UNCG’s The Carolinian – Top Articles I Have Written

From August 2010 to February 2013, I wrote for UNCG’s student newspaper, The Carolinian. I was a regular weekly contributor, writing on topics such as: student life, state and national politics, opinions, and features.  Below are a few of my all time favorites; there were probably about fifty articles I had written, and I had not had a single one saved after I graduated. Thankfully, UNCG Archives had my back! Click on the image to read the articles (they are more readable that way). 

 

Carolinian- August 23rd-29th, 2011

The Carolinian Opinions – August 23rd-29th, 2011

 

 

Carolinian- January 2012

The Carolinian Opinions – January 2012

 

 

Carolinian- Oct 4th-17th, 2011

The Carolinian Opinions – October 4th-17th, 2011

 

 

Carolinian- Sept 13th-19th, 2011

The Carolinian Opinions – September 13th-19th, 2011

 

 

Carolinian- Sept 14-20 2010

The Carolinian Features – September 14th-20th, 2010

Carolinian- Sept 21st-27th 2010

The Carolinian Opinions – September 21st-27th, 2010

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Is My HBCU Degree Worthless?

This right here is gold.

The Misadventures of a Black Woman Scholar

That is the question I asked myself as I stared at the following tweet:

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(DISCLAIMER: In a rush to jot down my thoughts, I hastily put this blog togther….do not judge me.)

No shade?? Honey, you threw shade all the way back to my forefathers with this tweet. Although her page is now private this very public tweet caused a major firestormthat I am sure @med_school12 did not anticipate when she tweeted this. A little research informed me that she is an undergraduate student at James Madison University, a PWI. This means that she in no way is able to make such a broad, sweeping opinion and present it as fact. No ma’am.

The debate over PWIs and HBCUs is nothing new. Every year as thousands of black students pack up and head to college, we debate the nuances of both. I am aware of the backlash blacks receive for…

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When you think you have it all figured out…

We all have many flaws.  To me it seems like you can pinpoint them a lot better once you have left the college bubble and have stepped into the real world.  As a senior in college, I felt old, wise, seasoned… I am only 22, I don’t know sh*t. My personality is the type that needs to be in constant control. When things start to unravel, chaos and anxiety commence.  Words like “failure” enter my mind.

I thought after graduation that I had it all figured out. Working for my alma mater in undergraduate admissions was a dream come true and I planned to either stay there or stay in that specific field in another location.  For those that know me, I bleed blue and gold and believe myself to be a mighty Spartan.  UNCG was a passion, somewhere I found myself when I was an insecure eighteen year old. Things happen for a reason and I no longer find myself with admissions.  When I left, I was devastated. I was overwhelmed with feelings of defeat. A light went on, and I realized how much I hated working in higher education. The bureaucracy, the red tape, the rules, office politics, and the inability to express myself.  It took weeks for me to realize that this position was not for me. Working for your alma mater, you get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Working there was tarnishing how I saw and felt about the University.

As a young adult, you want to achieve great things. Our generation is so stuck on getting everything NOW, but good things take time.  I know, I know, people say that all the time and I happen to be the most impatient person ever. We do not have anything figured out. The world could decide to take a giant dump on us at any moment and we could never be completely prepared. Being in your twenties is HORRIFYING.  Constantly wondering what is going to happen six months from now send many into a panic mode. Will I meet “the one” today? Am I going to pursue another degree? Will I still have the same friends five years from now? Is Ben Affleck going to be a good Batman?

It's going to be okay

I feel like this picture summarizes it all perfectly. I am so grateful for my education, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. Also my favorite Bible verse:

“Be on your GUARD; stand FIRM in the faith; be COURAGEOUS, be STRONG” 1 Corinthians 16:13. 

You do not need to believe in Christianity or the Bible to get something out of this message.  Growing up is scary, but be courageous and be strong. 

I now work in insurance, specifically bank owned life insurance as analyst. Complete career switch from where I started out. I am scared for the future. But so excited at the same time. Look at this roller coaster ride! Just keep telling yourself to be strong and to be positive.

