Christle & Gold

Cheers to September 2017

lifeChristle NworaComment

It is difficult to celebrate August when the month ended in such chaos (hello hurricane harvey). I drove to Dallas early Friday morning, not in anticipation of bad weather, but as a last minute opportunity to visit family before the holidays. Hours later, rain and wind devoured the city I've grown to love. Photos filled every timeline and videos captured every moment. I watched friends back in Houston grapple with the destructive force of nature. 

I also watched friends back in Houston selflessly give of their time, energy and effort to help those in need. Seeing my classmates volunteering at local emergency departments and church members leading cleanups reminds me that goodness is real and sweet. My heart is heavy, but my spirit is light. I am so encouraged to lean into this month and help where I can. 

And it is on that note that I find comfort in setting my intentions for the month of September. I'm shying away from more specific goals this month and moving towards affirmations. I want to focus on cultivating a life well lived vs well planned!

Affirmation 1: It is not easy, but I am able. 
Affirmation 2: Work for it while you wait for it.
Affirmation 3: Invest your time in people, places, and spaces that are invested in your growth. 

I created the above phone screensavers to keep my affirmations on my mind all the time - visibility does the heart good. 

just do it.

lifeChristle NworaComment
sarah-dorweiler-127187.jpg

This is by far one of the most challenging posts I have ever written. Not because of length (you'll see it is quite short). Not because of lack of inspiration (I've thought about this space more days than not). 

This is by far one of the most challenging posts to write because it means that I intentionally have to carve out time for self reflection and be bold enough to share. That's tough. It is tough to come back to a space that has given me the space to share and reflect honestly. 

I'm tempted to create a goal that requires I post 2x a week or create a content calendar. I'll resist that urge and instead just write without reservation. To write. To create. To invest time in my growth. 

Hopefully that means I'll be around here a lot more! 

The First Trimester (of Medical School)

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I hope this title made you chuckle. Or at least smile.

We’ve been working through developmental anatomy and I can confidently tell you that there are no storks involved, just hedgehogs.

Okay, I’m officially done with bad puns.

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for quite some time. I initially wanted to write a post after the second week. I wanted to share my feelings of amazement and wonder. I wanted to stuff the post with “aha” moments and grand revelations. But that wasn’t the reality of my second week. Or my third week. Maybe part of my fourth? There wasn’t as much wonder as pure confusion. I’ve been lost in class before (cc OChem), but this was different.

I expected the material to be tougher. I expected the higher volume of coursework. I never expected to doubt my acceptance to medical school.

Hello imposter syndrome. My confidence was shaken. There was a level of shame and guilt that I hadn’t experienced. I couldn’t understand why I had received the acceptance letter to medical school because they clearly overestimated my level of preparedness. But then I called my mom. (Side note: mothers are great people and you should call your mom or call you person because why not).

And my mom reminded me who am I am.

More importantly, she reminded me who I belong to. The Maker of Heaven and Earth. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The Creator of biochemistry and developmental anatomy. She reminded me that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear and weakness, but a spirit of strength and resilience.

My situation didn’t change, but my attitude did. I tried to see myself as capable as the MD/PhDs, engineers or neuroscience students in my classes. I worked to change from my internal dialogue from “you’ll never understand this,” to “you’ll eventually get this.” Some days are better than others. But I’m always striving to make my next day better than my last.

So let me remind you all of a few things:

To my Law school / Med School / really any grad program friends, your hard work will be rewarded.

To my post grad friends, you’ll find your way.

To my struggling to understand physics friends, you’ll eventually understand.

To my friends, you belong. 

First Week of Medical School

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I've officially completed one week of medical school! I can't bring myself to calculate how many weeks I have left, but I do know that there is a long road ahead. This past week has been stuffed with wonder, confusion, and more than enough Mediterranean food to feed a small family. And I couldn't be happier (and more stressed) than I am right now. You remember that quote that says, "walk confidently in the direction of your dreams"? Well, I'm currently taking baby steps. 

And much like a young child, I'm in awe of everything and everyone around me. I'm in a new city with more restaurants than my wallet can handle. I'm finding new study patterns and rediscovering what activities keep me sane. I'm impressed (and slightly intimidated) by new classmates and faculty who will one day become my colleagues. 

It is incredibly tempting for me to rush through this season of anxiety and "newness." (If you've spent any amount of time with me, you know that I like to maintain a sense of control). But I'm learning that we grow the most when we are uncomfortable. I want to use this season to understand what I truly desire from these next four years and then live my life with deep intention and purpose. 

Cheers to the start of my second week and the rest of medical school career!

Gold Mine | Cape Town

lifeChristle NworaComment

This has been quite the year. From participating in a civil rights briefing, accepting a medical school offer, and graduating from the University of Texas at Austin - I can confidently say that 2016 has been filled to the brim with blessings and joys. To add even more sweetness to my life, I wrote half of this post from the comfort in my bed in Cape Town, South AfricaI'm resisting the urge to post every new moment online, but I didn't want to leave this experience without some documentation. So in my grand and never regularly scheduled tradition of blog posts, I present my golden moments from my trip!

