The Ups and Downs of Radical Thought

Being awakened to the injustices of the world is a burden, but it is one that you can never give up once your eyes are open, no matter how hard you want to when you are faced by rejection, dismissal, and straight up hate.

This week has been full of both highs and lows for my psyche. I have gone from blissful optimism to the point of nearly breaking because the deadly combination of my passion and social media can go from being my best friend to my worst enemy with the click of a button.

After making a successful connection with someone who I believe will be able to help me on my journey to achieving some of my life goals, I became charged with energy and my hunger for change only grew stronger, causing me to “angrily” call out anything I found problematic. Unfortunately, when a person calls out a problem, they become the problem, and things can get messy. I understand that it is difficult to decipher a person’s tone through text, especially abbreviated Internet communication, but if anything I ever posted online seemed “angry” that completely underestimates the range of my emotions. I may have a thick skin, but it only goes so far. Eventually the wound hurts. In the end, I am thankful for the friends I can count on to support me through these points and reassure me that I have a right to my own voice, opinions, and feelings. Following the examples of some of my activist role models, instead of retaliate, I ignored and took a break. I have gone almost two days without reading my Facebook and Twitter feeds, only occasionally checking for anyone trying to contact me for something important. I hope to keep it up for the time being because I am starting to be dependent on the instant gratification I get from knee-jerk reactions and I am beginning to be consumed in my online activism instead of focusing on my schoolwork.

But just as I was starting to become discouraged and wanting to give up (even though it is now impossible for me to go through my day without pointing out at least one gender, racial, or culturally insensitive thing) I was so fortunate to be able to attend a Black history month event at my university featuring the legendary entertainer and activist, Harry Belafonte. His messages to fight for justice, think radically, and never give up in the face of fear and rejection has recharged me to continue doing what I do. Because if it’s not me questioning the system, who else would it be? I’ve written and said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m looking for leaders within my own peers and I’m not seeing any that I like, so I have to be my own leader. But that also brings up the point that others should not look to me for all the answers. Just as they are trying to figure out how to solve society’s problems, so am I. Despite my lack of formal academic learning in these areas, I strive to build off of what others have built in the past, adapting to the technology and culture of our times and being open to new ideas and perspectives (emphasis on the new). So even if I may seem too “out there” at first, if others join my cause, together we can start a movement.

Something I also want to mention is that most of the time my criticisms are not about individuals, but about the system as a whole and how we, as individuals, are complicit. I don’t mean to hurt any feelings or make people feel bad about themselves or their privilege. As Harry Belafonte said to our university community last night: “I only seek to provoke.”

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APICS MADness

And by MAD I mean Mid-Atlantic District.

This past weekend me and four other students from the University of Delaware road-tripped it up to Pittsburgh, PA to compete in the APICS Mid-Atlantic Case Competition. It was my first time going and being thrown into what appeared to be an already well-oiled machine of team members. The experience was stress-inducing and mentally exhaustive, but I definitely learning something new about what it means to work in supply chain and under pressure.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a case competition is, a case competition entails reading about a company, finding a problem in how they work, and finding and presenting a solution to their problem. Just like the real business world, we were challenged with working in a team, meeting a deadline, writing and presenting a plan, and persuading others that our solution would work.

Going into it, I knew I had big shoes to fill, as our school’s team had previously won at this level and gone on to place internationally. Unfortunately, we did not score well enough with the judges this time, but I nonetheless took away from the experience.

I realized that I actually know more about supply chain and logistics than I thought I did. Reading the paper I recognized all sorts of buzzwords and considered all the factors that went into making an important business decision. I found out the importance of questioning the ideas of your colleagues for feasibility. Just because someone is older or more experienced than you does not necessarily mean that their ideas are the best. Teamwork is a collaborative effort. I learned how important it is to leverage each team member’s unique strengths and how great diversity is on a team. And lastly, I confirmed my need to work on my presentation skills. It is such a critical skill to have and I have definitely gotten way better at it over the years, from not ever wanting to speak in front of people to willingly volunteering my opinion in less formal settings, but when I’m faced with a huge audience and immense pressure, my brain just dies and something goes wrong.

So next year when I return to the competition, I will have all of this in mind. I’m looking forward to becoming more involved in solving real world problems as I move along in my college career.

And in writing this up I’m procrastinating all the work I got behind in this weekend and all the work I need to get ahead in for the upcoming few weeks. Oh, and that start up competition I entered a month ago unfortunately did not make the next round but I’m in the middle of exploring a couple of different options to move that project along. Happy Thursday!

A changing vision

I’m having second thoughts, not on what I want to do but how I’m going to get there. If you follow my blog and my life closely, and know my inner most contemplative thoughts, wishes, and dreams (which I doubt because I rarely tell anyone everything) you would know that last year I attended ECAASU, which helped me to realize that I wanted to start a women and minority empowering nonprofit after I graduate, I entered a start up competition with this concept last month (I find out if I make the pitch level tomorrow), and that I currently have an amazing internship in supply chain lined up for me this summer.

But even with all of these plans and future opportunities to develop myself and learn, I am faced with doubts and insecurities. My passion for social justice work and proactivity for career advancement are constantly at heads with each other. I am a walking contradiction, a student in the business school surrounded by people who want to make money who wishes that the exploitation that accompanies capitalism did not exist. An activist who is just awakening to the idea that real change can only been made outside of our existing structures yet continues to fall back into the security and comfort of these structures. Change outside of the structure is so idealistic and it’s impossible to live outside of it, so I have come to terms that as long as I am conscious of how my future organization does its work I can help make a difference.

Then comes the doubts that I am not prepared enough now and won’t be right after I graduate to do the work I want to do. The reason why I want to help small businesses is because I am business-oriented myself. And the reason why I want to start my own organization is because I want to have a personal impact on people’s lives. One aspect of the nonprofit organization I want to found is consulting, but at this point in time, I have no idea what that entails. If I were to start in the next few years, I don’t want to outsource that work. I want to do it myself.

I need and want the experience in consulting before I graduate college but with one and a half years to go I’ve already committed myself to a supply chain internship for the summer. It was one of the first and few internships I applied to in the fall. I got an interview and I was shocked to receive an offer so soon. I didn’t have time to reflect on the direction I want to go or look for any other opportunities. The opportunity was rare and amazing and the time pressure was great. I will definitely learn something from it and I am really looking forward to working with such a great company, but there is this little part of me that wishes I had a chance to explore my options, learn a little more about my field, and what I could do with it.

Currently, I’ve made it my mission to begin working towards obtaining an entry-level position in consulting upon graduating. I don’t know how hard it will be without a consulting internship, but I think I have a fair shot at some firms. However, the really famous firms that I want to aim for probably aren’t looking for candidates like me. I only get more apprehensive when I see that their recent hires are from Ivy Leagues.

But with this plan in place I’m hoping to gain some experience in consulting, 2 or 3 years, and still be able to start working on my own nonprofit by the time I am 25. The end goal is the same but the means are a little different.

I think I’m done rambling. Good night world. I’m up early tomorrow heading to Pittsburgh for a case competition!

Sky Scarf Saturday 2/15/2014

Who’s knitting a Sky Scarf and is so done with the snow?

Me.

I am welcoming Spring with open arms. Where are you, Spring??

But no matter how much I hate the weather right now, it is pretty awesome that I can document it with a scarf.

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Those two blocks of Linen Heather are two giant snow storms, but I’m ready to phase of out this color into my greys and charcoals.