Hey Young Girl (An Ode To The Queens of 2015)

Hey Young Girl (An Ode To The Queens of 2015)
By: Honey

“With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
― Dr. Seuss
Congrats girl! You did it! You made it! And you’ve made your family (and me) proud and now you’re on to the next milestone in your life, college. By now you’ve probably moved in or are getting ready to move into your first dorm room. I just wanted to take a few minutes and give you some advice.

1)    Take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and emotionally). I don’t care if you major in music or mechanical engineering college is going to be stressful. College isn’t stressful just because of your work load, you’re literally in a different world surrounded by people from all walks of life, and you’re discovering things about yourself you never realized. But remember you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. First, make sure you’re taking care of your mental well-being. Like I said being somewhat stressed is apart of the collegiate experience but if your stress levels are interfering with your happiness and your ability to function by all means seek help. Make sure you know how to get in touch with your campus counseling facility. This is a piece of advice I wish someone had given me. I ended up suffering a nervous breakdown during the first semester of my sophomore year because I didn’t get help when I felt like I was drowning and I paid the cost. Always take time out for “me” time. Pray, meditate, do yoga. Find something that calms you and centers you. Post motivational quotes up somewhere where you’ll have to see it daily. Find something that you are passionate about and find what motivates you.
Secondly, you need to take care of your physical health. We’ve all heard of the freshmen 15. When our lifestyles change it is so easy to put on weight. College students are fueled by cheap, fast food (shoutout to Cook-Out and Mickey D’s). Try to make healthy food decisions and yes, embrace the cafĂ© (the food is unlimited and they have a salad bar plus you’ve already paid for it so why not use it). Also make sure you find at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week to be active. Just 30 minutes. If your school doesn’t have a fitness center find a walking buddy or find some workout vids on YouTube and make it fun! My next point on being healthy is taking care of your reproductive health if you’re planning on being sexually active. Use condoms! Let me say it one more time, use condoms! You only get one body and one vagina and STDs are very real and they spread like wildfires on college campuses. Make sure you have your own supply because guys will try to okie doke you by saying they don’t have any. Your campus health center has them for free. You may be embarrassed asking for condoms but understand having to get treated for an STD is even more embarrassing and having to tell someone you possibly exposed them to one is even more embarrassing. Also find a birth control method you like. If you aren’t good with remembering to take pills look at getting Implanon or another form of birth control that doesn’t have to be taken on a daily basis. And my last note on taking care of your health is about drinking and doing drugs. First, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with (if you don’t want to drink don’t do it). Next please try to drink in moderation the last thing you want to do is wake up at 5AM and have to call Earl (throw up). Drugs are another story and I’m not talking about weed. Do not under any circumstances take pills because they do not effect everyone the same way and can be potentially fatal especially pills like Molly. You do not want the chancellor sending condolences to your mother.
Lastly, take care of your emotional well-being. Babygirl nobody is going to love you like you. I am not saying that it isn’t possible to find a meaningful relationship in college because I’ve seen it happen but most guys in college especially other freshmen are just trying to have fun (and sex) and play the field. Don’t take it personal; make sure you’re protecting yourself and your heart (Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23). Don’t listen to the words he says look at his actions (LOOK AT HIS ACTIONS). Do not disrespect yourself or allow yourself to be disrespected. Do not allow a guy to take advantage of your body and pressure you into doing things you’re not ready for (your body is your treasure and should only do with it what YOU want to do with it). Sex doesn’t equal love and love doesn’t equate sex (someone can love you without wanting to have sex with you). Make sure self-love is something you strive for. I say strive for because it doesn’t happen overnight.

