hcla class of 2018.

I’ve done pieces of life a little backwards. It started around 8 years old when I decided to sign up for dance class. Did I enroll in the class that would build my foundation as a dancer for years to come? No, I hated ballet. I started with jazz *insert jazz hands motion here* before continuing with hip-hop, tap, modern, and ballet—in that order. This backwards decision-making followed me into college, graduate school specifically. My graduate program included two required classes: communication theories and qualitative research methods. I took both classes in my last semester. Whoops! Did I mention I also became a mother at 17 years old? Luckily, these decisions worked out for me, but they each strayed from my original, forward-thinking plans. Now here’s the real question: how could a backward decision-maker ever call herself a leader? Continue reading

Lacing up shoes that aren’t yours…

How many times in your life has someone suggested that you put yourself in someone else’s shoes? It’s a great suggestion, but how easy is that to do? First of all, I wear fancy shoes. So, I can’t imagine a man actually envisioning himself in my favorite Diba booties. Okay, that was a bad attempt at humor. But it’s difficult to put yourself in someone else’s life. Perspective isn’t easy to come by. We each go through a series of trials and tribulations, making it hard to gain understanding of those around us – and I would argue almost impossible to empathize with those around us. And by those in the above line, I mean friends and family members, people we’ve known for long periods of time. But what happens when you’re asked to understand someone who’s completely different then you are? Different skin color. Different religion. Different education level. What happens when you step into shoes that aren’t yours? Continue reading