6 Things Hampton University Has Taught Me.

So I choose 6 because 2016. Get it? I know I’m corny. I spent 8 semesters at this wonderful institution of higher learner called Hampton University and it has taught me some truly invaluable lessons. So I thought who better to share these lessons with than the beautiful and intelligent followers of this blog.

  1. It is not always what you know, rather WHO you know. Networking is soooooo important. Literally, every internship and opportunity I’ve received are due in large part to networking. Even within your own social circles and friendships. There are numerous times when opportunities are sent my way, and the opportunity might not fit your goals and ambitions but might fit another friend – there is no need to be holding on to what you can’t use. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to opportunities.
  2. Act like you have some sense. I know you have heard this from your mother and grandparents at least growing up. But I feel like while I was at Hampton, I really started to understand that how you behave is a reflection of everyone around you. You are not only representing your family, friends, but also everyone who has every invested in you. Also, how you act in public will follow you. Your reputation is everything. First impressions are made within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone and takes about 12-15 interactions after to change that impression.
  3. Balance work and play. I cannot stress this enough. You have to be able to balance what you HAVE to do, and what you want to do – otherwise, you will be miserable fulfilling other people’s dreams. I can always sense when I am doing too much work because I begin to get super overwhelmed with the simplest tasks. If you are getting easily overwhelmed, frustrated or irritated – stop what you are doing and immediately take some time to refresh your life.
  4. Speak Up, but sometimes silence says it all. I’m always told that I don’t speak up enough. In an effort to avoid confrontation with people, often I am just silent. Partially because not everything in life needs a reaction or response, but also because I am generally passive. But, I have learned there are specific times and spaces where your voice needs to be heard. Especially if it deals with your money, your reputation or your emotions.
  5. Choose Happiness & Love. There was a young man at school who was a minister, and every so often he would say that “Love is a choice.” I don’t know why of all things that really stuck with me, but it made absolute sense. And the same could be said for happiness. Lou Holtz said that life is ten percent of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it. Respond with love and happiness.
  6. The experience is what you make it. One of the first things they told us during New Student Orientation is that “Hampton is literally what you make it. You can choose to make it lit and have the greatest of times, or you can choose to make it boring. The choice is yours.”  Honestly, this goes for anything. You choose how things are going to go up to a certain point. Even when things are going badly in your life, you can choose to stay positive and moving forward as opposed to remaining stagnant and unhappy.

So to Everyone in Onyx 11, who just started precollege and everyone at the illustrious Hampton University. Enjoy and trust the process. Even when things seem to not going your way, all things work together for your good.

Love Always,

– T. Renae

Dear Give It Up

So my ex-boyfriend and I have been broken up for about a year now… We travel in the same circles, for the most part, so we’re always running into each other. But now it is to the point where he doesn’t even speak to me at all. I still somewhat care for him, but I refuse to keep trying to be friends when he doesn’t try at all… What should I do say forget him, or reach out to him one more time? – Give it up?

Dear Give It Up,

I can definitely understand your situation as I was in a similar one in high school. If I was you would I would cut him off completely. I would still be polite and cordial towards him and don’t be rude, however, I wouldn’t go out of my way anymore to attempt to be friends with him. It’s obvious that he’s trying to get over you, because you’re such a wonderful young lady, and you should also take that time to heal as well. Maybe sometime in the future you both will be able to develop a friendship again. I would be kind, and avoid being rude, however, I would say forget him, and move on!

Keep It Classy,

– T.Renae

How To Make College The Best Experience of Your Life

So, My college years are quickly wrapping up here at Hampton Unversity. I feel like I’ve had one of the greatest experiences. I stay busy on campus, and with my school work, and scholarships. So here are some tips (and things I did) to have the best college career ever!

Get to know your professors. Your professors are such an invaluable and underused resources. Not only are they most likely in the career you are aspiring to, know people within that field of study. Professors good resources for professional development, as well as the professors can also help you with your classes. For example, if you are taking a class with professor A, and you’re not understanding it, you could go to professor B with whom you have a relationship with and they could possibly help you. Many of my professors (in and out of my major) send out TONS of opportunities for you to take advantage of. Sometimes professors will even put in a good word about you to others for more opportunities. Also, you may need a letter of recommendation or two down the road, with the relationships you build now with them will make them more likely to write a letter of recommendation letter for you.

