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Birthday Blessings

It’s my birthday! It's been a while since I last wrote because it was a crazy semester, but I made it and I’m back!

2020/my 28th year on this Earth has truly been a blessing for me in spite of the global pandemic. It was vastly different from 27 which left me with a lot of questions. I recognize that my 2020 doesn’t reflect many others’. I was blessed that none of my immediate family members contracted the coronavirus. Although I and my family members did lose jobs, the effects weren’t as drastic as what others are facing. I’m praying for those that have been affected by the pandemic.

I started the year off by enrolling in the Master of Library and Information Science program at Simmons University. It was a huge leap to transition careers, but looking back now, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. To test the waters, I had taken a course at the University of Rhode Island the semester prior. But that one course didn’t compare to taking two courses and working full time with a nearly four hour round trip commute to Boston each day. When I was laid off in April, I was actually relieved; I was able to center myself and focus on what was important for me. As a wrote in a social media post following my lay off:

I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at Scholar Athletes. It had been a goal of mine to work at Scholar Athletes since undergrad and I'm glad that I was able to combine my youth development experience with my Sports Management degrees. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help Boston students achieve academic success through athletics. A key takeaway from my time at SA was to have a growth mindset, so I'm optimistic for the future.

The future has been bright. I’m fortunate that I was offered an opportunity to consult for the College Crusade which gave me some sort of stability and focus while I searched for jobs. While dealing with the anxiety of figuring out how I was going to pay my bills, I focused on my school work and completed one of the most difficult courses I’d ever taken, which led to the creation of this website. I finished the semester with a 4.0 and looked forward to the summer.

The summer, particularly July provided some validation for switching careers. I was notified that I was named a 2020-2021 American Library Association Spectrum Scholar and selected as a 2020–2022 Association of Research Libraries Diversity Scholar in the Kaleidoscope Program! If that wasn’t enough, I also received the 2020 James Matarazzo Award from the Special Libraries Association-New England and was selected to receive a scholarship to attend the 2020 New England Library Association Conference. As a career changer, I was intent on gaining as much knowledge as possible about this field and these opportunities have allowed me to do so.

The summer was also significant for other milestones. I finally paid off my first student loan!!!! I have a lot more to pay off, but having that one loan gone is such a relief.

I also had significant milestones in the DAR. I was elected Regent of the Rhode Island Independence chapter- a history making election. I also recorded an episode of the Daughter Dialogues podcast. The purpose of Daughter Dialogues is to explore the contemporary lives of members of color in the Daughters of the American Revolution. The interview was conducted by Maryland Daughter Reisha L. Raney, a non-resident fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University under the direction of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. You can listen to the podcast here. I just received news that the podcast has officially been accepted for deposit into Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University! I’m so grateful that my history and my ancestor’s will be preserved forever. As mentioned in my previous post, I hate public speaking but will do so when it is important and to raise awareness for things that I’m passionate about.

In September after nearly six months of searching, I was hired as the Program Director of the Literacy Volunteers of Kent County. LVKC provides one to one basic literacy and ESL tutoring to adults. As Program Director I oversee LVKC’s daily operations which includes recruiting and matching tutors and students and supporting matches. I also began a position as an Institute of Museum and Library Services graduate student grant worker. In this role I support research into the experience and use of academic libraries by African American undergraduate students under the direction of my advisor, Simmons University Assistant Professor Dr. Rebecca Davis. These two positions have given me the time to focus on school. As I mentioned this semester was crazy, I took a full course load this semester. I really enjoyed my classes and I’m glad they’re over. One project I really enjoyed was creating a LibGuide for my reference course. It was a guide to researching African American sports history. You can check it out here!

Now that the semester is over, I’m getting back into old hobbies, I just picked up knitting for the first time in like 15 years. I’m going to try to read more books. I’ve found it more difficult to read since I’m surrounded by great books every day at the library, I just can’t pick one! Lastly, I’m going to try to break through some brick walls in my genealogy research.

I’m excited going into the last year of my twenties. Fortunately, didn’t have any travel plans this year, so I can’t wait to travel in 2021, but only if it’s safe to do so. I have a few things to check off my bucket list. As I close out my twenties I’m grateful for the lessons learned, experiences lived, and friends made.

Cheers to 29!


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