Archive for the ‘Prose’ Category

Remedy to the demise of the written word

February 12, 2012

Oft times it is well within my interest to save both time and space when I converse via cellular device.  I have found over time that my correspondence rarely qualifies the necessity of formal vernacular.  To that point, I commonly rely on casual cellular colloquialisms.

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Scene

June 20, 2011

It was not the day that Tom strode confidently through the halls but a rare moment during which his demeanor matched his internal personality that someone finally called him out.  In the boy’s bathroom riding the fine line between a restroom break and hooky, Tom broke his countenance and stared hatefully at the growing young man in front of him.  Eyes seeping disgust rolled past thin, wimpy arms and pale chapped lips snarled as Tom’s hands reached under his shirt grasping for a six-pack that wasn’t there.  Not expecting an audience, Tom gave into the moment and wept, openly, at the betrayal his body continuously held against him in spite of the daily portion of muscle milk, diet of red meat and supplements, and nightly workouts.  The sound of a stall door opening startled Tom; he could have sworn he was alone.  Quickly wiping at his face, Tom turned on the water and wanted to avoid eye contact while rushing past the kid who might spread his weakness across school by lunch.

 

“What’s your routine?” a low voice offered behind Tom.  Before he could even turn to answer, the boy sauntered then stood next to Tom and looked at him in the mirror.  “Do you just do sit ups and crunches or do you also do reps for your arms?  Tom, still startled at the seeming clairvoyance of this strange student, decided to play along to further draw the situation from his momentary catharsis.  “Yeah, I do 100 each every nite then add barbells.  How about you?”  When forming the question, Tom stole a glance at the young man who stood shorter than him but also bulged softly beneath his simple cotton t-shirt.  “Well, I used to work out like crazy, even when I was playing football.  But I couldn’t’ seem to get the right kind of results.”  Tom licked his lips without realizing figuring he understood where the conversation might be going.  “So what did you do,” Tom carefully asked, straining to keep his voice even.  The student reached into his pocket and finally Tom saw the solution to his problem.  In the student’s hand were steroids.

 

Character Sketch

June 20, 2011

The concrete supported a hefty bottom.  Clothes squeezed over rolls and full flesh.  Where the ground met the brick wall, the large girl’s back absorbed what little heat remained between the brick and mortar.  The thin worn blue cotton shirt barely made it over the muffin top protecting the jeans which should have been donated last season.  Soft wheezing unconsciously escaped full pink lips and the breath wafted white up and away from the young child.  Though the large army style jacket covered the girls’ upper body, seat pooled in the nooks and crannies of soft chubby round rolls beneath the cotton.  The jacket did not capture all the scents of the girl’s body and each breeze escaped with snatches of musk and body odor.  The hairs of the girl stretched to remain in the small bun no longer than a grape on the top of her head.  Being the end of her school day, a few strands gave up the exercise and wafted in wisps around her head.  The girl allowed her body to slump and relax into its natural state of amorphousness and her dark chocolate skin held back the fury bubbling beneath.

Rendevous

June 20, 2011

I get your text message.  Excitedly, you agree and the time is set.  9 pm seems days away as opposed to half an hour and I make my way to the lake.  Near the dorm, flooded in light, our greeting seems normal.  Salutations appropriate.  But once we step toward the dimness of the lake, an electrifying staticism grows between your hand and mine.  Suddenly my kneck feels warmer and the quickly decreasing space between our bodies is the most urgent thing on my mind.

Neither of us wants to break the brewing spell so we silently agree not to speak and allow the inevitable to unfold.  The first brush of skin against skin occurs during the slow pace we purposefully choose as if our time together will expand and slow time as long as we intentionally exist.  The fire grows from my pinkie and spreads slowly throughout me.  The lean of a tree invites me to rest my back and I smile softly.  You pause, clearly thinking, deciding, before you move.  One foot in front of the other.  The gap between us closes.  Our personal bubbles have merged and I can see the short light hairs on your cheeks.  When you reach for my hand its already there.  My eyes never leave your gaze.  Under the moon, we share our first kiss.