-Bon

Being Rude: Careful, you might end up with a fan club (Game Over)

I have a mini fan club. They wear t-shirts with my face on them with the line “Game Over”

This post is completely unrelated to career aspirations, post grad life, etc.  Take this as a lesson in being polite to strangers. 

Back in February of 2013, I was hanging out with various friends at a local bar.  We all had a rough week of boy troubles and the college senior blues.  Have you ever seen a group of girls at a bar looking upset/melancholy/bored with cocktails in their hands, staring into space or at their phones? That night, that was me and my friends. 

Suddenly, a couple of men walk up to us and attempt to make some conversation happen.  I ignore them for the most part for my twitter feed is highly amusing and I am a little intoxicated.  One asks my name. “My name is Bonnie”, I respond, without looking up.  “Oh Barney!”, says the stranger. This upsets me greatly, so I give him the biggest death stare I could ever muster and say “Game Over”.  Just like that, they were basically gone and I resumed my twitter creeping. 

FAST FORWARD: It is August 2013, 6 months after “Game Over”.  I am at my favorite small bar, which many of my college friends frequent.  Saturday night is karaoke night and I am entertained and in high spirits. A stranger suddenly comes up to me and yells “OH MY GOODNESS, Barney, I have found you!”.  he proceeds to get his buddies and they are so exuberant and excited to see me.  My reaction? “Who are you and why are you trying to hug me?”.

They then tell me the story and how I am a legend.  Apparently turning someone down with “game over” is the funniest thing in the world just because he called me by the wrong name.  I was flattered that they remembered and had hoped to run into me. Then I was creeped out.  WHY? Because they had made t-shirts! Their friends wanted t-shirts that said “Game Over”. To me it was odd, but I took a picture with them and gave them the death glare a few times just for old times sake. 

Fast forward four weekends later.  I look on facebook and what do I find? A tagged picture of me with the guys wearing shirts with my face on them and “Game Over”.  I am in disbelief and must see this for myself.  Surely, they are not wearing these in public.  We meet up at another favorite bar of mine, and sure enough, they are wearing the shirts. 

 

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Game Over- Photo Cred: Sovan’s FB page

Not only do A LOT of people I know frequent this bar we are at, but many are asking why my face are on the shirts.  They tell the story while I am embarrassed beyond belief.  My friend tells me I should be embarrassed for them, but no.  Embarrassment was coming from the fact that my rudeness and disregard for manners had carried “Game Over” this far.  

Switching gears: Now why did I get so angry when Sovan (Mr. Game Over) called me Barney?  This stems back to elementary school. Kids used to make fun of me relentlessly and called me Barney.  My favorite color growing up was purple and I wore it all the time which did not help matters at school.  I hate purple now and the name Barney as a result. 

Now, did these strangers know that? No. Was being 2 lemon drops and 2 cokes and rum in give me an excuse to be rude? Never. So there is a lesson to be learned here. MANNERS MATTER. 

The positive side to this besides learning to be nicer, is that I am hoping to redeem myself and make friends with these gentlemen.  Also, my mother wants a shirt. 

Admissions: A whole new world

I previously mentioned in my last post about getting a job as an Admissions Counselor for my alma mater.  I have been on the job for ten days, and boy, have I learned so much!!  Transitioning from a student to a young professional was a daunting thought prior to graduation, however, I have found that the transition is not too scary.  Why? Because you need to surround yourself with people that are in the same boat in order to have a smooth sail.  Well, smoother than if you were going solo. Having support from colleagues is key! Interaction with them will keep you sane, believe me. 

I have gone off on a slight tangent… 

So I have just returned from SACAC’s Dry Run conference (SACAC = Southern Association for College Admission Counseling).  The conference was an opportunity to meet young professionals in admissions as well as to get a taste for what the profession entails.

MY HEAD IS SWIMMING! In a good way… There was a lot to take away, many tidbits of advice, and information that can be applicable to many careers in Higher Education.

 

Let me start by saying that I have chosen the right field.  I am obsessed and want more.  Some of the things I have learned so far are listed below, in no particular order.

Time Management and Planning

This is obviously one of the top priorities for any job- if you cannot juggle multiple things and manage time as well as planning, well, you need to learn. 