Get Involved in Activities. Join some clubs or organization, rush a sorority, and do some activities! Do things outside of your comfort zone. Join things that are you are interested in, and a few things youre not! On campus there are tons of things to do, you jsut have to find them. Adventure outside of your dorm/apartment! Become well rounded, because graduated schools and some work force look for well rounded involved. You need to get out of your dorm, because saying in there you won’t meet new people, or learn who you are.

Get great grades. Sure, grades are arbitury measures of intelligence but they still matter. If you are planning on going to graduate school, or maybe playing with the idea of going to graduate school. Remember you are spending A LOT of money, to go to school get the most of out your money! Getting good grades also raises self-esteem because you are mastering a skill enough to be tested on it! I dont know about you, but learning in its self is a big deal to me. When I learn and understand a new concept, I always feel super excited and intelligent!

This may just be a Hampton University thing, but as a freshmen in college you should never eat by yourself (sophomore year is more acceptable). Freshmen year, you are still getting to know people so basically everyone is a friend you haven’t met you. Also freshmen friendships are still very fluid, just because you are friends for right now, doesn’t mean in three weeks you will be. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings but college is an adjustment period and you are still learning who you are as a college person, and so is everyone else in your year. I am saying all this to say meet new people, even people you don’t think youre compatible with.

Glo up in every way possible – mentally, physically, emotionally. College is exactly the right time to become your true self. If you want to stop all your bad habits, dye your hair blue, get a nose piercing, and stop taking people’s mess – GO FOR IT! Almost everyone recreates themselves in college. So build your confidence and self-esteem up, and walk in your purpose. As they say at Hampton, become Hamptonized. Change is not a bad thing. People often say when you come home from college “you’ve changed so much,” and “I don’t even know who you are anymore.” And that’s okay. You’re not supposed to remain the same person from high school or your childhood. Keep growing.

Be nice to everyone. I heard once that you should always behave kinder than you feel. Always be nice to janitors, cafe workers, staff, faculty, and anyone you pass by. You never know what someone is going through in their life, and a simple “hello”, “how are you doing,” or “you look nice today,” could chang their whole outlook on the day. I know personally when someone says have a good day to me, when I’m feeling crappy it always makes me feel so much better. Also going along with this smile, and make every day a good day. A lot of things in life are out of our control, but how we react and feel is mostly in our control. My mom told me once that happiness is a choice, and every day you should wake and choose joy. Even if you don’t feel happy, if you just smile it may make you feel better! Just try it for a week and see the different it will make. 
YOU MUST Document your college experience. Take pictures, and videos. Get a photo album, something! College goes by so quickly, and you will never get to go back to these moments. College is known to the best times of your life, so why not remember it forever. And when you are old with your grandchildren, you can show them how the world was different in comparison. It’s the best four years of your life, you’ll want to remember them when you’re old. Trust me. Take a lot of pictures, and videos and save them forever! 

What are some tips you have to make the most of your college experience? Or what will you be doing to make the most of it?

Keep It Classy,

T.Renae

Dear What should I do,

Hi, I’ve been in a rollercoaster relationship for YEARS now. It started off so promising! As most relationships do. We both fell in love, or atleast I did, and he says he did. But then after a while, he says he just fell out of love with me. We’ve walked out of each other’s lives a few times, but always seem to manage to hold on to the physical part, not necessarily sex, but cuddling and all that good stuff. My wants never change so I don’t understand why he keep coming back. Like thinking I would be okay with just sex! What should I do? I am still very much in love with him, and every time he comes back, I literally relive the memories and times of when we were good… – What should I do?

Dear What should I do,

If he is not giving you what you want or need then I would let it go. You may have to fight to let it go, but I’d let it go. There is no reason to wait around and keep trying to make the same thing work over and over again. Odds are it will be painful to let go off the thought of you two being together. When you let him go you won’t be letting go of those feelings with him so it may hurt a little. But that is the price we pay when we fall for the wrong guy. Love is a gamble, we win some and we lose some. When we lose it hurts like crap, but when we win it’s unimaginable.

And if you let it go, let it go for good. Don’t hold on to the physical stuff, no cuddling, no sex, no constant communication. I would just cut everything off so that you can start to rebuild yourself completely separate from him and with no distractions.

Let the memories remain memories and build yourself the future that you want. Don’t dwell on the past, but build a new thing.

-Heather 🙂

Travel Tips!!

So since May 2014, I’ve been on 24 flights, (and will probably be taking four flights more before the summer ends) and about two or three. Traveling sometimes is such a hassle, so here are some tips to make your time traveling much easier!