Dear Friend From Home

December 15, 2010

hey hey man! thanks so much for emailing me. yeah college is pretty crazy. i said i didn’t want to do theatre in college and here i am only two days shy of opening week. i am in this production called gaeties and every year students wrtie script and song for a show before the big game between stanford and berkely about how berkely tries to destroy stanford but stanford wins at the end. i get to sing and dance and even though in this show i play “token” in one scene and only have a few other small parts, its a huge comedic farce anyway so i shouldn’t expect that much different. but there are so many opportunities here to act as a black actress. there are four colored ppl in my show, two black, and two mixed. the other black girl is starting a new student group that will perform black theatre shows but invite everyone to audition. we will just show preference to blacks. japanese class is awesome. ii desu yoo. anywho, i also have an intro to humanities, basically freshman comp. i tried to tell ms. windam that i shouldn’t waste my time or energy on an ap exam my senior yr cause i would have to take this class anyway and she basically threatened to tell mrs. mccabe and she is crazy. i am in a whole bunch of activities already besides gaeities:

Gaities – i will try to get a tape or get someone to film it that way i can bring a copy home

intervarsity – christian fellowship on campus

vinces – a subgroup of intervarsity

splash – stanford students teach area high school students whatever they want on a saturday in january, guess what i am teaching….DDR baby!! AND my class is gonna be all day too. you get either an hour or two or two sessions, but i want everyone to be able to play

Soul Sistah magazine model – someone at an intervarsity meeting told me they liked my style and asked if i would like to take pictures for the magazine its supposed to come out the first of december and you know i’ma get a grip of copies to take home

urban ministries volunteer – i went to a soup kitchen and helped set up and serve food one monday

snow trip planner – yes, my dorm is going on a ski trip in january so i will get to see snow!!!!! i am helping plan it

erica’s women’s piano and fleet street type thing – have you ever heard of tom lehrer? this junior decided to start a female acappella group because there are several on the campus and one all male called fleetstreet….hilarious guys man….so she wants to do a similar one with girls.

dr. dement’s outreach thing – dr. dement was the guy that discovered rem, rapid eye movement, back in the sixties. he had a class here at stanford called sleep and dreams and it have over a hundred students in it by the end of the quarter. they discontinued the class, so now he is going to give talks to the dorms and i am helping set that up.

women leaders of tomorrow honorary executive board member, in which you will recieve updates about our plans for events & projects, and you may offer your help at any time

research assistant – some psych experiements. this school is so big on research it isn’t funny. we have a particle acceleration lab that is like a mile long or something

aphrodishiaq – a dance group

stanford japan exchange club

Tracy’s Black ppl acting troupe – this is the black theatre group i was telling you about. tracy is also in gaeities

_________________________________

the rest of these are things i would like to do here at stanford but haven’t done yet

