Product Review: Aurelia Zierre

aurelia zierre

The problem with store bought scrubs and cleansers has never been that they don’t get the job done. Typically, they leave your face feeling clean enough and one is just as good as another. But along with that cleanliness comes a dried out feeling that falls very short of refreshing. The unnatural ingredients in store bought products is what brings on this dryness. Aurelia Zierre says that “we started our company in order to give people a safer and more natural alternative to caring for their skin” and I believe they’re doing just that!

honeysuckle mintAurelia Zierre’s Honeysuckle Mint Exfoliating Facial Scrub muscles up where many other scrubs wimp out. It seems they know just what’s needed to leave a face renewed and nourished, and don’t bother adding anything other than that. Another great thing about Aurelia Zierre’s products is that purchasing them allows the opportunity to “pay it forward”. The company, based in Washington, DC, is connected to local charities such as The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project”. Having volunteered at this program (along with Raven!) a few years ago, I know first hand that they do good and important work in the community, offering parents some time for themselves while giving children a break from the trials of homelessness.

On working with “The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project”, Aurelia Zierre says, “We decided to partner with local charities because we’ve always done volunteer work throughout the city and believe that we could also help by donating 10% of our proceeds to local charities. We reached out to our supporters and customers in order to get an understanding of what charities people held dearest to their hearts. We wanted to only partner with organizations that had a direct impact on the lives of Washington DC residents in need of a little extra help. Playtime Project was an organization that we heard plenty about when we reached out; we fell in love with what they do and made sure to link them to our altruistic dreams. We will continue to add products to our line with the hopes of partnering with more charities. As we grow so will our reach.”

Review written by Kesia Webster

To try out the  Honeysuckle Mint Exfoliating Facial Scrub visit Aurelia Zierre’s store at AureliaZierre.storenvy.com or check them out at the H Street Market at 806 H St. Northeast, Washington, DC.

Also check out their other sites:

Blog– AureliaZierre.tumblr.com
Email– AZ.Scrubs@gmail.com
Instagram– Aurelia.Zierre

 

You can also check out homemade soap by Yiaya, their sister store, which I also had a chance to try and adored! Products include Vanilla, orange, clovebus, vanilla pomegranate and colendula and honey with arise.

Email– loveyiaya@gmail.com
Instagram– yia_ya

Pursuing the Art of Taste

SHANAI IMG_6195

City: College Park, MD
Occupation: Student & Tutor

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Shanaí, a senior Biochemistry student at University of Maryland. Go Terps! Aside from being a student, I also enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, and cooking of course! I’m a very positive, free-spirited, and energetic person.

When and how did you learn to cook?

image5As a home-trained chef, I learned to cook from many sources. I come from a large Caribbean family with a long line up of chefs and I have always been surrounded by lots of food. Family has really been my first teacher. I also draw inspiration from cooking shows like Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, and also from other foodies and food blogs.

What inspires you about food?

Food is one of those amazing connections that anyone can enjoy regardless of social constructs and barriers. I’ve always loved creative arts and cooking is one of the most enjoyable ones. It’s amazing to create something that evokes memories or feelings through taste.

What/where is your favorite place to eat?

Aaah. It’s hard to narrow down just one place or food!  Seafood is one of my favorites, mainly shrimp, crab, and image3sushi. I also recently tried ceviche, which is a South American raw spiced citrus fish dish, and loved it. Some of my favorite places to eat are Sardis, Hibachis, Blue Dolphin, and, Olive Garden.

How and why has food become such a large part of your life?

After struggling with losing and maintaining my weight almost my whole life, I’ve finally accepted that eating healthy and nourishing your body is much more important than counting calories or stressing over weight or size. I started my Instagram food page, @TheArtofTaste, last year as a way to cook and eat more nutritious and less processed foods.

What would your last meal be?

Definitely some type of Alfredo pasta with lots of shrimp and crab.

