Remembering Rosa Parks

Hey friends! Today my blog post will be a little more somber than they usually are. Do not despair – there will be a FREE TIP OF THE DAY. However first I want  to take a second to talk about a historical figure that means a lot to me as an African American. Fifty-six years ago on December 1. Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat to White passengers, and her act of defiance started a movement. I was surprised to find out that Rosa Parks was not the first woman arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus.

Nine months earlier a fifteen year old girl by the name of Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat. When asked to reflect on what inspired her to refuse to capitulate to systems of white supremacy. She simply responded, “I was thinking of the slavery fighters I had read about recently during Negro History Week in February. The spirit of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth was in me. I didn’t get up.” She was arrested and taken to jail. But in doing so I believe that her actions inspired Rosa Parks, who served as Colvin’s friend and mentor.

So my FREE TIP OF THE DAY is a simple one. Stand up for what you believe in even if initially you stand alone.  The youtube video above features my colleague, Carl Darnell, the organizer of the commemoration. When he initially brought up the idea for the commemoration no one was on board, but he carried on rallied support and started an amazing event. So friends I encourage you to go out and be the change you wish to see.

Working and the holidays

Lately I’ve been thinking a bit about the work/life balance that we all hear about in graduate school. At this point in my life, I’ve realized that I’ll always be one of those people who has to tell myself to take the necessary breaks in my work schedule. Coming up on the TG holiday, I’ve set aside some time (not much, but some) for family, friends, food, sleep, etc. It will be interesting to see if I’m able to stick to my “scheduled relaxation” or not (yikes, that doesn’t sound good when it’s typed out!), given that there’s always more to do. That said, there’s real wisdom in taking that break if you need it.  But, as many of you already know, achieving that work/life balance is always tricky in graduate school.  I think it’s a critical life skill–and one that I’ve certainly not perfected yet.  But, I’m getting better with age.