Stanford Gospel Choir

Stanford Praise Dance

Soul Sistah magazine writer

stanford japanese club

start a belly dancing group

now, we rehearse for gaeties from eight to eleven monday through thursday and have dance rehersal sunday one to five. this weekend, actors had to come to “load” which was basically helping rig flats and whatnot and setting up the set. we also helped build it. each actor had to have at least eight hours of build. there were saturday and sunday ten to six and ten to five earlier in the quarter. now, we have to help put all that stuff together. that is why i am not at church right now. i have to be there today from eleven to five. yesterday it was ten to seven. the last hour today and yesterday is for vocal rehersal. the show goes up this wednesday, thursday, and friday and we have to be there from six to midnight, and i think midnight is an estimate. on thursday is the cast party and on friday, when all the dorms will be there, we have to strike the set, all of it….everything….until roughly three in the morning, then everyone is supposed to go to denny’s. so that is what i am doing. making friends. only one random hookup at the beginning of the year and we didn’t even go all the way. i have honestly gotten real close to the Lord through intervarsity and am growing in my relationship with him and my christian community. i was in advanced honors calculus and i would have been able to do the class but it required a lot of work and i just couldn’t do that and gaeities so i had to withdraw from the class. i got a C+ on my first paper, and i recently got a 58 on my japanese exam so this next week during all the craziness, i have to write the rough draft for my next paper and get my grades back up for my japanese class. hopefully i can get at least a B in both classes but at this point i will have to work my pattoty off. i will not be coming back home this thanksgiving unless someone wants to pay for the five hundred dollar ticket, but if they do, they could just give that money to me. i WILL be coming home for christmas break on saturday, december the thirteenth, which i can say in japanese: junigatu jumikka doyoobi . i am also learning how to write in japanese but until then…so yeah. that is pretty much everything. i almost agreed to get married to stephen i don’t know if i told you about him, but we had been on and off for the past almost two years in january and at the beginning of the school yr before i left i told him if he wasn’t christian i couldn’t marry him and once i got here, everything and everyone were new and i missed the comfort and instant acceptance i got from him so i changed my mind. i went to a conference with intervarsity called how do you know God loves you? and after that conference, and praying and crying with so many ppl, i told him again that i couldn’t and this time i wouldnt’ go back on it cause i felt it was the Lord’s will. so three weeks go by and i am allowing myself to miss him and know what i need to do to get over him, surround myself with friends and pay attention to my work, but i didn’t so i ended up calling him and almost agreeing again, but this time i was like, if i marry you these things have to happen….basically all these strings because he wasn’t christian that he would have to deal with. i need a husband that will be able to support me physically, mentally, emotionally, but above all spiritually. the first three, stephen had down, but the last one now means so much more than the others. so last weekend HE was crying to me and i told him we shouldn’t commit to anything now and wait til i get back and let me talk to my pastor and what not. and he was like can i call you back in a week (sign of obsession, something i had just gotten over cause i would call him at least once a day and barely talked to my mom or anyone else from home) so he is supposed to call today. i will stick to my guns this time. cause now, after i told him this time, i wasn’t crying every night, i wasn’t missing him every moment and worrying about it. i actually let go and let God and it was great. i mean, you hear all these things but to finally start living them, it gets pretty amazing. so yeah, i was in this thing called okada fight club right, okada is the asian themed dorm, there is also casa zapata(hispanic), muwekma (native american), ujamaa (black folks), and i was wrestling against these two guys that were tag teaming me. i originally wanted to fight only one of them but he didn’t want to fight me alone so i found somene else. at the end of the fight, i tried to jump and bring one of them down, but ended landing alone. it really hurt, landed right on my butt and couldn’t walk the next day or ride my bike so that was a painful week. if you are ever on aim, my sn is shaquenisha, i can send you the files…or you can right click my sn and go to “get file” and you should see them there. they are numbered in the order in whick they should be watched. i also have a cell phone now. the number is a san antonio number too! 210-(blah blah blah blah blah blah blah). so call me anytime, there is a two hour difference, you guys are two hours ahead so when its six pm there, its four pm here. let me know how everyone else is doing and let them know i will be back and when i am bored i guess i can hang with yall on the weekday…go to school with my sister…visit some teachers. you know. so work calls, got to study my japanese and get some reading done before rehersal. tell my dad i said hey, i miss him and i love him lots. my mama too! i hope everything is going well in your end. congrats on the cross country and the tech stuff. man, if i were you, i would so try to get into stanford. the athletes here are junior olympiads and the rest are training to be in the olympics. not all, but there are some, so its not all hard core academics. its also got great technical theatre stuff, the stage actually isn’t as good as ours, but there are several places to perform so they have the hand up there. like i said, call, im, email, whatever. but thanks for emailing me. love you lots sweetie and God bless.

shamika walker ^_^

See Cause…

December 15, 2010

Well ladies and gentlemen, like so many other things in my life, i belive i have procrastinated long enough.  i am sitting watching the national geographic channel about deep sea discoveries and reading some random book.  i figured i should do something constructive.  i have decided to begin my account with the back ground to the weekend.  it all started in my English class…