Tourist Stops
+ Bo - Kaap and De Waterkant
+ Boulder's Beach
+ Cape of Good Hope
+ Cape Peninsula
+ Company's Garden
+ Constantia Wine Route
+ Langa Township
+ Lion's Head
+ Old Biscuit Mill and Woodstock
+ Robben Island    
+ Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
+ University of Cape Town
+ Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Savored.
+ The V&A Waterfront is an upscale shopping and dining area with a few major attractions. It is also home to a tavern with the best 2L of sangria (which I finished with little help from my friends). 
+ I had a decent amount of beef which is unusual because I'm a fish and chicken girl. But I had some of the best gourmet burgers for such a good price that makes Hopdoddy's look like a glorified fast food joint. 
+ I'm not wildly adventurous with my food, but I tried crocodile and new seafood at Mama Africa. If you go, get the chicken curry and thank me with a take away box. 
+ Mzoli's is home to some of the best braai (bbq) around. Meat on meat on veggies on more meat. The original plan was to go on Sunday for their famous Sunday and Chill, but who could resist going on a class trip with free food on a Friday? 
+ Okay - so food courts aren't home to the best meals, but y'all. When I can pay less than 4 USD for a filling lunch, I'm happy. 
+ Cape Town's multicultural background is reflected in the food scene. Our hotel was nestled between coffee shops, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Italian, American restaurants, each with a unique flavor. Also, I'm a fan of coffee shops that also serve wine and full meals. 
+ After watching three wine documentaries on Netflix, I like to consider myself a certified wine fan. South Africa is home to famous wine and gorgeous vineyards so we took a girls trip to Constantia Winelands. Went to dinner at Knead and capped off the evening with more wine. 

Explored.
+ We took a South Peninsula Tour and visited the most western southern part of Africa, got the best views and saw a few penguins. This is where we knocked out at least four different tourist stops. 
+ I'm not an outdoorsy person; I'm more of a - catch a few reruns of A Different World and browse the internet on my couch - person. But I'm so happy I hiked Lion's Head (twice)! Funny / thank the Lord story time: We did plan to hike Table Mountain. We got out of a cab (more like a mini bus that the study abroad program said not to use but YOLO, right?) and arrived at the foot of some trail. Walk a few minutes and run into a guy who agrees to take us to the start of the Table Mountain trail. Then we run into another guy who tells us that it is another 45 minutes to reach the trail and that the actual hike won't be worth the trouble because it was cloudy day. It isn't just that cloudy days mean low vision, but that you could easily lose your sense of direction, lose your footing or lose your life. Therefore we hiked Lion's Head again. 
+ Old Biscuit Mill. If you go to Cape Town, this location needs to top your to-do list. Imagine a farmer's market meets global cuisine and shopping. It is precious and the perfect spot for brunch. 
+ When in Africa, go on a safari - right? Talk about the most memorable part of my trip, most of which I won't ever retell. Let's just thank the Lord that everyone from my program is safe and sound. 

Lessons Learned. 
+ Study Abroad. As a graduating senior, I didn't think it was possible for me to fit in study abroad. It wasn't like I hadn't travelled outside the United States before and the courses offered didn't fit with my degree plan. If anything, studying abroad was an unchecked bucket list item (like visiting the Ransom Center or taking a Tower Tour). But with a little help from my friends, I filled out the application and landed in Cape Town days after my graduation. Wherever you are in your college career, I encourage you to just explore the possibility of studying somewhere across the world. 

+ Resourcefulness is key. My program required that every student participate in a service learning placement. I spent four weeks at the Retreat Day Hospital shadowing doctors and nurses in the Trauma Unit. Much like my experiences shadowing in rural Nigeria, I was reminded that resourcefulness is how you deal with disparities. Don't have a tourniquet? Use a pair of gloves. Trauma unit only has one examination space? Use a bed as your table. 

+ Take an L and charge it to the game. My phone got stolen two days before my flight home - and I was a mess. But I learned a few things about myself including: a. nothing is ever so serious that you can't move on with life b. the desire to be perfect is overrated c. surrounding yourself with people willing to take photos for you is crucial. 

+ Student protests are a beautiful thing. I attended the 50th anniversary event of Robert Kennedy's 'Ripple of Hope' speech at the University of Cape Town. Less than seven minutes into Rep. John Lewis' speech, a group of student protesters enter the building with signs reading 'UCT celebrates white icons' and 'stop US imperialism.' This had to be one of the most interesting parts of my trip. Civil Rights icon - Rep. John Lewis keeps on going as students line in front of his podium. These students stay until the last speaker and then are given space to address the crowd about their concerns. I immediately think back to the student protests at the Vietnam Summit held on UT campus. Both UCT and UT have had active protests to remove damaging iconography (cc: Rhodes and Davis statues) and both have seen tangible results. In class, we heard from a student protester who was expelled for his work and thoughts. It is encouraging to know that there will always be a group of students willing to put their formal education and bodies on the line to push notions of equality forward. 

