such an expert. It was as if she lived and breathed this stuff.

And this probably has nothing to do with it, but I found it interesting that she was probably the least melaninated person in the room. As in, if there was a spectrum for the amount of melanin each person has in the room, I would be at on e extreme and she would be at the other. Her skin was so pale and her hair was so blonde. It was as if she had never been under the sun before.

But I am pretty sure it was the fact that she knew a crap-ton about Catullus.

So she always had something to say in class, and when she said something today, the guy just really liked it and said that she was spot-on. So he asked for her name, which he never did to anyone else in the class. And after asking for her name, he said that he probably should not have asked for names, and for whatever reason, he looked at me again when he said this. What was that suppose to mean? That was the second time during the entire class that he made a remark and looked at me while saying it. Even earlier in the class, after I had not answered him, he did not make eye contact with me during the rest of class (even though I was making very strong eye contact with him. I probably was making his nervous, because he definitely stumbled through his words at the beginning of class. Maybe he was just nervous in general), up until he made this remark.

I was so surprised, yet not surprised about this guy. This may not have been the first time that I had been in a class where I was the only black person in there, but I felt very out of place in this class specifically. I didn’t talk to anyone in there even on a regular day, even though I shared a class with a few of them the semester before (maybe it will dent their appearance and their “status” to all other people in the class), so I get to class, I don’t say anything, and I am one of the first to leave. I’m only there to pass the class and get my credit for graduation. I just want to become a doctor ;(

I really do enjoy Latin, but I don’t like the atmosphere in this class.

I really enjoyed the class today, but I am truly sorry to say that I feel like I would have enjoyed it better if I didn’t have melanin in my skin.