Mrs. McCabe is, in two words, crack-head crazy.  She is my english IV ap teacher and the woman has some problems.  a cheerleader in high school, she constantly demands your undivided attention with incessant yelps of “Look at me, look at me,” and “are you listening?” combined with barking commands to write down nearly everything she is saying.  of course, the second your eyes drop to the page, the yelling begins again…anywho.  we are doing lit circles and i chose Candide by Voltaire, which i would recommend to all of you, its a funny little satire about the French from a french enlightenment writer.  every day for class, we have to bring a “Job Sheet” with at least 3 vocab words, 3 questions, 3 paragraphs to share with our group, and 3 connections with something we read, from the section we read the day before.  since i wasn’t gonna be there on thursday, i had to do my assignment before i left.  she doesn’t believe in missing school, especially for school events.  she has the notion for some obscene reason that we as students come back and treat the missed day as a “make-up day” and she doesn’t want us getting any unnecessary breaks.  so if we know we are not going to be in class, she wants us to do our work and turn it in the day before we leave…weirdo…so yeah, i had to do my second job sheet and turn it into her by wednesday.  my group ended up having different versions of the book, (if you get it, make sure you get the one with the pictures, they help), and we were supposed to take the number of pages in our book and divide them by five, but seeing as how no one had the same number of pages, i ended up reading the least amount for the first assignment.  to rememdy this, we all agreed to be up to chapter twelve by the next class, so i had to read nine chapters in two days, as opposed to the six that we decided would do for each class period…yeah yeah i know i am complaining but still…so i tried doing my assignment for that  day but i also had to write an essay that i would be missing from that class period.  during the day, i tried working on the assignment and my teacher didn’t give me the prompt until wednesday, even though i asked her for it on monday…what  was she thinking…most likely she wasn’t, but she expected me to write the essay during the day, grab a few minutes of free time-i can’t even type that without laughing. who here has free time during the day? with the procrastinated homework assignments taking up breakfast and lunch, and any spare moments in class are used to breathe, eat, drink, sleep, if you’re lucky, study and do even more hw. but i worked on it in physics II ap, that class is the equivalent of going to the ymca when its closed and sitting out in the front…there is an opportunity to learn there, but the teacher just doesn’t have any open hours.  basically he can’t teach.  so yeah, i finished the essay, but the assignment required a little more work, but i figured productions class, pretty much varsity theatre, would be the perfect time to do it.  no one wants to do the play we are doing, a woman called truth, because after nearly four years of being on the back burner and most often behind the stove as black theatre students while the beautiful white (or white looking) students got to get and stay in the spotlight up to the moment they left, our directors wanna try and atone for their closed mindedness and throw a play at the class at the end of the school year.  the main character requires a lot of memorization and my friend stacia constantly voices her doubt as to whether or not she will be able to do the play and the enthusiasm in the room can be measured in a petri dish…basically i would have enough time to work during that class.  but, when i get there, we have to actually go through scenes and stuff.  AND, while i am rushing to leave so i can explain to my teacher what happened, i am stopped and asked if i have given my nominations for the drama club banquet.  so i had to stay after for thirty minutes while the student teacher asked me who i wanted to nominate and voiced her opinion about who’s role was really minor instead of supporting and all kinds of time consuming annoyingly unnecessary stuff.  by the time i left and got to the red campus, there are two campuses and a performing arts center at my school because of the nearly five thousand kids that go there, my teacher had already left.  so i went to calculus tutoring and afterward my ma picked me up.  she said she would take my homework to school, but only after i asked if i could drop off my homework at a friend’s house to take to school, she isn’t a very trusting woman, so i started bustin out mad vocab and writing right up until my ride came.  i was three portions away from being done.  i had to take time out to try and iron some pants (which i didn’t even wear during the weekend) and get a few things together.  my friend, alicia dennis, and i were going to be traveling together so her dad picked me up to take me to the airport.  my mother had already left for her job at ups as a mail handler for the night, and i had kissed and hugged her before she left.  i gave a quick hug to my sister jasmine and my lil bro lil’ daddy (his real name is clinton) and left.  my other sister was out somewhere, but i told them to tell her i said bye.  shouting to my sister jasmine to leave my lil brother alone, i headed off to san antonio international airport headed into what turned out to be the weekend in which i discovered what bi-polar ppl go through.

that took a lot longer than i thought.  and that was just wednesday.  hopefully, i don’t forget all the crazy little instances that i experienced with ppl and things, mice and cats, guys with dreds and girls with not even half of that.  well, the next time i get the urge and some idle hours, i will put in the next installment in which i am introduced to how the airport system really is, not what i expected, and i meet my first eccentric woman.  yall come back now, and read, ya hear?

(hillbilly’s theme plays softly in the back ground until black out)