+ Say yes. Okay - weird last lesson from the girl who needs to learn how to say no. But when faced with watching another movie or hike a mountain - say yes to a new adventure. Say yes to jumping out of a plane or yes to more wine. Yes to new foods and yes to new friendships. Say yes to spending your time with intention. 

Gold Mine | 2015

lifeChristle NworaComment
My favorite photo of 2015.

My favorite photo of 2015.

If 2014 was about challenge, 2015 was about growth. I've invested in people and moments. I've learned to trust my instincts and embrace the process. I've experienced advocacy and hope at he highest levels. Here's a quick snapshot of my year:

January
 + Made the move to Squarespace and I'm loving it! This platform is so clean and I don't have to mess with code. I spent some time writing a few pieces on this space. Some were repost from my old platform like Dry Bones and Pre Med Resources. Other pieces were brand new like my obsession with Jesse Williams and a happy birthday post to me
+ Turned 21 and celebrated with my first drink and my girlfriends.

February
+ Marched in solidarity with the Latinx community on campus after the Fiji "boarder patrol" party.
+ Partied in the Blanton Museum. Okay, so I wasn't a guest of the party but I did get an opportunity to grab a few snacks, dance with their jazz band and preview the civil rights exhibit. If I had money, I would host all of my parties at the Bob Bullock and Blanton Museums. 

March
+ Traveled to Nigeria to celebrate my grandma's 80th! My mom told me about this trip before I started college and I prayed that it would fall in line with my spring break. Thank the good Lord that it did! We flew to Nigeria, stopped in London to explore and had the most wonderful time with my family. This marked my third trip to Nigeria (1st was during elementary school and 2nd was the summer before starting college) and I can't wait to go back. 

April
+ If there was an emoji for the month, the trumpet with confetti would sum up my April. This is the month where my 2014 struggles started to make sense. And I was able to sum up those experiences in my May post!

May
+ Reflected on my junior year in this post. Thankful to my squad for helping me survive my day by day journey. 
+ This was also an emotional month because of graduations and senior send offs. Can't believe I'll be graduating soon! 
+ The travel bug hits again with a trip to NYC with my family! 

June
+
Settled into my internship with the Texas Health institute. I worked the Primary Care Conference in San Antonio and met my hero, Dr. Morris Singer!
+ Knocked out a few items on my bucket list including hiking the Green Belt or visiting the Bob Bullock African American exhibit. 
+ Ate a lot, worked out more. That's how it is supposed to go, right?

July
+ Sunk my feet into beach sand in Galveston. Took a mini vacation with my family and I loved it.
+ Moved from West Campus to North Campus and I never had to worry about wild parties waking me up ever again. 

August
+ Read Between the World and Me. If you haven't opened the book, do yourself a favor and buy it now. 
+ Also read Jesus Feminist. I hated that book. Don't bother buying that one. 
+ Started my last fall semester of undergrad! Got my nails and eyebrows done to start the day and led the Eyes of Texas for the freshmen welcome. 

September
+
Crowned Black Homecoming Queen. Which is the most unexpected thing that has ever happened to me!
+ So many happy hours and nachos. 
+ Had my very first medical school interview in Lubbock, Texas! Praise the Lord for answered prayers. 

October
+ Sat in on Dr. Moore's Black Power Movement course (and on Nigeria's Independence Day!)
+ Led the Eyes of Texas on the field for the Red River Rivalry in Dallas. Could you ask for a better senior experience? 

November
+
Last football game of the season and I went all out aka wore my scarf and my vest (even though the burnt oranges don't match).
+ Pinned a yellow rose on my lapel and joined the Friar Society at UT!
+ Rejoiced at one year of hair growth. I even wrote about my BC anniversary. 

December
I went to DC. I WENT TO DC AND THE SUPREME COURT. I SPOKE OUTSIDE THE SUPREME COURT. Easily the highlight of my year. Such a sweet topping to wonderful year. 

A Few Extras:

Traveled
+ Abuja, Nigeria
+ Dallas, Texas *
+ Galveston, Texas
+ Houston, Texas
+ London, England
+ Lubbock, Texas
+ New York, New York
+ San Antonio, Texas
+ Washington, DC
* I'm from here BUT I did go on the field for the Red River Rivalry! 

Quoted + Listened
 + I've been quoted in a few articles! USA TodayLA Times and NYT Times
+ "Bless the process" aka "Let go, let God."
+ How to Become Batman by Invisibilia and The Problem We All Live With by This American Life are required listening
+ Everything by Jesse Williams and Ta-Nehisi Coates is worth the listen or read

Thanks for sharing this year with me. Cheers to a new year!

selfies + hair journey

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CG_before and after

On November 29, 2014, I sat in my stylist's chair and asked her to cut my relaxed ends off. And in 45 minutes, I joined team natural. No trumpets. No "freedom feelings." Just my relaxed hair scattered on the floor and my stylist waiting for her check. 