Where do you get your recipes?

The best recipes I’ve gotten have come from family. I also use online recipes from use Food Network, Recipes.com, Food.com, and Bon Appétit. I also get recipe from my favorite Instagram food blogs like @myhealthydish, @thekitchenista, and @ecsince80.

image6Why do you think there is such a lack of women in the culinary field?

It’s almost ironic that there is a lack of women in a field that is sometimes expected as a profession or skill for women. I’m not entirely sure why this is.

Any words of advice for aspiring chefs?

Stay creative and new with whatever you do and don’t be afraid to take risks. Expressing your creativity and putting your own spin on things is what sets you apart!

Follow Shanai’s food page on Instagram! @theartoftaste

February is for Food Lovers <3

February is considered the month of love. Everywhere you turn are commercials and articles giving relationship

advice, compatibility quizzes and coupons for edible arrangements. But I’ve decided to take at a look at a different type of passion for this month. FYM Project will showcase Food Lovers for February. Foodies, connoisseurs, chefs, etc. This month celebrates those who have an unwavering and unashamed love for food shows, recipes, restaurants, snacks and everything else in between. For those who get more excited about ordering dinner than who they’re eating with. Who plan their day around their meals. Who wake up in the morning visualizing what they’re going to make for dinner instead of what you’re wearing for work. This month is for you 🙂 I’m excited to showcase two women in the next week who have made food a lifestyle in the most creative ways, stay tuned!

There is Beauty in Simplicity

HANEEFAH  haneefah3

Age: 23
Occupation: Currently a Student of Pharmacology and Drug Discovery
Hometown: Ilorin, Nigeria

 

How long have you been designing?

I’ve been designing since I was really little. I loved to draw and doodle so I drew designs, but I started it as a small business about a little over two years ago.

 

What kind of women do you design for? How do you want women to feel in your clothes?

I design for the average modest woman. I have had to incorporate my faith into my designs and interpretation of those designs. I want women to feel covered, comfortable and be able to further express themselves with my clothes on them.

haneefah8

Who are some of your favorite designers?

I do not have a particular designer in mind, but I do admire a few design houses, like aab and iamISIGO.

 

How would you describe your style?

I usually have difficulty describing my style really. It projects who I am, it is comfortable, it is versatile and most importantly, simple, because I believe there is beauty in simplicity.

 

What motivated you to pursue this passion?

When I was wrapping up my BSc, I had to spend an extra semester in school, so I had lots of time on my hands. I decided to open a blog and open a portal for discussion for women all over the world; somehow, it evolved into me sharing my work which included the arts and crafts I dabble into all the time. So, with most of the nice comments I got and encouragement, I continued updating the blog at least once a week. Then my mum got me a sewing machine around that time for my birthday, hence started my sewing journey. As I am self-taught, I had to check, learn and re-learn a lot of things online because prior to when I got a sewing machine, I was always looking for no-sew projects I could easily do. I started sewing for myself at first, then friends and family asked for details and wanted to wear my cloths too! I provided the designs people saw on me on request and then went ahead to launch a collection later on. Production is currently on break now because of school. haneefah7

 

What is it like being a brown girl in the fashion industry? 

haneefah6I have not fully incorporated myself into the fashion industry yet but I already know the intense competition out there. Networking is not hard if you have a well-developed and unique brand.

 

Where do you get your ideas on what styles to make? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Mostly online. I love watching E! a lot so I get some ideas there, I love to draw inspiration from nature especially when it is pertaining to colors.

 

haneefah4What advice do you have for other girls who want to pursue designing as a career?

To never give up. Lots of time, I’ve almost quit, but I didn’t, it could get frustrating at times, but the beauty of that is you get to enjoy the good times due to perseverance and hard work.