Stay Hyped and Love Your Institution

Do you wake up excited for your job? No? Well you should, for many reasons.  Yes, there are going to be days when you think people are unbelievable, but that happens in every field! You work for a school, surrounded my intellectuals. Love the institution you work for. LOVE IT. Find one that is the perfect fit for you, just how students are trying to be admitted into schools that are a perfect fit for them.  This is matchmaking people; you do not want to be matched with something you dislike!

You will never stop learning in Higher Ed. Never.

I used to have an internship in Credo, formerly Performa Higher Ed where some of the most seasoned folk in higher education were working.  Something I noticed is that they were on top of news, trends, alerts, etc 24/7.  I have noticed the same for Admissions.  Keep an open mind and become a sponge.  Absorb everything.  Write notes.  Research.  Want to become top dog? RESEARCH. And share because knowledge is power.  

Network

Along with learning and researching, networking is another part of Higher Education that is key.  Someone else may be using practices better than yours, have many of the same ideas, or have lots of advice to share.  Networking with professionals in your field gives many perspectives, opportunity for growth, and potential new best friends.  You know what they say- it is about who you know but it is also about how they know you! So make a presence. 

Teamwork makes the dream work (thanks John Nesbitt)

Teamwork.  I mean do I really need to explain that? Work with others. Get ‘er done.

YOU ARE MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE…

As well as helping dreams come true.  Not only are you helping your institution with recruiting bright minds, you are educating them.  Educated people make the world better since they are ones that will help others in turn.  We are a smidge in this giant circle of life, helping others realize their dreams and aspirations.  If that doesn’t make you feel good, then I have no idea what would.  Those in higher education should feel warm and fuzzy prior to going home to that glass of chardonnay.  

Yes, work is stressful.  Who am I to talk with only ten days of experience under my belt? I am someone who is bursting with optimism.  A lot is expected from us, from students, parents, the administration… Since there are so many expectations, we should go ahead and assume that we are super important. Because we are! 

 

Post-Grad Life: If its not the scariest time of your life, you’re doing it wrong

There were either two emotions most of my acquaintances were feeling when graduation from a 4-year institution was nearing: happiness or saddness.  There is no doubt that graduating college can be a bittersweet moment, however most everyone I knew was either ready to get the heck out or just really wanted to stay forever. Me? I wanted to stay in college forever.  The G word (graduation) would send me into a frenzy of panic attacks back in March and April.  But guess what? Here I am writing about it, happily employed.  The average college student rakes up thousands in student debt and in today’s economy, finding employment straight out of college is looking bleak. Same old same old, I am probably preaching to the choir here.

Regardless, I am scared out of my mind.  When I was 18, 19 and 20, there was that security blanket of knowing what the next year would bring as I registered semester after semester for classes.  College kids live in a bubble of security; little do they know what awaits them after graduation! Even with employment, does a post-grad know where they will be in a year or two? Nope. It is so scary to think about.  You could be in another state, engaged, in school again or get pregnant (sorry, I watch way too much reality television).  It is a dog eat dog world out there where many have the “each man for himself mentality”; many of your friends have scattered across the state or nation for grad school, career options or going back to mom’s basement… Now you have to make new friends… If this does not scare you, or life during your 20’s does not scare you in general, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. 

You need to experience life in a manner where you have no idea what is coming next.  Yes, security is good and everything but life itself is not a guarantee.  I strongly believe that the five years after your college graduation will make or break you.  Forget a mid-life crisis, a mid-20’s life crisis definitely sounds a lot worse! Yes be scared, but enjoy it.  Have you ever been so scared you liked it? That’s how I think post-grad life should be. It’s exciting, it’s scary and it’s something to be embraced and enjoyed. Get some cool stories with good lessons to tell your children later in life.

Taylor Swift says it perfectly in her song “22” (being cliche, suck it up).

“We are happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical“…

I cheated.  I am still going to be at the university I graduated from. Working for them in admissions! Higher education is the ideal career path for me despite having majored in Economics and Political Science.  Leaving my alma mater was something that was too much to handle, yet I am excited and scared for the doors it will open for me in student affairs.  Ruling the world starts with education.  Time to influence little ones out there.

Enjoy future stories of struggles and triumphs.

-Bon