I'm used to short hair. A bad relaxer my junior year of high school had me rocking a pixie cut most of the fall. But this was different. Or at least I felt like it should be. I paid my stylist, ran to the grocery store for some chips, and played Jenga with my brother. I'd say it was a pretty normal day - until I got dressed for dinner. I couldn't keep my eyes off my mirror. I cried. And I cried some more. Ten minutes later and I'm still sniffling as India Arie's soundtrack is speaking to my soul. So I snapped a picture and posted it on Instagram. 

Something changed for me when I decided to big chop.  It meant finding friends and videos who will teach me how to flat twist and properly detangle. It meant finding more shows to watch while I deep condition. It meant redefining my ideals around black beauty. 

I, like many of my peers, choose to document my journey through gratuitous photos of myself. My phone is filled with selfies and soft smiles (s/o to my snapchat friends) as I embrace my roots. I've got so much to learn and at least 10 different brands of shea butter I want to try. 

selfies + natural hair.jpg


Cheers to a beautiful year. 

College Bound: Back to School Supply List

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college bound _ supplylist.png


I know you finishing up your #listsonlists for your first semester on campus. Here's my list of must haves when shopping for school supplies:

Notebooks // Like most students, I spend most of study time revisiting my notes from class. Which is why my list starts off with notebooks. I'm not incredibly pick when it comes to brands, but I am specific when it comes to subject count and lines (college ruled is a must).
One Subject Notebook (one per liberal arts course): I prefer typing my notes in my liberal arts courses, but a notebook comes in handy for diagrams, mind maps, and essay planning. 
Three Subject Notebook (one per non-math science course like biology): The first two subjects are for my class / book notes and the third section is reserved for practice problems or study guides. 
Five Subject Notebook (one per math based or problem heavy science like physics): This is an expanded version of my three subject notebook plan. The first two subjects are for my class / book notes. The third subject is for practice problems, and the fourth subject is home to my test reviews. My favorite subject is the last - office hour notes and questions. If I'm reviewing a concept and have a question, I flip to the last section and write down the problem. Then I go to office hours and answer the question underneath the problem - that way I don't make the same mistake twice!

Planner // As it is written, so shall it be done. Aka if you don't see me enter an assignment in my planner, it won't be completed. I recently invested in a daily planner (review to come soon)!

Pens // I'm slightly obsessed with colored pens. I purchase (or look under my bed) for a black G2 Pilot pen and cheaper colored Papermate ballpoint pens. Just make sure your pens don't bleed through paper.

Pencils // Mechanical pencils are the obvious choice. Don't forget to buy extra lead and erasers. 
Folders // College is where trees come to die. Handouts, tests, essays - if it can be printed, it will be. I don't take my folders to class, but I do have a folder for each class to store any necessary paper. 

Index Cards // These are the ultimate study aid. I buy them in bulk and normally aim for two different sizes. Index cards double as great flashcards and cheap bookmarks.

Yellow highlighter // That's right. I just need one highlighter. I tried the other colors, but yellow works best for me and my colorful notes (remember my colored pen obsession?).

That's it for my back to school shopping list. What's on yours?
 

5 Podcasts for your Empty Pockets

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LUKE CHESSER.

LUKE CHESSER.

I have a not so unique confession: I'm a podcast junkie. That's right friends, I have a podcast for every empty pocket in my day: morning commutes, laundry days and meal preps. Podcasts encompass what I love about the radio and blogging, accessibility and quality content.

Here's a few podcasts on my playlist:

Two Brown Girls
You never forget your first love. Two Brown Girls wasn't the first podcast I listened to but it is my first favorite! Fariha and Zeba are two (you guessed it) brown girls talking about race, film and pop culture. I feel like I'm chatting with a few friends over coffee! They've moved from a weekly schedule to monthly. 

The Read
Disclaimer: NSFW. I repeat NSFW.
No one is safe from The Read, their shade covers far and wide. A good friend introduced me to the podcast at the start of summer and I can't stop listening. They start the show with Black Excellence, roll into a pop culture segment, answer a few reader questions, and finally, the read. Kid Fury and Crissle say everything you want to say, but don't. 

This American Life
I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of people in this country have heard Ira Glass' voice at least once in their lives. This American Life is an American classic. With over 500 episodes, there truly is a story for everyone. I'd recommend starting with A Not So Simple Majority

On Being  
If I'm looking for something slow and insightful, I tune in to On Being. Krista Tippet gets to the center of the human experience. She's interviewed poets, artists, civil rights workers, faith leaders, etc. Consider this an updated chicken noodle soup for your soul. 

What podcasts are you listening to?

 

Gold Mine | July 2015

lifeChristle NworaComment

This post almost didn't happen. I moved into my new place (gooood bye west campus) and I don't have access to wifi yet. But no worries because I could use my phone for wifi, right? Right! Unless my laptop breaks - which it did. But now my laptop and I are reunited and I have access to wifi once more (thank you coffee shops).