Pack light and efficiently. Normally when I am traveling, I only travel with a “carry-on” suitcase and a rather large purse. When I bring my laptop, I put it as well as anything I will need immediately (such as the TSA liquids Baggie, Book, Snacks, Etc) in the large purse. Normally TSA makes you take your laptops and liquids out anyways, so it makes it so much easier to just whip it out your purse, instead of digging in the suitcase.

  
In my main suitcase, I have a system. Heaviest items such as shoes go at the very bottom. Normally I put shoes in a plastic Walmart bag because I don’t want the bottom of my dirty shoes touching my beautiful clothes! Speaking of clothes – it has to be strategic! I would suggest light clothes that can be worn in multiple ways depending on where you’re going. If it’s summer time, and you are just going to a weekend trip, dresses are the way to go! I also try to stick to the same color palette so that you don’t have to bring as many accessories because they could go from outfit to outfit every day.

After you have planned out every outfit you need to take then pack the clothes, I roll the outfits together in a way. So I fold the item like half way, then just roll it up and pack it as tightly as I can in the latter half of the suitcase. Then on top of that, I pack underwear, bras, socks, and hair products, anything else I think I’ll need.  I have recently started just having a prepackaged toiletries “grab bag,” equipped with bobby pins, face wash, toothbrush and deodorant, and all the other things I use daily – just in travel size, already ready to go. Zip up the suitcase, and be ready to go! Then if I am carrying my laptop, or need any cords, with my suitcase already zipped and standing upwards, I place the cords and stuff in that mini section after everything has settled in the suitcase.

  
 Dress smart and light on the day of travel! This is so important. It’s okay to be cute, but comfortable, and functional is the way to go! My go-to outfit is a pair of black leggings, cute shirt, and flats, usually with a sweater, or scarf (because planes are cold!). The way you dress will make your TSA security check go either really good or really bad. For easy TSA security check, I suggest the following. Good easy to remove and put back on shoes, such as flip-flops, or flats. I would leave your belts (if you need one) and jewelry in your carry-on “purse.” That way you don’t have to worry about taking them off while in the security check line and save yourself time. Then after you’ve gone through the checkpoint, put all those things back on and be fly!

Arrive early to the airport. You never know if it’ll take you a long time for security. Or how much time boarding will take. It is better to be early for your flight than running to catch it! Early arrival to the airport will give you the opportunity to get snacks if you need it, go to the bathroom prior to getting on the plane, or find your gate in a complicated airport. As the beloved Hampton University saying goes: “To be early is to be on time, to be one time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable.” I would also try to be as kind as possible to all the staff, TSA agents, and ticket people because they can make or break your entire day!

Bring headphones! I cannot stress it enough. Something about being isolated in your own little musical world. I would also create the playlist. I have a specific playlist if I am sleepy, or trying to stay awake and do work. It may just be me, but I hate with great passion the sound of the plane’s engine. So to prevent me listening to that awful and horrific noise, I bought some BOMB Bose headphones to block out that noise!

Take a bomb travel selfie! My IG is full of bomb travel selfies, I try to make them look very artistic, and sometimes it doesn’t work. However. I suggest taking a selfie with your luggage, to signify that you are in transit, and then a very touristy picture with an amazing background behind you! I have taken to taking pictures of the scenery around me because sometimes there is no one around to take your picture. Also selfies with the scenery is beautiful as well!

    

  

HAVE FUN! Enjoy your time traveling, and make the best of every single moment, because it never lasts as long as it should.

Keep It Classy,

-T. Renae

Renae

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Anyone who knows me knows I am very strategic, and a serious Type A person. I like things to be done a certain way, and in a certain manner. I always say if it’s not broken don’t fix it. I focus on planning and making things the best they can possibly be. With that being said, I am often told by many people that I am missing out on  life’s teachable moments and the glory of the unknown. (Which I still think is total bull.) But it was really starting to get to me.
So on my 21st birthday, instead of making a wish, I made myself a promise. I promised to become more adventurous, destroy my comfort zone, and to put myself out there more. I started trying new foods, applying to opportunities I thought I would never get in a million years, doing things that scare me (Like the 10 story slide in STL), and just being more adventurous with my life.
IT IS SO HARD, to break the habit of just keeping with the monotony of everyday life. But it has really changed my life.
It has definitely taught me that life is too short to be scared to do things. It has revealed to me, how much I doubt myself. Doubting myself isn’t good, but being able to recognize, and deal with it is. I am the most capable person to do anything I set my mind to.
So I encourage everyone who reads this to start being more adventurous with their lives because it makes it so much more EXCITING! Start trying new foods, talking to new people, and discussing new ideas. I believe that once you start breaking out of your comfort zone, your life will begin to change drastically. I cannot stress it enough. Once you do it, you will learn more about yourself, have new experiences, and learn about how much you can handle. I promise you won’t regret it!
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Keep It Classy,
-T.Renae