What Had Happened Was…

December 15, 2010

So, i was in charge of tickets you know, so i went through all kinds of jazz to get things together before we left and lo, the price was too much for mine and jonathan’s credit cards. so, it was decided as we were leaving that the house would pay for the trip and WHENEVER everybody paid their money for the trip, the house would be reimbursed. the snow was really exciting, but before i could get to it, i had to help with lift tickets and what not. ppl dropped out of the trip, which was no prob, but the ones that were there were anxious to leave and information and id cards needed to be collected, ppl wanted to add packages, and i even put my id card in for a good friend of mine. so, after jonathan, me, and a few others finally figured out the tickets, i follwed michael for about an hour until his lesson. i wasn’t skiing or snowboarding so i figured i would read some of the time and walk around the shops the whole day. michael and i made snow angels ^_^ and i took pictures. we watched the kinder kup with these little kids skiing and snowboarding, like four and five years old, just too cute, i wanted to have a child or a puppy or a plant or something to focus my swell of nurturing feelings. after michael left, i went to some benches outside this restaurant to read. the wind was blowing and it was kind of cold so i went into this rent shop near heavenly. at this point, it was almost noon so i ate my packed lunch which was such a suprise…pb and j and lucky charms and an oreo. thank you jerry and whoever else packed, it was pretty cool. so, i sat there eating, reading, listening to music, while across from me these three teenagers sat flipping through a magazine and waiting on some bus. they were white kids, which may or may not be relevant depending on what you think of the next incident. so they left after the bus got there and i finished eating and continued reading. then, this guy came up to me and asked if i needed some help. i told him i was waiting on the bus *which i was cause i wanted to go to the shops in gondola* and he was like, well there is a waiting room in the next building upstairs but i was not allowed to wait for the bus in there. so, i left and went to find a bus schedule so i could figure out where i needed to be. i went to “guest services” and asked the lady about shuttles and where they went…after explaining myself several times that i just wanted to know what places the buses went, she pointed to this map on the table. i asked her if they had bus schedules and she was like, no. so i studied the map and went outside. i was headed for the bathroom when one of the employees asked me how i was. he was young and slightly handsome, so i took the opportunity to talk to someone who wasn’t dispelling me and told him my dorm was skiing and i was trying to find something to do so i would take the bus but i didn’t have a schedule. well, it turned out the lady at the guest services place was poorly misinformed cause they DID have them and the guy employee gave me one. he told me how to get to gondola and wished me a better day. i got on the bus, went to gondola and walked around for maybe two hours. i bought stephen (my fiance) and i marriage beanie babies and went back to heavenly. i wanted to read more, since there was still nothing to do, so i went to this desk like cubicle to read, but it was near the door so it was cold there. i went inside the restaurant to read, but they looked busy and i didn’t want to take up space, so i went to the next room, a bar, and sat down to read. a server guy asked me if he could get me anything, and i said no thank you. no more than five minutes later a chick employee comes up to me and asks for id. she says she needs id for everyone in the place, and all i have is my stanford id card. she repeats that she needs id instead of telling me to leave, thus forcing me to make the connection and leaving her conscience unscathed. so, i pack my things once again to go back outside. while outside, i see the same inviting guy employee that gave me the bus schedule. he asked me how gondola was and i told him it was fine but i had gotten kicked out of another place and i was just going to go sit on the ground somewhere outside and read. i sat next to the first building i got kicked out of and read for a little while. there was a guy with a nestly cocoa pack giving out cocoa so i accepted some. in my attempts to blow the hot cocoa, it blew over my fingers and the wind wisked it across my pale green shirt. it wasnt’ a lot, and it wasn’t hot, but it was not cool either. so, i started gathering my things since it was fifteen til four, the time everyone was going to meet up to go back to the lodge, and i realized that my scarf, which i had to wrap around my waist when i was reading next to the door, had fallen off at some point. this scarf was the one i made from knit club, my first one, and it was the last thing i needed to happen to me, besides get robbed or kidnapped or raped or something, so anyway, i spent twenty minutes retracing my steps and right before i gave up, i found it in the restaurant. after praising God, i went to the okada spot and waited on everyone to come back. we got back to the lodge and i opted to sleep in order to avoid the line of hungry ppl. i woke up and went to get something to eat, planning to go right back to my room to eat when michael asked me to play monopoly. i agreed since i had not ever played before so me, natty, bucky, and michael played. it was the luckiest game i have ever played in my life. with only three pieces of property, and not even the best three pieces, i beat natty who owned at one point every other piece of property in the game. it was a great end to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day *kudos to those who know where that comes from* so i went back to my room, read a little bit of ihum, slept, and the next morning i helped clean and we came back. thanks if you cared to read my account. it wasnt’ to have anyone feel sorry for me, i just wanted to share what happened to me.

p.p.s if you have yet to pay for the ski trip…i am now taking care of it, and i will not take no for an answer. be ready. cause i AM coming for you. every single one of you. no excuse will be a reason and no mercy will be shown.