Lived.

+ Like previously mentioned, I moved! I'm in a cute condo that is a 15 minute bus ride from campus. 

+ Vacation in Galveston was such a blessing. My last visit was during a 5th grade leadership camp (once a geek, always a geek) so it was nice to replace those awkward memories with VSCO filtered memories with my family. 

+ I've been chipping away at my Austin bucket list. Visited Juan in a Million, Holy Cacao and ate at Whole Foods!

Read.

+  If are looking for the definition of hustle, just look at Dara from Love, Darbie. She is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and has a successful blog and photography business. She's written the guide on turning your passion into profit!

+ It is no secret that I'm a fan of Laura. She's featured on my must read blogs for premeds and I follow her on every social media account. I really appreciated the quick peak behind the curtain and looking at how she maintains a successful blog!

+ I'm not sure if Laura and Fran both planned to have blog posts about the blogging game published around the same time, but if you enjoyed Laura's post you'll enjoy Fran's "How much do you make from blogging" and other questions!

Quoted.  

+ Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” — Ernest Hemingway 

+ “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle

+ “Why should I feel lonely? Is not our planet in the Milky Way?”— Henry David Thoreau 

College Bound: Saving Money on Textbooks

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Oh how I miss the days of class sets for textbooks. You, your trusty #361 biology textbook and those cute textbook covers you begged your mom to buy at Target were a happy and cheap package. Now you have a list of 3+ textbooks and 7+ books that you are responsible for the semester. But don't worry, I've got your back (textbook covers are optional).

Having fun isn't hard when you have a library card!

Confession time: I haven't checked out a physical book from the library in years. Libraries on major college campuses do have an expansive e-book collection. Your library should be the first place you check if you have classic works and novels. Occasionally there will be a few copies of major textbooks in the stacks as well. One of the greatest advantages of an e-book (besides the price - free) is the space you save in your dorm room. Need a chapter read on the go? Pull it up on your phone or print out the chapter you need!

Do you need to rent or buy? 

There are several advantages and disadvantages to each option. 
Renting: It can be cheaper but you need to keep it in good condition and turn it in on time. You can't annotate these books and that oil stain from your late night stack will cost you extra. 
Buying: This book is all yours. Yours to write in. Yours to use a door stop. And yours to sell. Selling books can be a hassle. If newer editions are published or a professors discontinues the book, you are stuck with it. I still have my biology and organic chem books if anyone is looking...
So how do you choose? I rent as much as possible. As much as I love Texas, I won't reread my Texas Political History book. I did buy my freshmen biology book and I don't regret that choice at all. I referred to that text in upper division biology class and while I prepped for my MCAT. 

Ask if older editions are acceptable. 

The basic foundations of biology will not change from the 7th to the 8th editions, but there might be a few extra chapters included. Normally my professors have been gracious by including page numbers from a few editions. If you don't see that on the syllabus, just email your professor. If there aren't any major changes, buy the older book to save some money. 

Shop around first. 

Bargain hunting should be your number one tool for textbook shopping. Your school's bookstore can be a great resource and sometimes they will be the only one that carries a specific textbook, but they are normally the most expensive option. Amazon Prime treats college students well and my favorite place to buy books would be Better World Books! They collect and sell books online to donate books and money to literacy initiatives worldwide! BWB also have free shipping which brings me to ...

Shipping is the enemy. 

If you are buying books online and they are not coming from the same seller, watch the price. I have made the mistake of spending way too much for shipping because I wasn't paying attention. Be vigilant!

What is your best money saving tip for textbook shopping? 

Psst! This post contains affiliate links. Which means if you click and sign up or make a purchase, I receive a few rewards. We all have to pay for college, right?  

Sunday Favorites.

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* cue Lionel Richie circa 1970s *

I've always loved Sunday. Church, brunch, family - I love it all. So in honor of Sunday, here are a few of my favorite things:

Favorite Color: Blue, it complements gold very well
Favorite Drink: Orange, no pulp
Favorite Food: Three way tie between breakfast tacos, supreme pizza and sweet potato fries
Favorite Place: A comfy couch + pillows 
Favorite Book of the Bible: Esther (veggie tales version was wonderful too)
Favorite Celebrity: Jesse Williams, I even wrote a post dedicated to him!
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Favorite Hobby: Browsing blogs + running 
Favorite Board Game: Don't play board games but I am the queen of Egyptian Ratscrew
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice 
Favorite Time of Day: Sunrise
Favorite Flower: I like saying Stargazing Lilies but I really mean sunflowers  
Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies and Cream but I'm a huge fan of Lick's chocolate + olive oil + sea salt
Favorite Sports Team: Dallas Mavericks circa 2011
Favorite Starbucks Order: Y'all, I shouldn't be spending so much money on this S'mores frapp 
Favorite Song: I'm going through a indie gospel phase, so Rend Collective's Build Your Kingdom Here

What are your favorite things?