 

Want to get in touch with Haneefah and see her designs? Check out her blog  www.muslimahanie.comher clothing website http://www.haniecollection. com (not up to date),  follow her on twitter @ms_hanie and instagram @muslimahanie

Additional info: I’m currently in the UK now, for my haneefah1masters degree programme therefore I had to take a break for about a year so that I can focus on my education because I think that is important too. During that period, I would plan better ahead for the future. haneefah2

 

 

Making A Statement Using Fabric

ANGEL Angel1

Age: 29
Occupation: Self Employed/Full Time Medical Student/Mentor
Hometown: Baltimore

 

How long have you been designing?
4 years

What kind of women do you design for? How do you want women to feel in your clothes?

I design clothing for men and women. I design clothing based off the needs of my clients, if they are looking for trendy, traditional,high fashion, I pride myself on listening to my customers needs. I want my clients to feel like they are expressing themselves and feel confident in my items.

Angel4Who are some of your favorite designers?

Yves Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli

How would you describe your style? Angel3

I describe my personal style as artistic and without boundaries.

What motivated you to pursue this passion?

I have always loved fashion even as a child, I think that Tyra Banks motivated me to want to be the person who could allow the model to make a statement using fabric.

What is it like being a brown girl in the fashion industry?

Being a brown girl of different ethnic backgrounds and moral backgrounds has made it difficult. Being any kind of true artist you are never really understood for the craft that you love dearly. The journey has been difficult because of me majoring in the medical field. I have two skills that require a lot of my attention, which makes it hard on my social awareness scene. Thus its hard to attend events that could give me exposure so my marketing methods have to be a little more traditional then others. I think the most difficult part about finding support is finding genuine support. A lot of people in our era do not value the concept of continuous hard work so its difficult to find people with the same work ethics as you.

Where do you get your ideas on what styles to make? Where do you draw inspiration from?

I get my ideas from artists. I go to art galleries and sit with art students from across the United States and get a feel of what art is eye indulging. I am also a great fan of DIY projects.

Angel2What advice do you have for other girls who want to pursue designing as a career?

My advice is to learn about fashion, study your target, learn about being in business and always conduct yourself as a professional woman at all times. Integrity, consistency, and hard work is the key to success always.

Want to get in touch with Angel? Check out her Instagram @Aye_itsangel_, her LinkedIn: Angel King or her meet up page: Angel King!

 

As always, if you want to suggest a topic, wish to be featured or have any other feedback, feel free to contact me at raven.best5@gmail.com

 

Our Style, But Where Are We??

So a little while ago, I got a DM on instagram from a lovely lady named Angel King who was inquiring about how to be featured on the blog. She is an upcoming designer in the DMV and is looking to get her name and brand out. Now I jumped at the request because she is the FIRST person to reach out to me and suggest a topic, therefore October on the blog will be showcasing and celebrating brown Female Designers!

While thinking about the types of questions for this set of features, I realized how necessary this theme was, especially considering the numerous fashion weeks taking place across the globe during this time of year. I’ve been noticing a lot of people commenting on how (once again) many components of black culture are being adopted into the fashion industry. For example, all of sudden baby hair, durags and head wraps are in style on the runway. What may seem to be “new” accessories or hair styles to some, these trends have been a part of black hair culture for decades. But all of a sudden they are now high fashion and deemed “urban fabulous” because they’ve been attached to white bodies.

It never ceases to amaze me how much of our culture is appropriated without due credit, representation or respect. How many black fashion designers do we see during the fashion weeks in New York and Paris? How many black contestants are included on tv shows like Project Runway? But our styles and concepts are quick to be copied, rebranded and resold while we are excluded. So in an attempt to increase visibility and appreciated for black female designers, the features for this month are of women trying to make a name for themselves in fashion; to share their stories, designs and passion.

 

As always, to be featured or to suggest a topic, feel free to email me at raven.best5@gmail.com!

 

Remember to follow The Free Your Mind Project on Instagram @fymproject and like The Free Your Mind Project on Facebook.


Thanks for reading!