My First Attempt at My Memoirs: 8th Grade

December 15, 2010

When first asked what I wanted to do, I was in the third grade.  By that time I had already gone through two ideas.  The first idea happened during the first grade.  At the time I was enrolled at Glen Oaks Elementary and everyone at the school it seemed to know me.  When I was in Kindergarden, I was the limbo queen and from that time on was asked to come back to my teacher’s class to show her new students what I could do.  It somehow got around that I could dance in the first grade and a third grade teacher invited me to her class to teach them what I knew.  I excelled in everything I was doing and got into a special program for other children like me.  Among all these other talents, my most honored was having the short stories I made in class during free time published for the school library.  They would be on a rake at the librarians desk and people could read them there in the library.  This was in the first grade.  I knew I wanted to be a writer.  The next year, our class put on the play Hansel and Gretel.  Though I tried out for Gretel, I got the part of the step mother.  After a few rehearsals I began to really have fun with what I was doing and I liked the laughs that I got from those who heard me perform my lines for them.  Soon I began to have lots of fun with the role and my death at the end of the play was the highlight of the play.  I loved the attention that I was getting so I decided to become an actress.  Unfortunately, during the Christmas break I moved away from that school into a house in Sunrise where I currently reside.  I first got into Candlewood elementary.  I was put into an anger management class which helped me get into the gifted and talented program at Elolf Elementary the following year.  In that fourth grade year, I adjusted to life and wanted once again to be an actress.  Like Candlewood, I, along with several other classmates, had to be transferred to another elementary school due to over crowdedness.  That year at Woodlake Elementary I began writing a short story in my journal spiral for my English class.  By the end of the year it formed into a book a little over 70 pages long so I stuck with the writing idea.  My first year at junior high changed my desire into someone who helped people with their problems.  Since I had a lot of friends all around, a lot of couples came to me for help.  That is where I wanted to be a relationship psychiatrist.  In the 8th grade, I had a lot of problems and did not feel like I could talk to anyone so I wanted to grow up to help other children and teenagers who felt like me so I changed my idea to a child and adolescent psychiatrist.  Just this summer, Mr. Gildermeiser told me that if I wanted to interact with my patients then I would have to be a psychologist.  So that is where I currently stand.

While researching, I found that not all psychologists strictly did research or counseling.  I now realize that there are many job opportunities ranging from many different places and that I would really have to get specific in order to know what I needed to go for in college.  One of the most interesting things I found about my field is that there are jobs in the government that are seriously competitive and that do not require more advanced training than other jobs require.

Here at PREP, we are provided with a guidance counselor.  Summer Hurst is a student in the master’s program for counseling psychology.  Her master’s degree will be a master’s of science.  Summer’s job responsibilities are to basically help the students participating in PREP help themselves.  She can ask guiding questions or try to help the student understand their thoughts.  Because she is a student she does not receive a salary but a counseling psychologist could make 17000 a year before they get their license.  In an institution, the salary goes up to 30 to 65000 a year for a licensed professional.  Those who chose to go into their own private practice usually charge around $125 an hour per patient.  In this profession, there is always room for promotion.

According to Summer, some advantages at working in an institution are benefits such as insurance and paid vacations.  Advantages in a private practice there are the control of your schedule.  However, in private practice there are no benefits to receive.  In both, there is a high stress rate and most importantly there may not be any way to help the patient you have.  The thing that Summer likes the most about her job is seeing someone completely recuperate and overcome their problem.  In contrast, she dislikes having to worry about patients who have not made any progress or did not connect before they left her.  She was inspired by friends who came to her in the 7th grade.  They went to her with their problems and she liked helping them.  One of her worst patients was a guy who had a problem with male chauvinism.  It was a co-therapy session and she was working with another guy.  The patient only talked to the male psychologist and he did not change through his whole ordeal.  Her best patient was the one who made the connection with her and changed the problem she had for the better.  Her advice to anyone who wants to enter the counseling psychology field is to be open.  They should increase their creativity and know themselves completely and know how to take care of themselves.  Finally, she says to decide whether you want to get a doctrine or a master’s to make choosing your college program easier.

Because there are so many types of psychologists, there is always some job waiting for anybody wanting to enter the field.  However, none of these jobs can be obtained simply by having the talent of listening.  To get into the field without a clear mind of specifically knowing what you want to do and how you want to help people will set you back significantly.  Let’s say you want to become a social worker.  Where do you start?  What do you have to do?  What kind of education do you have to have?  For an entry-level job, a bachelor’s degree is needed.  For clinical practices, a master’s degree is required.  The employment rate for a social worker is projected to grow much faster than average expected.  There is keen competition in cities because of the many great masses of people and the stress that it causes, but there are still good opportunities in rural areas because no where is stress free.

Statistics show that 50% of the current psychologist are self-employed.  That is 5 times the average amount for other professional workers.  In 1998, out of 166,000 jobs, 4 out of 10 were in educational institutes.  3 out of 10 were in some sort of health service, which were primarily hospitals, mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and health facilities.  17% of the jobs in 1998 were employed by the government in hospitals, clinics, and correctional facilities.  Statistics also show that employment in health care will grow fastest in out-patient mental health and substances abuse treatment clinics.