College Bound: A Mini Series

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Wahoo! August is around the corner folks and that means my third favorite season (behind Christmas and Easter - duh) is back to school! Judge me if you please, but I love shopping for new supplies and I ordered my first daily planner. This is an exciting season filled to the brim with new opportunities and College Bound is designed to help you make the absolute most of your first days on campus. 

College Bound is a mini series created with freshmen in mind. I'll cover my shopping list, semester essentials and best practices. This series will consist of 4 - 5 posts leading up to the first day of school. 

But before we jump in, I want to hear from y'all! What questions do you have about college? Wondering about the life of a pre med in college? Want to know where to get the best deals on books? Worried about managing extra curricular activities and classwork?

Leave a comment below, send me a tweet using #CGCollegeBound, or drop a message in my contact form. I look forward to answering your questions throughout the series!

Gold Mine | June 2015

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More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men [and women] than has been taken from the earth
— Napoleon Hill

If you followed my old blog, you'll remember that I had sizable amount of blog series. I've paired them down to my favorites and I'm happy to reintroduce gold mine - a space where I can publicly share a few memories, stories, and quotes with you!

Lived.

+ This month was all about revisiting my 21st birthday wishes. One of my goals is to be more active. It took me a bit longer that I would have liked, but I'm finally on a regular workout schedule. I try to mix it up (hiking the greenbelt, kickboxing, squat challenges) but I want to start and finish a challenge in July. To make up for the calories lost, I've been eating well too! I've tried El Chile, North by Northwest and Threadgills - all Christle approved. 

+ I spent a weekend in San Antonio for a primary care summit and I can't stop talking about the experience. I've met the most caring and dedicated physicians / nurses / social workers / administrators who are setting the bar for medical practices across the nation. 

+ Tragedy is in our midst again. The shooting and assassination at an AME Church in Charleston only reminds the nation of what we as POC and black people already know, blackness is too often perceived as a threat . While there are a lot of pieces talking about the tragedy (find my post here), I really enjoyed the Spin's podcast. Host, Esther Armah, asks us to reimagine black forgiveness within white supremacy. Press play to dive deeply into this topic. 

Read. 

+ Separate but never equal. The Route of Division is a sobering reminder of the stark class differences that still exists in this country. 

+  Representation is such a powerful tool for encouragement. Check out this HuffPost article discussing writers of color. Here's a snippet: When you don't learn the history of your people and don't read their literature, when all you read and learn is white and Western and male, and so very different from anything you've ever known and loved, you inevitably begin to believe that you are less than. You learn that in order to succeed, you have to assimilate to a culture that is not your own and does not welcome you, no matter what you do.

+ I want to be more intentional with the words I use and this post on ableist language has helped in my pursuit. 

Quoted.

+  “I have died too many deaths that were not mine.” —  Audre Lorde, from “Sequelae,”

+  “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time.” —   Marcel Proust 

+ "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" — Colossians 3:15

#PRAYFORCHARLESTON

life, social justiceChristle NworaComment
prayforcharleston.jpg

I.

I spent a lot of young summer days at the Farmer's Market in Dallas. I'm sure the market was filled to the brim with delicious fruits and veggies but I was there for one reason: sugarcane. Nothing pairs better with a Texan summer day, 

II.

A white man entered a church and decided that nine beautiful black lives didn't deserve to see morning. He is not a monster. He is a product. A product of a system driven by hate and a national unable to reach a point of racial reconciliation. A nation that refuses to acknowledge the full humanity of black lives. 

III.

There isn't an easy way to eat sugarcane. You have to cut off the woody shell, slice the cane into pieces, chew until you've enjoyed every bit of sweetness, then discard the dull fibers left on your tongue. I learned then that you had to work to find sweetness. 

IV.

Summer should be the time of ultimate freedom. To laugh and learn. To splash and play. To live and breathe. But I can no longer count on summer to be free. I can no longer count on any season to be free. A black church praising God. A young black boy walking home. A young black girl sleeping in her home. A black man trying to provide. A black woman driving home. All black. All targets. 

You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.
— Maya Angelou

reflections on junior year

Christle NworaComment
JUSKTEEZ VU.

JUSKTEEZ VU.

My life doesn't always align with my grand schemes and plans. If so, I'd be a Michigan Wolverine studying journalism or a Northwestern Wildcat exploring Chicago. Instead, I am at the University of Texas at Austin - the last place I wanted to be as a high school senior.

Fast forward three years and I couldn't imagine my life without the burnt orange and abundance of breakfast tacos. These past three years have taught me to trust in God and lean on His grace filled understanding. 

But sometimes I forgot that nugget of wisdom and think my master plans deserve to take center stage. Enter Christle as a sophomore. I had these beautiful ideas for my junior year. I sacrificed time and relationships working for what I thought was my ultimate goal. But y'all, rejection came so swiftly and disappointment colored my vision. Aka May 2014 sucked. I cried a lot, applied for a few positions and hoped for the best. 

