Song of the day: 12.38 by Childish Gambino
Around March 11th, I watched a news segment on Instagram about the Corona virus. This was around the time I was preparing to mail my graduation announcements to friends and family so they could make arrangements to see me walk the stage. Four years of long nights, short days, and endless assignments that amount to a short stroll, handshakes, and a picture before I took my seat again. My graduation was slated for May 1st at 2 P.M. in the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. On March 19th, I received an email stating that all graduation ceremonies were canceled to ensure the safety of students, their family, and friends. Days before receiving this email, I couldn’t understand why I’d been hesitant to mail my announcements-- I guess it was only a matter of time to find out why.
Unlike many students, I didn’t go anywhere before and after spring break. The furthest I went was Jackson View Landing, which is about 15 minutes away from the center of Tallahassee. I looked out at Lake Jackson, brown-green marshes tinted with insects and young fishermen. Not my typical break but with my dear Nelle, it was more than worthwhile. All of my classes have transferred to zoom but only two actually use the software. I’m figuring how to navigate the switch considering that all of my classes were on campus while applying for jobs, writing poems for NaPoMo ( t-minus two days), and finishing the rest of my semester without losing peace of mind.
Corona. Spanish for crown. Noun.
I’ve never seen so many people panic and disregard a disease before:
“I’ll be fine.”
“I’m staying away from everyone.”
“Young people don’t get it anyway.”
Meanwhile, all over the world, Corona disregards age, background, and location. It takes lives. It ends birthdays. It cancels baby showers. It economically disables people that specialize in fields that require them to be around people-- theatres, museums, tourism. A few of many entities that have been halted or shut down because they don’t have emergency funding or aren’t “essential” to the livelihood of individuals.
California. Texas. New York.
All major states that have enacted a mandated curfew/lock-down of some sort. Though they are not the only states, these are the few states I may be living in after my virtual graduation ends. As a budding professional artist, this pandemic has shown me a few things.
As of today, I have 26 days left as an undergraduate student. Though the Coronavirus has taken so much from the world, my peers, and some many others, it has not taken my joy. It has not taken my drive to succeed. It has not taken the pride I have in my great city, Jacksonville, FL.
To all of the people working endless shifts in hospitals, I pray that you are protected from the disease as the frontline soldiers protecting the future of the world.
To all of the people that are blessed to work with pay and even not work yet still be paid, do understand that you are blessed and many, many people want to be just like you.
To all of the people that do not know where your next meal, rent, or utility money is coming from, I pray that your community uplift and equip you with the tools you need to at least be happy at home.
This too shall pass. For though there are things that are beyond our understanding, disarray doesn’t make the dilemma go away. Be still, remain in good graces, and never, ever let the destruction of today determine the peace that will come tomorrow. Corona’s days are numbered and I’m ready for brunch once this pandemic has come to a close. It’s only a matter of time. Protect yourself by staying home and away from as many people as possible.
All the best is yet to come,
Song of the Day: Slide by H.E.R.
Charlamagne Tha God's take on Black Tech Representation at AfroTech 2019 curated and created by Blavity Inc.
Since middle school, I've traveled from coast to coast and abroad for moderate to no cost. Through being intentional, committed, and curious, I've been able to have some experiences that some folks can only imagine having. Traveling can either be very expensive or cheap depending on how much time you take to prior plan. Here are some ways I financed/paid my trips throughout college.
This seems basic and minute but it’s a key principal in traveling. You obviously can’t spend money you don’t have but in order to make traveling more cost effective is to save at least 40% of your income. Even if you don’t make much, this can at least cover meals and travel per day. Every place in the world has an affordable means of transportation and food.
There’s a scholarship/fellowship for everything as we all know but there are some scholarships that will give you funding for traveling around the country and abroad. Scholarships like Boren, Benjamin A. Gilman, and Critical Language are usually highly competitive so in order to have a competitive application, you need a few things:
i. A specific purpose/intention
ii. A story worth reading (this is subjective but do your absolute best to sound like yourself in a way that’s easy to understand)
iii. Specific and measurable outcome/impact as well as why the experience is essential to your personal development
iv. Gather necessary materials
v. Turn it in!