The education you receive can decide exactly where you will work.  With only a bachelor’s degree, there are a limited amount of jobs available.  A psychologist with a bachelor’s degree can assist psychologists and other professionals in community health centers, vocational rehabilitation offices, correctional programs, research or administrative assistants, and sales or management trainees in business.  They themselves can specialize as a counselor in counseling centers, independent or group practices, hospitals, or clinics.  A doctoral degree is needed for licensed clinical or counseling psychologists.  Those with doctoral degrees usually enter the private practice or set up their own private research after several years.  Persons with a master’s degree in psychology work as industrial-organizational psychologist, and psychological assistants under supervision of doctor-level psychologists.  They may also perform research or psychological evaluation.  If  a doctrine is desired, there are even more opportunities.  A Ph.D. (Philosophy Doctor) in psychology can provide clinical and counseling positions in universities, elementary schools, secondary schools, private industries, and in government facilities.  It also gives the option of teaching or carrying out research.  A Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) in psychology can allow you to work in clinical positions.  Lastly, a school psychologist must have an Ed.S (Educational Specialist) in psychology.  Without additional academic training opportunities are severely limited.  Summer’s advice of knowing what you want to do is really helpful.  At least then, you know what you have to do in order to reach the job you want.

Now that it is clear what degrees and doctrines provide what opportunities, you must know what each one requires you to have.  Some universities require their undergraduates to major in psychology.  Other universities require their undergraduates to have course work in basic psychology with courses in biological, physical and social sciences, statistics, and mathematics.  For a master’s degree in  psychology, you must have had at least 2 years of full-time graduate study.  Practical experience in an applied setting and a master’s thesis based on an original research project are also needed.  A doctoral degree prerequisites that you have 5 to 7 years of graduate study.  To get a Ph.D., you must write a dissertation based on your own original research.  In order to write a dissertation, you must have a course in quantitative research methods (including the use of computer-based analysis) and part of graduate study.  Although a Ph.D. is mostly based on the dissertation, a Psy.D. may be based more on practical work and examinations.  Finally, when you have your doctoral or degree, you must try to match what you have to what a specific job needs you to offer.  A federal government job for a psychologist states that the applicant must have 24 semester hours in psychology and one course in statistics for entry-level position.  Because you do not have to have an advanced degree in order to get one of these jobs, there is very high competition.  A clinical psychologist needs to acquire a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. and have served an internship.  Vocational and guidance counselors need 2 years of graduate study in counseling and 1 year of counseling experience.  School psychologists occupy a master’s degree in psychology and 1 year of  counseling.  There are programs and societies such as the American Psychological Association (APA) that accredit doctoral training programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.  The APA also provides accreditation to institutions that provide internships for doctoral students in school, clinical, and counseling psychology.  The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education with the assistance from the National Association of School Psychologists provides accreditation for the advancement degree programs in school psychology.

Now I have a more broadened and specific idea of what psychology is and what it requires.  My original plans of being a relationship psychiatrist have now been positively altered to a child and adolescent psychologist.  Although I have realized my long-term goal will take a long time to achieve, I have not given up completely on it.  The mind itself has always fascinated me.  I like to try to get into people’s mind and find out why they think what they think and how that affects them socially.  Children and adolescents have not gone through the stresses of being an adult so when they have problems it is for different reasons and rooted from different places.  It is easier to say that an adult had depression because of their job and their family, but when you come across a teenager or child, it is a lot harder to pin point the root of the problem and I find that interesting.  The only aversion of trying to mentally help a teenager or adolescent is not being able to help them.  If there is no way to help them, then all you can do is sit back and watch their problem eat away at them.  The same would go to any good doctor.  I think the biggest challenge also to any doctor is having to help someone who does not want to be helped.  As a psychologist, you cannot force anything on a patient and if you do not find a way to connect with them, then you cannot help them to your fullest ability.  If they do not offer information or lead you anywhere near a problem, then you are stuck.  I would want to be able to help every person I come across but if I know that I only helped one out of the tens that I saw, then I will be satisfied.

Besides the things that were needed for this Career Exploration Paper, I learned that there are so many different kinds of professions and each profession has so many different kinds of opportunities in it.  Basically there is no excuse for not going after exactly what you want to do in your life.  I also learned that you could make the journey to your goals so much more smoothly if you know yourself and who you are.  If you want to help people, you must first know how to help yourself and continue to help yourself.  With this paper, I learned that even thought this career may not come easy, there is always someone like APA who is willing to help me to succeed.  The reason I wanted to be a relationship psychiatrist was all wrong.  I knew that I would have to  get a Ph.D. and then I could make more money.  Now, thanks to this paper, I realize that if I get my Ph.D. and become a psychiatrist and make money, then I will be doing something I didn’t originally want to do.  Every day  I would be doing something I didn’t like which would affect my performance to my patients.  In the end, I will be doing the opposite of what I originally wanted.  Even though as a psychologist I will not be making the same amount of money as I would have been, I will be interacting with my patients and helping them by talking and not by prescribing medicine.  At least as a psychologist  I will be going to work everyday loving what I do and doing what I love.