Proving Them All Wrong

DAVIAN davian3

Age: 21
Occupation: 1st Grade Teacher at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School
Hometown: Washington, DC/Oxon Hill, MD

 

Life as a Black man in the U.S. has been a definite struggle but I would never change any part of who I am, even if it means that my life would be “easier.” Growing up in SouthEast DC, one of the poorest predominantly Black cities in the U.S. and moving to Prince George’s County, Maryland, one of the most affluent majority-Black counties in the country has come with it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. I love who I am. Where I come from. What I represent. But to some, who I am, where I come from, and what I represent does not sit well with them and they feel threatened by my mere existence. Stereotypes, judgements, perceptions. I would be a fool not acknowledge that Black men are targets for destruction in today’s society and the truth is being a black, Christian“gay” male doesn’t many things any easier for me. The intersection of these identities has presented a plethora of very unique and challenging experiences throughout my life. But I can’t help who I am or how other people judge me..and honestly, I couldn’t give a shit.

davian4Recently, it “seems” as though more and more black males have been the victim of senseless acts of violence, racism, and discrimination but this isn’t necessarily true. It isn’t that it’s happening more often, but more often it is coming to the light of public acknowledgement. It is sad to say that this is nothing new and to some it’s the norm. But why is this the case? You would think that after slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, the Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago, and the election of this country’s FIRST Black president 6 years ago, that we would see progress. Indeed, some progress has been made but it has been very, very miniscule. The truth is…shit hasn’t changed.

Hearing stories like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jonathan Ferrell, Eric Garner (the list goes on and on…and on) truly disgust me. Why am I still more likely to get pulled over? Why am I still more likely to get arrested? Why am I still more likely to serve more time in jail? Why am I still more likely to be shot and killed by an officer (a white officer)? It seems like no one can give me a true/valid answer. Nowadays, Cops are not shooting to wound or apprehend. They are shooting to KILL! Their force is excessive. Why? Because they are threatened. But why are they threatened? Because Black men are stereotypically labeled as aggressive, negligent, killing

machines. Black men are constantly demonized and criminalized. We are not provided the same opportunities as other men and when we are,Davian2 we have to fight for the leftovers.

Even after attending the University of Maryland, College Park, a mixing bowl of students of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, abilities, sexual orientations, backgrounds, lifestyles, etc. I could not forget that it is still a predominantly white institution. I truly enjoyed my experience there and the people I have met but I will never forget the subtle signs of racism, the stares when I was the only Black male in my engineering courses, the white female students who crossed the street when they saw me coming, the group of drunk white guys who didn’t think I heard them call me a nigga or a fag on the Quad. It could have been so easy for me to look down on white people as a group for the poor actions some of them have made but that wouldn’t make any sense. Just how all Black men should not be ridiculed for the poor actions that other Black have men have made (rape, murder, abuse, theft, etc.)

Last October, I joined the 2014 Teach For America DC Corps and I am currently a 1st grade teacher at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in SouthEast, DC. Of a staff of almost 50, I’m one of three males of color. In a field where white females are the majority and less than 2% of teachers in the U.S. are Black men, I feel even more marginalized. Black male over-representation in the U.S. prison system and under-representation in the U.S. school system has always been a painful nerve in the back of my head. But that makes my job so much more important for not only me but for my students. It’s important for my students (who are majority Black) to know that black men can be teachers. We are not all aggressive. We are not all gangbangers. We are not all drug dealers. We are not all NFL/NBA players. They all have a “choice” in what they want to be when they grow up but it will not be easy. They have to fight back. They have to advocate for themselves. But in a very proactive, productive, and non-violent way because if they choose the opposite, we will only be acting as the fools they predicted us to behave as.

davian1I know people didn’t expect me to make it this far. To make it past my teen years. To graduate from high school as Salutatorian. To attend a predominantly white university on a full ride and graduate on time. To start my master’s program in education at Johns Hopkins University. But that’s fine. I’m not going to stop until I get my PhD and become another black man who they address as “doctor”.