Words [of] Encouragement Wednesday: 5/27

“If a train doesn’t stop at your station, then it’s not your train.” – Marianne Williamson

Don’t force or chase things that aren’t meant to be for you. If it is meant for you, it will come to you, or you will definitely have a way of knowing its for you. This goes for relationships (romantic or otherwise) too. Stop chasing people, the people who are supposed to be in your life will be there. Stay Encouraged.

– Ladies and Company 


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Fresh Start Friday: Experience Life

In my humble opinion, One of the greatest things in life to do is experiencing new things. I’m normally really apprehensive about trying new things but once I do finally go out and actually do it I love it! I especially love the rush of trying something new, like flying across the country to California for the first time, alone, last summer was so exhilarating. Life truly exists outside of your comfort zone and it’s a hard lesson to learn, however once you learn it and you keep stepping out of that comfort zone you’ll enjoy it trust me. You never know what types of things you really do like it and that you really don’t like, unless you try them for the first time! My mom always says “Old ways won’t open new doors.” Growing up I always remember her telling me things and go out and explore the world. She always encouraged my brother and I to find what’s out there because she said old ways won’t open new doors. So sometimes it’s good to just go cleanse your mind of everything that you thought was out there, and go out and seek opportunities and experience. Go for a run down the trail you’ve never been down before, or try some tasty new foods. You can even apply this to “experience life” mantra, to things that are not necessarily an expereince, but like a skill. If you’re very math and science type of person maybe go out and take an art class or even try your hand at photography. Life is so full of things we don’t know,  and it’s up to us to go out and find those things that we don’t know exist or that we don’t know we enjoy. We have to go experience them for ourselves. Go to also go experience things for yourself because somebody telling you how beautiful the sunrise looks is completely different than when you actually go and experience the beauty of sunrise yourself.  So this weekend I encourage you to try something go out and experience life at its fullest, in its rawest form. Take some leaps of faith this weekend and go experience life! 

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Keep it Classy,

T.Renae

“O’ Hampton A Thought Sent From Heaven Above…”

Reasons why I don’t regret going to an HBCU although many people make it seem like I should. 