My First Fake Pair

April 6, 2010

All little girls pretend one of two things, if not both, during their countless hours of play:

they have hair like rapunzel

or

they have boobs at all

The hair is easy. Most homes have towels that, when wrapped just right, can provide a girl with locks just as good as any weave.

The boobs however are a little more difficult. You have to find two balls the same size that are small enough to fit into whatever outfit your mom picked out for the day. Tricky. I only had one attempt and it seemed to work beautifully. I used a Barbie beach ball on one side, and on the other…I don’t even remember now. But it was close enough in size not to fall out when I put both up my shirt.

I walked carefully, chest out, to the big dresser in my mom’s room where I could look into her large mirror and see how beautiful I looked. Just as I made my second shoulder swivel, my mother came into her room. Siblings in tow, everyone witnessed my obvious game. My mother, though smiling and surely suppressing some serious laughter, asked me the question that usually accompanies punishment. “Shamika, what are you doing?”

Head bowed, I did not answer. I quickly let the treacherous balls fall out of my top and hung my head in burning embarrassment. My mother then asked, “What are these? What were you doing with them?” I suppose in an attempt to figure out where my head was and how much I knew about the female, and perhaps the male, body. However, at this point, deep shame flooded my mind and I could say nothing, even if I wanted to answer.

I never played that game again. Like most black women, I stuck to playing with my hair.

The Essay that Kept Me Out of Harvard

March 12, 2010

It must have been the fourth weekend of math camp when I nearly died. Never before in my entire life had I ever truly pushed myself to any sort of substantial limit. 7th grade athletics was just about my most strenuous physical time up to that point. That weekend the camp director Max informed the campers that we would be taking a hike up Enchanted Rock. It is the second largest solid rock formation in the United States. Promising our safety, Max told us about the boy scouts and little children that frequented the trek 122 meters to the summit. I had never really been exposed to nature outside of my backyard after a storm so the idea of truly being out in one of nature’s masterpieces both intrigued and intimidated me. One of the head counselors, Phil, divulged about a cave which everyone should try to go through after getting to the top of the stratus. I figured, if I could make it to the top without losing my life, I could handle this cave. Once before on a Gifted and Talented field trip, I visited Natural Bridge Caverns. The tour consisted of a hike through a long underground cave. I figured this one would be no different. Underestimating the subterrane was my first mistake. After making it to the top, I followed the crowd to the opening of the cave. When I noticed a long line, I did not realize it was because only one person could fit through at a time. The first thing you had to do was lower your body into an unlit hole until you reach a grip on the wall to catch your foot. This mode of traveling through the soon to come narrow passages was not the only dangerous thing that awaited me. Once I was inside the cave, I had to constantly fight to keep from sliding down into jagged rocks or unknown openings at the seemingly endless bottom of the cave. After about thirty minutes, the whole procession of campers stopped. Someone could not pass through one of the openings up ahead and became stuck. No one could go forward and no one dared try to go back. Max decided after ten minutes of shouting amongst the students, it was time to go. A small bit of natural light reflecting down from the ceiling fortold of an opening furthur up. Max climbed against the steep wall and following some scraps and grunts managed to pull himself up the narrow opening to the awaiting air outside. A friend of mine, one who relishes attention, followed Max because we all realized that this was to be our new way out. Once he was safely up, he called for me to follow him. The other kids looked to me to confirm this moonstruck escape. I pulled myself from the crowd and positioned my body underneath the hole in the wall of rock. My hands and feet pleaded for gripping points along the surface I climbed and many times in vain. I called upon the friction between my skin and the rock to pull me up several times. At any point, I could have lost my bearing and fallen over fifteen feet to my awaiting friends. When I finally made it to the top and stood to see the view of miles and miles of trees and mountains, tears stund my eyes. “That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and I would never do it again, but I loved every minute of it.” These words flashed across my mind as I sucked in the fresh air and helped others out of the cavern. If I had not went into the cave, I may not have known what my physical limits are today. I take this lesson and apply it to all the decisions I am constantly faced with about my future. Now that I am a senior, it is time for me to chose my next course. With Stanford University, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that it will be a climb I would never forget or regret. At times, I will be moving along by the skins of my teeth and I may not see the end, but I know it will be there. The risk now is applying and accepting the challenges that Stanford is willing to offer me. I do know that once I start climbing, there will be no turning back. Once I make it to the end and look back on the obstacles I overcame and the feats I accomplished, the view of the future that will await me will be fuller, clearer, and broader than anything else I could have ever imagined.