Um wow, God delivers the absolute best. (If we've had a coffee date recently, feel free skip to the next paragraph because you've heard this already). I am exactly where I need to be. I have found such a rich community and mentors who have cared for me. This year has been full of belly laughs and soft smiles. And when frustration and doubt came my way, I had so many people ready to support me. I couldn't be happier for failure and rejection. 

Today is just one of those days where I am reminded that God has everything figured out. Worrying won't add a single day to my life. All I can do is serve Him faithfully, knowing that He will use me to build His kingdom. So be encouraged friends, the maker of Heaven and Earth watches over us. He knows our comings and our goings. And He's got this beautiful master plan. 

Black History Month

Christle NworaComment
To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves. We remember them because it an easy thing to forget; that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love and die. The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrows, is always the measure of what has gone before.
— Alice Walker, "In These Dissenting Times"

Photo Source: Gordon Parks

pre med resources | volume three

collegeChristle NworaComment
pre med resources

I created this list with a simple question in mind: what sources do I frequent the most? Hopefully this list is as helpful to you as it is to me! 

Online Videos

Armando Hasudungan.
I learn best from smart graphics and well designed lessons. Armando's tutorials provide both. I could spend hours watching and rewatching his video every time we covered a new body system in my MCAT course. He covers the major body systems, basic biochemistry, and some pharmacology. 
Best Use: MCAT & Class Review

Bozeman Biology.
Bozeman Biology and I go all the way back to ninth grade biology. Simple, clean and great for first year bio classes or a quick refresher for upper level students. 
Best Use: Class Review

MIT OpenCourseWare.
I don't enjoy flipped classrooms, but I'm a huge fan of class recordings. Take advantage of your school's recorded classes and count your blessings. If your school doesn't have what you need, search MIT's catalog. I referenced the genetics and biology courses for my first two years in biology courses. 
Best Use: Class Review 

Michel van Biezen
These videos are a dream. Michel's videos cover a wide array of concepts with multiple examples. The playlists are helpful, but I still get lost trying to find specific topics. Bookmarks will be your best friend for this YouTube channel. 
Best Use: MCAT & Class Review

Twitter Accounts

American Academy of Family Physicians (@AAFP)
If you didn't know, now you know - I want to be a family doctor. This is an obvious follow for me. 
Best Use: News

Center for Disease Control Global Health (@CDCGlobal)
This is another obvious follow for me. CDC, government agencies and prominent NGOs are on the frontline of domestic and global health issues. NPR Global Health is also great resource. 
Best Use: News

Duke Global Health (@DukeGHI)
I'm happy to see global health play such an important role in the medical realm. Find schools and programs you really admire and follow them on twitter. It is a great way to find out about news, scholarships, application updates. 
Best Use: News, Learning Opportunities 

Jenny Tsai (@tsaiduck77)
I found Jenny on the corner of health and justice (quick reference to the Fray). She hasn't tweeted anything recently, but her archives have great links to her work and articles for anyone interested in health/healthcare disparities. 
Best Use: Medical Student Perspective (MD), Social Justice View on Health

Kaiser Family Foundation (@KaiserFamFound)
Kaiser Family Foundation is the go to resource for national health news and public policy analysis. I also know people use the Kaiser Family Foundation website for medical school interview prep. 
Best Use: News, Public Policy

Dr. K (@medschooladvice)
Full disclosure: I scroll past 85% of his tweets (he is incredibly active online), but he does have great nuggets of wisdom. 
Best Use: Advice

Bloggers

A Little Bit of Lacquer
Laura is a fourth year medical student (at HARVARD!!) balancing family and school. I enjoy Laura's style aesthetic and she has the cutest baby girl. 
Best Use: Fashion, Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

The Biopsy
The Biopsy is less about the blogger and more about modern medicine. Roheet (the blogger) also owns a pre med consulting group called Lean On. I haven't used their services, but they have good reviews!
Best Use: News

Doctor or Bust
Found this blog pretty recently and I couldn't be happier. This blog is detailed in advice and full of encouragement. 
Best Use: Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

Franish
Franziska is a second year medical school determined to make the best out of her med school's dress code. She blogs mostly about fashion, but she sheds light on the daily routine of a grad student. 
Best Use: Fashion, Advice, Medical Student Perspective (DO)

Lady Kay MD
Katherine is a third year medical school and her blog is the place to go for healthy living and advice. She has an open ask page and a huge FAQ. 
Best Use: 
Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

The Health Scout
Dayla is a third year nontraditional medical student and she was the first medblr I followed. Scroll through her archives for some great advice and funny comics. 
Best Use: 
Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

Sarah Says MD
Sarah is a second year medical student. She curates some wonderful articles ad occasionally weblogs a cute puppy or two. 
Best Use: Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

Wayfaring MD
She may be anonymous, but the blogger behind Wayfaring MD has a HUGE personality. If you only follow one blog, bookmark Wayfaring right now. She has the most comprehensive list on the web for pre meds. Confused about personal statements? She's got you. Wondering about the differences between Grey's Anatomy and real life? She has 10 posts about it. Y'all ~ she gets 5 stars, A+, all the awards. Follow her, now. 
Best Use: Advice, Medical Student Perspective (MD)

Favorite Posts

A Day in the Life of a Harvard Med Student: Medicine

Personal Statement How-To-'Stravaganza

Reapplying to Med School

So You Got a Bad Grade (A Choose Your Own Adventure Post)

The Path to Speciality (From Pre Med to Match Day)

What I Didn't Do to get into Medical School

 If you have a blog or account you'd like to recommend, drop me a note in the comments or send me an email. Happy scrolling! 