 

Want to reach out to Davian? Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @davey_divito or Email him at davianmorgan1@gmail.com

A PWI Experience: Finding New Opportunities and Avenues!

JANAEJanae`

Age: 22
Major: Broadcast Journalism at University of Maryland- College Park, currently a Grad Student at Ohio State
Hometown: Pine Hill, NJ

 

Why did you choose Maryland?

I fell in love with Maryland from the first moment that I stepped on the campus. I just had a feeling that this was my next home and I was correct. I visited the campus on a tour and I thought their was something in the water because every student I talked to seemed obsessed with it. I really feel like I found myself and found my passion while I was here.

What was first semester, freshman year like? What was the adjustment like?

The first semester was interesting. I lived in a predominantly White dorm, Centreville Hall. I was in the Scholars program. Most of the students on my floor wanted to stay in and hang out with each other or play mario kart. I did make a few friends but I was also the only African American girl on that floor which was a HUGE adjustment. I was used to diversity and while that existed to an extent on my floor I did feel disconnected from the Black community. Eventually I found my niche through RHA (Residence Hall Association), I started attending BSU (Black Student Union) as most Black freshman do. I got involved pretty early on and started making friends outside my hall and that made the adjustment much easier.

Janae6Would you say you found your social niche?

Yes I definitely found my Niche(s). I wanted to take every opportunity that Maryland had to offer so that I could have the full college experience. I worked with the Residence Hall Association to represent on-campus terps and plan events, I became a campus tour guide to convince other incoming students to fall in love with my school. I became a Resident Assistant, and then a Orientation Advisor and I even pledged a sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I loved joining so many things because I created different diverse social circles and I really think those made my college experience.

What is it like being a black female at a PWI?

Pros:I was really able to explore Black beauty on this campus because of some of the inspiring mentors and Janae4upperclassman that I met.

I actually had a lot of African American female mentors and professors. My associate dean of the journalism school is African American, three of my journalism professors were African American women of color, my Higher Education mentor was a Black woman. So I was able to spend the last 4 years growing and learning from women who inspired me and made me believe that I could be successful in Higher Education too.
Cons:

It was hard at first because I was placed in a predominantly White Residence Hall so I didn’t really meet other African American females and males until the end of my first semester.

Janae7What kind of activities or groups were you a part of?

University of Maryland Orientation

University of Maryland Department of Resident Life

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Residence Hall Association

Maryland Association of Black Journalists

College Park Scholars

Students Helping Honduras

Janae2

What is your favorite thing about Maryland? Any dislikes?

I love the fact that it is so huge it creates so many opportunities and avenues to meet new people and learn from those people and explore their cultures, backgrounds, ideas, and minds. I made friends from my freshman orientation 4 years ago up until my last semester senior year and those are connections I will always cherish.

I honestly don’t really have any dislikes. I will say that I am an African American female who graduated with Straight A’s  all four years with the only 4.0 in my graduating class and I feel like that was never recognized financially. What I mean by that is I feel as though extra scholarships or grants through the school would have been really helpful over the last couple of years and sometimes it’s frustrating that athletes get full rides and students who excel academically might only get an email saying Congratulations on making Dean’s list.

What opportunities did Maryland afford you?Janae1

Maryland helped me find my passion for higher education. This school opened so many doors for me to study abroad, to travel to other universities, to connect with celebrities and major companies, and it allowed me to make some of the most amazing friends.

Would you say you enjoyed your experience at Maryland?

I LOVED Maryland. I am a huge advocate for Maryland and I probably always will be. I loved my time here because I spent the last four years excelling academically but also enjoying my experience outside of the classroom and the mentors I found at Maryland helped me make sure that I didn’t waste away my four years but actually spent them finding myself and what I was passionate about.