2)    Build study habits. I don’t care if you barely got into college or you graduated as your high school’s valedictorian you’re going to need to revamp your study skills because what worked in high school does not and will not work in college. Be honest with yourself (What areas are you weak/strong in? What are your bad/good study habits?). Build a realistic study schedule (review your notes after each class meeting, devote at least 3 hours nightly to course work) and find a good location to study in. Visit your professors during their office hours (During class write down information you need clarification on and bring them to them then). Do not wait until it is too late to get help in a course. Make use of your college’s tutorial center (This is a service you’re paying for. USE IT!) Do not procrastinate! Like seriously don’t do that shit! I can guarantee Murphy’s Law will kick in if you wait until the last minute to write that ten-page paper (library full, broken printer, flash drive malfunction, and the list goes on)

3)     Your reputation will follow you so guard it! My mother went to North Carolina A&T in 1985 but when we go back for homecoming she can still point out who was a “Cooper Trooper” (women who frequented the all-male dorm on A&T’s campus). I said that to say this don’t be “that girl”. I am not saying don’t have fun I am saying be responsible. Guys talk just as much as women and possibly more make sure if you do decide to have sex with a guy that you’re not going to be the topic of discussion in group chat two hours later. Do not send nudes (I don’t give a fuck what he says somebody else will see those pics intentionally or otherwise). I can’t tell you how many chicks I know that have ended up on hoes exposed pages. People don’t forget those kind of things even years later. Do not frequent the all-male dorms (meaning don’t be coming in and out at 3AM on a nightly basis). Don’t be the chick who gets sloppy drunk at every function and ends up on grinding on any and everything with a pulse; that shit isn’t cute. Have fun and enjoy college but do not get a reputation for being “that girl”. That girl that let the football team run a train on her. That girl that threw up in the hallway in front of everybody. That girl that fought another girl over a dude. That girl that got put on Snapchat sucking dick. That girl well you get the idea. Use your good judgment! This is my rule of thumb for what is within the bounds of reasons (10 years from now would I be embarrassed if somebody brought it up in conversation)

4)    Friends change and for God’s sake don’t take it personal… Your circle of friends during high school was pretty tight. You all did everything together and that’s great but as we mature our friendships change especially if you go to different universities or choose to take different paths in life. Apart of maturing is finding out our interests and our passions and this may be different from those of your friends and that’s okay. This may mean that you all grow apart and that’s okay; do not take it personal. We outgrow people. It doesn’t mean you’re better than your old friends it just means that you’ve changed and they probably have too.

5)    Begin with the end in mind but be flexible… Plans change and they can change drastically. Yes, you may come to college and be “absolutely” sure you want to be a mechanical engineer but by the time you graduate you have decided you want to be an English teacher. That is okay! When I say write a tentative five and ten year plan I mean this find out what are the things that you desire most within that period of time (on one side write a list of things that are non-negotiable meaning things that you will not settle for less than and on the other side write a list of things that are okay if they change). Some people are dead-set on what they want to do with their lives. I will use myself as an example when I went to college I just knew I wanted to be an oncologist. Six years later I am about to start law school. But this is only after I forced myself to struggle towards a degree in pre-medicine that I knew wasn’t fulfilling me or living towards my life purpose. A good way of finding out if that major/career is for you is by interning. You can find internship opportunities through your school’s career services office (Again, this is a service you’re paying for. So use it!). Make sure on day one you’re preparing yourself for the real world because the next four years are going to fly by.

Queen, enjoy the next four years of your life. Enjoy it to the fullest! Take care of and love yourself fully and to all extents. Have fun! But please work hard; the foundation you are laying from day one will determine your career’s trajectory. Enjoy this time because there is no do over button in life and you can’t do it again once it all over. I want you to look back on your college years fondly. We as black women must carry a torch of excellence and be standard bearers for future generations.

***BONUS: Sororities*** This is a little something-something I wanted to throw in. I made it a bonus because I know sororities are of interest to everyone but it is of interest to a lot of girls. Being apart of a sorority is much, much more than stepping and being seen on “the yard”. Any sorority especially those that are apart of the NPHC (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho) are LIFETIME COMMITMENTS (meaning your commitment doesn’t end at graduation). Research the orgs on your campus (know that particular chapter’s history as well as the overall history of the organization, attend the org of your interest’s events). Do not run around telling any and everyone what org you want to “pledge” or join. Know the members of the chapter even if it is only by face and not name. This goes back to your reputation. If you plan on trying to join an organization protect your reputation because that is something that is looked at. Also, understand that being in a sorority is a financial obligation (membership fees, convention/conference fees, and other chapter expenses).



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