Thursday, 7 September 2017

10 Weeks of Research, 10 Lessons Learnt

Posing with poster
Research. Such a loaded word, and quite frankly, a word that would have scared me a year ago. So this summer, when I finally had my first "research" experience, the fulfillment wasn’t so much about the theory of the research itself, but all the lessons that came with switching from student-mode to work-mode. Here are some notes that I took over 10 weeks.

1. Firstly, I had to get over my own version of imposter syndrome, and remind myself that I deserved to be where I was. After being accepted to do HBREX (the Human Biology Research Exploration program), I felt like I’d suddenly attained something that had felt unattainable only one year before. And I felt like I couldn’t possibly be qualified for this.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

My Black Wedding Dress (A Celebration of Blackness)

Convention, Perception, and the Symbolism of the Color Black

screenshotted from Spotify
I'm listening to Chronixx's album Chronology which my Jamaican friend recommended to me. Chronixx is a Jamaican reggae artist for those who don't know, and I didn't know much about his music before. But this new reggae album is uplifting with its social commentary and personal narrative. Take a listen. You're probably wondering what this has to do with a wedding dress - don't worry, I'm getting to that.

The first song that popped up when I pulled up Chronology on Spotify was Black is Beautiful. Coincidence? I think not. He sings, "they never told us that black is beautiful". I'm taking "they" to be Western mainstream culture, but it could just as easily apply to someone or something else.

Maleficent rocking her black ensemble. Great
movie though (Source:
So aside from the very obvious denouncement of dark skin in the dark days of slavery, it's no secret that both then and now, in Western pop culture (literature, art, the works), the color black has been associated with being evil/darkness and other countless negative things. You don't even need to google it. Just think of popular sayings like blackmail, blacklist, black sheep, and the fact that Maleficent and half of those evil witches in Disney movies wear black capes. Then there's this unforgettable image of my soul becoming "black" when I sin, which has stayed with me from childhood. Religious or not, it's a poignant image. Meanwhile, white is associated with purity and goodness and cleanliness. A lot of other religious references come to mind here, like baptism, and weddings, confirmation, doves...but why?

Friday, 14 July 2017

A Note on Nobility

Am I trying to be a hero? Is that a bad thing?

I'm writing this because the other day I met someone at a house gathering and we did the usual chit-chat/small talk, “where are you from?”, and “what are you studying” and eventually, “what do you want to do after? Do you plan on returning home?”

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

To the End of Sophomore Year

(Aka The Great Settling of Sophomore Year)

I wish I’d written myself a letter at the beginning of this year so I could compare how I felt then to how I feel now. I didn’t - but I did journal a lot at that time. And I remember journalling during Summer ’16 about how excited I was about sophomore year and obsessively listing all the reasons that sophomore year was going to be the

Long story short, it wasn’t. And if I could write a letter to my past self, there are a couple things I’d like to say. Leggo.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Beauty of Community

There were one too many times this quarter when I felt like no one at Stanford really understood me, or I couldn’t really be myself around anyone, or I just couldn't fully connect with people because of cultural or personal or other barriers. Or some iteration of that sentiment has been running through my head, and I now call BS on myself.