So I am writing this post for all you haters of HBCUs because it is Black History Month, and I wanted to share something about my experience that I don’t often talk about, outside of my school. So I attend the illustrious Hampton University (HU), founded in 1868 in Hampton, Virginia. It started as an agricultural and trade school for the newly freed slaves, and has now developed into a world renown university. Hampton University is becoming more known for its research every year. We are one of the only HBCUs (Historically Black College/University) with a waterfront view, as well as a satellite in space!
Anyways. I am getting off topic. So here some are the reasons why I don’t regret going to an HBCU.
  1. I am getting more than an education. I’m getting life lessons, and maturing in ways that I didn’t even know existed until going to the greatest HBCU of all time Hampton University (I’m a little biased). I’m sure you could get it at another small school, but it feels so much different. I feel like my teachers want to help me, not because it’s their job. They know what my interests are, and they really help me obtain my goals. One of the main things I loved, when I visited and what made me ultimately choose Hampton, was the family atmosphere. I always felt like I didn’t belong in high school, but here within in hours I felt like I belonged, and that this was home for me. I didn’t feel like I needed to wear my hair a certain way, or behave a certain way, because every one is so different, different is the norm! I would be lying if I didn’t say that Hampton has like a set sort of standard of how you are supposed to present yourself, however everyone adds their own flavor to it, to make it their own. Am I making sense?
  2. I’ve learned the beauty of only the strong survive. A lot of people transfer from Hampton University, because they believe it’s too strict or there are too many rules. I believe that the rules are there for our own good. They give all these rules as a guideline for adulthood. As a responsible adult, there’s no reason for you to be out all night on a Monday night, or drinking your life away. I believe that HU attempts to train us in a way that would be beneficial. Hampton I think makes things a little difficult for us to get accomplished, because in the real world nothing is going to come easy. Hampton isn’t just an education for now, but an education for life. So a lot of the rules and things you learn here, carry over into the real world.
  3. Opportunities and network. Honestly at Hampton they say this all the time, it’s not always what you know, but its WHO you know!  I honestly wouldn’t have had all the opportunities I have without being at Hampton. My teachers put me in connections with people at Big name Universities like UNC Chapel Hill, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Duke and many more. So when I do go to graduate school I know that I’ll be in good hands with the knowledge these professors have provided me, as well as the connections they have made on my behalf. People are always telling me, I don’t have any real world experiences because my school is all Black. One thing that my friends and I that attend HBCUs agree is that our schools spend a lot of time sharpening our skills to be in the real world.
  4. CONFIDENCE. I no longer feel a pinch of shame being Black. I know it sounds stupid, but when everyone and everything in your face is saying Black is not this, or Black people don’t behave in this way, it’s very hard to believe in yourself. I went to predominately white schools growing up, and only now at Hampton University, an HBCU, have I really learned who I am. I love being Black, and if that makes you uncomfortable, so be it. I was no longer “that Black girl who is quiet”, because everyone is Black, I’m now known as Tanesha, just a regular person like you. I needed to go to an HBCU to gain this type of confidence.
  5. It is Diverse. Now before you go, your school is mostly Black people, how could it possibly be diverse!? You know how Black people come in all different and beautiful shades of brown, that’s how our culture is. I meet people from throughout different regions of the United States, and international students, and no one acts the same. The African Diaspora is so vast and so beautiful to me, how could I not want to be around that? People who share somewhat of the same heritage as I do. I needed to be at an HBCU.
  6. HISTORY. It seems that Black History was taught in school in a sugar-coated, “I hope you’re not offended,” way that distorted the lens in which we view Black History. At an HBCU, we not only learn our history, but we live in it. On the campus of Hampton University, we have 5 historic landmarks on campus, in addition to Emancipation Oak, where the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation was read in the South consequently freeing the slaves of the South, where Booker T. Washington walked and the halls he helped built and lived in are, where Rosa Parks worked after the Alabama Bus Boycotts, where educator and Civil Rights Leader, Septima Poinsette Clark graduated from, where students built our chapel and dorm on campus, where Wanda Sykes attended classes at, where where the FIRST African American mayor of Trenton, NJ attended, where Martin Luther King’s Mother, Alberta Williams King went to school. HBCUs are the grounds in which our people walked on, and set the foundation for us to even be able to succeed in the ways that we have, and are. History is literally the foundation of your experience at an HBCU and it wouldn’t make sense any other way.

Something that most people don’t know about me is that I applied to 37 colleges, and was accepted into every single one. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. That’s not to brag, it’s to show context. So I chose to go to a historically Black College, more importantly decided to attend Hampton University. I visited HU in my senior year of high school for a weekend, and fell in love, literally. By the end of that weekend I had my mind made up, and I didn’t care where else I got in at: I was going to Hampton University, and be apart of the HOTTEST Class of Quintessence. In essence, Hampton really chose me, and molded and matured me into the person I am today.

Every so often I will get this absurd and ridiculous interesting question of “Why did you go to an HBCU?” My answer: “because I needed to go and wanted this experience.”

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If you want to chat it up with me, or have any comments please feel free to share! Also if you have any experiences you want to share, please do so!

Keep It Classy,

T.Renae

Motivational Monday: Conquering the Fear of the Unknown

As my friends and I’s undergrad years come to a close, we all come to the point of self-doubt, fear and confusion. We all are trying to figure out what’s next, did we take advantage of all the things accessible to us or are we even prepared for those next steps in life? Undergrad at an HBCU (historically black college/university) has spoiled us with amazing teachers and professors, who were there every step of the way but as we step into the real world we all have a little doubt.

I’ll speak for myself and say I am scared and overwhelmed because for some reason I’m really starting to doubt my ability to succeed. We all have a fear of failure but we can’t let that fear scare us from succeeding in life. Nothing in life will come easy, everyday things become more challenging to abstain but you have to fight through it. You can have a little pity party because I have those but you can’t let that party take over your life, or overwhelm you. We have to take the steps in order to succeed, talking to some of your professors, researching up on the different steps, planning ahead, having multiple plans, and being ready to step out on faith. Our first and best step is talking to our professors because they have gone through similar paths and situations. Yes that can be scary but it’s worth a shot down your road of success.

This semester is the time to get out of your comfort zone because your time is winding down. Let’s get out of a comfort zone, get out of our pity party and get ready to conquer the rest of our college years. We can do this!

-A. Rochell