If you have these qualities then you’re in the ranks to get that scholarship. There are also fellowships and programs to apply for that will partially or fully fund your experience.
(Pro tip: if you want to learn/master a specific skill, language, etc., do service, or research then look into fellowships/scholarships. Again, these are very competitive so you have to be as distinguished and specific as possible. Click here to see databases with a list of fellowships and scholarships. Some opportunities are not limited to undergraduate students too! Here's a list for post graduates/ professionals)
Some Institutions offer grants to students in order for them to further their study and exploration of a specific issue/topic. The amount varies depending on the institution offering the grant. Similar to a scholarship/fellowship, grants are highly competitive but if you follow the guideline stated earlier then you'll be well ahead of the curve. I don't have a list of grants to apply for, however, click here for an example of a grant that I applied for through the United Negro College Fund.
I hope that you gained something from this advice. Comment or email me if you have questions, comments, or concerns. If there's anything I can do to help you find more opportunities then don't hesitate to ask!
Beyond The Lights,
Today, I decided to invite my wonderful girlfriend, Renelle to the Running Water since we’ve noticed that young folks (and even older folks) have some trouble getting through the puppy love phase of their relation/situationship. By no means are we perfect nor do we want to make it seem like we are. We’re learning and growing with one another so this is simply some of our observations. You may agree, you may not, you may be confused but pay attention and take what you need.
This isn’t a one stop shop for young couples. We’re just showing the world what works for us. Please comment and give your take on our tips. What would you add? What would you take away? What was missing and should be added? Thank you for your time and be on the look out for next week’s post on The Running Water.
Beyond The Lights,
DJ3 and Nelle
Song of the day: And The Beat Goes On by The Whispers
I believe that when you do, present, or create something that isn’t quite fully yours, you give credit where it’s due. In Alpha, the Jewels acknowledged one another’s contributions and explicitly gave one another credit as a way respecting each other’s work towards the future of the fraternity. A writer’s biggest fear is being called a plagiarizer and being denied of their “truth”, whatever it may be. Honor and gratitude to the people that invested in you, no matter what stage in life you are at, is essential to any field. Most people know me as a poet first so once I started doing photography, I began to understand why so many photographers were mad when people wouldn’t tag them in their photos. I didn’t make an instagram for a while because I felt like it was the go-to way to promote my work. When I finally gave in and made a creative/photography page on May 2nd, it was good at first. I had two clients-- one of my brothers and a friend of a friend. They were very pleased with my work and tagged me in every post (to my knowledge). Now, I don’t post everything I shoot because there’s some work that just isn’t for the gram. But there was one shoot that I altered (package wise) and though it went well, it was a prime example of allowing my kindness diminish my value. I didn’t get tagged in any photos I took and it hit me differently. The internet is an electronic sea that loses and manipulates information in the blink of an eye so all I could think about was the possibility that someone could steal the photos I shot and edited. I didn’t say anything because I had already sent the photos to the client and they posted them for the world to see. I say that to say, whether its a photo, quote from a poem, or anything that isn’t yours-- give credit where it’s due. Originality, authenticity, difference is what makes us a mosaic of people and not giving someone the recognition they deserve (no matter the size of the deed or manner) is actually an insult to the person or people that put in the work to create that thing(s). With that, share and comment on the posts that you like, your thoughts help not only photographers but anyone that’s putting themselves on the front lines. Also, I want to shout out to Renelle S.T. Williams, Auntie Dory, Corey Wheeler, Charles PDF, Tre Crews, Artman Pat, Sky, and Yanté for supporting me as a photographer. I wouldn’t be here if you all didn’t believe and invest in me throughout my journey. I am because you are.
Beyond The Lights,