Janae5What advice would you give for others trying to decide on college?

Go to the school that feels like a home. You spend four or more years there you want to make sure that you choose a university that gives you a feeling of comfort inside. I found that at Maryland and I hope that all students attending college find that too.

 

Want to reach out to Janae? Follow her on Twitter @jjanae or Instagram @j_janae!!

An Ivy League Experience: History, Inspiration & Friends Across the Spectrum!

KIKI

Kiki introducing Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee

Kiki introducing Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee

Age: 21

Major/Occupation: Political Science/African Studies; Yale

Hometown: Washington, DC

Twitter: @kikiochieng

 

Why did you choose Yale?

I chose Yale because I wanted to go to a university that valued the mind, but also valued cultivating the spirit. Yale’s focus on liberal arts is meant to encourage students to expand their minds beyond regurgitating some facts and to learn how to think deeply and critically. I also wanted to go to a school where I could feel not only inspired by esteemed faculty, but also where I could feel inspired by my peers.

 

What was first semester, freshman year like? What was the adjustment like?

Fortunately, my first semester of freshman year was a relatively smooth transition. I spent my junior year of high school living abroad in France, so I was fairly used to being independent and structuring my life and schedule on my own. My high school, Sidwell Friends, also prepared me academically for the rigorous course load.

 

Would you say you found your social niche?

I’m a very social person and love to meet new people. I participated in a pre-orientation called Cultural Connections freshman year. The program places an emphasis on the diversity of experiences of traditionally underrepresented students and issues related to racial identity. While Sidwell was very diverse, I didn’t have the opportunity in high school to engage with many minority students, so college was a welcome change. Furthermore, as a first-generation African, it was very important to me to engage with the African community on campus. I feel a deep affinity to that side of myself because my parents strongly reinforced my heritage growing up through introducing me to various aspects of their culture, making sure that I stayed in touch with my large extended family and through annual trips to the continent.

I also joined a sorority during the second semester of my freshman year, which was a lovely opportunity to meet girls from different backgrounds from all over the country. One of the things I love about being in a sorority is that you have the opportunity to meet people from different cross-sections of campus with varied interests. Moreover, the focus is on getting to know other people. I think that there are few spaces where you can have that kind of physical and intellectual diversity simultaneously.

 

What is it like being a black female at an Ivy League?

Having attended predominately white schools for my entire life, I knew more or less what to expect from Yale. Growing up, my teachers always encouraged me to perform my best and believed in me. That mentorship and guidance was essential to establishing my confidence in the classroom. When you believe in yourself, you can trust yourself in a way that allows you to take more risks. Know your worth.

The black community at Yale is incredibly kind and welcoming and I have always felt like I have a network of big sisters and brothers to rely on. I try to do the same for the younger students, so that they always feel that someone is looking out for them. That can mean a number of things – insuring someone is staying on top of their schoolwork or simply making them a big bowl of jollof rice, jerk chicken or sweet potato pie when they’re missing home.

I think it is important that black students – particularly, black women – learn to utilize the power of networking. Having access to opportunities sometimes boils down to who you know. We should become more comfortable navigating spaces that are unfamiliar to us considering that board rooms today still remain overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. Some people are intimidated by what they see as institutions that weren’t designed to include them, but you can’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and to reach out for help and guidance on your academic life and career. And when you’re at the top, don’t forget to pay it forward, so that you can cultivate your community.

As a black woman, I have often struggled with the feeling that I have been put inside a box. When people see me, they sometimes make snap judgments about my identity, which may stem from the media’s tendency to speak about black women as a monolithic entity. Even within the labels of “black” and “women”, there is such rich diversity in terms of personality, appearance and experience. Don’t let other people decide your identity for you and challenge people who put you inside the box. If you encounter ignorance, don’t necessary shun the person, but take steps to engage with him or her to help them understand your perspective.