T W E N T Y - O N E

lifeChristle NworaComment
birthday cupcake.jpg

I'm twenty-one today. I'm celebrating with loved ones and praising God for another year to delight in His world. Twenty taught me how to trust wisely, how to love fully, and how to stay in the grind. Here's my twenty - one wishes for my new year:

  1. Spend more time in God's word.
  2. Pray over my family + friends. 
  3. Fast from social media at least once a week. 
  4. Follow through on lunch dates + reach out to inspiring people.
  5. Explore Austin + Dallas like a tourist.
  6. Find a bible study + missional community in Austin. 
  7. Stop treating my DSLR like a point and shoot. 
  8. Commit to a workout routine. Hopefully I can make it past the first round of midterms. 
  9. Learn more about my natural hair.
  10. Wake up earlier + go to bed earlier. 
  11. Remember birthdays and important dates. 
  12. Read 12+ books. 
  13. Be a meal planner. 
  14. Stay focused in class.
  15. Strengthen relationships with my mentors. 
  16. Build a functional wardrobe + rock a red lip.
  17. Keep updated in the news. 
  18. Travel more. 
  19. Ask for what I want + make opportunities + quit asking or seeking permission. 
  20. Steward my finances well. 
  21. Enjoy life's daily blessings. 

10 Thoughts about Media Representation

media, social justiceChristle NworaComment

I'm on a mission to watch every Jesse Williams interview that exists. Not only is he on one of my favorite televisions shows, he represents the very best of Hollywood activism done right. Jesse Williams reminds me that media is political and filled with conscious decisions. That's a difficult message because we are quick to give media an easy pass. These last six months have highlighted the problematic issues of the black male body in media, but poor representation isn't new. Here are 10 thoughts on my mind + Jesse Williams clips*. 

  1. Media creates culture. Media doesn't exist in a vacuum. The first narratives we are introduced to come in the form of commercials and shows. Think about cultures  that you haven't come into contact with personally. Much of what we know about communities outside our own is heavily influenced by our media exposure. 
     
  2. The black body is criminalized in the media. The #iftheygunnedmedown hashtag is telling of the disgusting trend in media to associate black victims with gangs, drugs, violence ultimately as a way to justify their deaths. The portrayal of victims in media don't happen by accident. Calling Mike Brown, "no angel," didn't happen via magic. And please - take your "93% of black people are killed by black offenders" argument to the nearest trash bin because 85% of white people are killed by white people, so don't derail the conversation. 
     
  3. Erasure isn't privilege. When is the last time you saw an Asian family on television? Middle- Eastern? South East Asian? Lack of presence isn't a gift, its denial of their lived experiences.
     
  4. Tyler Perry doesn't count. I won't deny that Tyler Perry has created jobs of black actors, but I believe in quality over quantity. Tyler Perry's films are often so one dimensional and stuffed with stereotypes, it makes me queasy. See: Shonda Rhimes. 
     
  5.  Shonda Rhimes is queen. 
     
  6. Actors are important, but only part of the equation. Writers, directors and producers shape our media. The numbers for people of color, elderly, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and women behind the scenes are incredibly low

    “It’s not because of a lack of talent. It’s because of a lack of access. People hire who they know. If it’s been a white boys club for 70 years, that’s a lot of white boys hiring one another. And I don’t believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. It’s comfortable. You want to be successful, you don’t want to take any chances, you don’t want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us,” she said. “Both Betsy and I like the world that we work in to look like the world that we live in. Different voices make for different visions. Different visions make for something original. Original is what the public is starving for.” - Shonda Rhimes

  7. Media can be a force for good. There are a number of television shows, news networks and films that I can stand by and support. Sesame Street is one of them. Y'all. You haven't made it big until you are on this show. The characters of Sesame Street tackle everything from loving your skin, appreciating your natural hair, dealing with divorced or incarcerated parents
     
  8. Diversity on cable news needs to step it up. And no, Don I think the plight of black folks won't get shot if they pull up their pants Lemon isn't enough. According to a 2013 Media Matters report: most guests and hosts are white men, even when compared to everyone  (all women and not white males) else. 

  9. Support films and shows with people of color. Doors open for those who wait and for those who can buy a key. While it isn't the ideal solution - supporting projects with money can make a difference. 
     
  10. There is tremendous value in seeing an honest depiction of yourself on screen. 

* some clips contain some not so nice words