 

Kiki and the Reverend Jesse Jackson

Kiki and the Reverend Jesse Jackson

What kind of activities or groups were you a part of?

Extracurricular life at Yale is very vibrant, so I feel like I’ve done everything under the sun!

I have a strong connection to the Afro-American Cultural Center (often lovingly called “The House”) where I serve as the Head Peer Liaison for incoming black freshmen students. I am a member of the Intercultural Affairs Council (which directs Yale’s diversity efforts at the undergraduate level) and the Title IX Advisory Committee (which helps spearhead ensure that we have a safe campus and a culture of sexual respect). In the past, I also worked as a Communication and Consent Educator to help combat sexual violence on our campus and direct people towards resources at Yale.

I love to write, so I write poetry and short stories in my free time. I also write occasionally for campus publications like the Yale Daily News and Broad Recognition, a feminist magazine at Yale. Outside of campus, I’m the associate editor of two online publications – Ayiba Magazine and Fair Observer.

I just stepped down as the President of the Yale Undergraduate Association for Peace and Development (YAAPD), an organization devoted to creating more opportunities for youth to engage with peace and development in Africa and to preparing students for careers related to Africa.

I also work at Yale Law School, where I assist with the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights.

This year, I’ll also serve as the Class Day Co-Chair, which means that I get to help select Yale’s graduation speakers. I’m very excited for that role, especially because this will be the third year in a row that a black woman has served as one of the Co-Chairs. I think that speaks volumes about our visibility on campus.

 

What is your favorite thing about Yale? Any dislikes?

I could spend days talking about the things I love about Yale! It’s a place where students can be just as well-versed in pop culture as they are talking about the crisis in Ukraine or what’s going on in Gaza. Where you can spend your lunch break looking at Rothko’s and Van Gogh’s. Where you can casually grab a meal with one of your heroes – a senator, an actress, an activist… you name it!

But it’s also a place that can feel overwhelming – where people are so hyper-focused on filling their days (and I often guilty of that), that they don’t stop to simply look at the beautiful Gothic architecture or the fall leaves. Competing on “busyness” is the great disease of our generation. We need to learn how to slow down. One frustrating thing about Yale is that students are addicted to email, which is often subtly encouraged by how classes and extracurricular life is structured. This doesn’t set a good precedent for work-life balance and is something that shouldn’t be encouraged. It’s good to stay up-to-date, but it’s also important to unplug. I will be doing more of that as I enter my senior year.

 

What opportunities did Yale afford you?

Yale humbled me but also helped me grow immensely. I go to school with some of smartest, most innovative people in the country. I have learned that it is important to be willing to pick apart your beliefs and understand your logical fallacies in order to grow. For example, I often try to engage with conversations with people at the opposite side of spectrum when it comes to political beliefs so I can understand areas where I might have to do some deeper research to really understand an issue.

 

Would you say you enjoyed your experience at Yale?

I love that people aren’t ashamed to be passionate about the things they love, no matter how arcane the topic might seem to the outside world. The school is older than the United States itself so you can imagine what a rich history and legacy it has. How many places in the world can you take a study break and go see a Guttenberg Bible?

Yale historian George W. Pierson once wrote, “Yale is at once a tradition, a company of scholars, a society of friends.”

 

What advice would you give for others trying to decide on college?

Try to do as many college visits as you can. On a regular weekday, you can see what students are normally like instead of slightly more polished version you might see during an admissions weekend.

Make sure you consider the size of the school. After attending a high school where my graduating class was only 111 people, I knew that I had to attend a small to mid-size school in order to feel comfortable. I love the size of Yale because it’s so easy to run into people you know but the school is large enough that it’s easy to always meet new people or expand your social circle. Being in a mid-size school always allows for some diversity in class sizes – you can do anything from a large lecture of 200 students to a small intimate class of 13.

 

 

Want to get in touch with Kiki? Follow her on twitter @kikiochieng!!