Advice

Celebrating Black History Month

Students from OMEGA NU and the Educators’ Club discuss why Black History Month is important to them.

Join OMEGANU and Educators’ Club. OmegaNU meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month. See the website for meeting information. Join the first meeting of the Educators’ Club on Thursday, March 4 at 5 p.m. PST. Register here. The NU student community is invited to our Black History Month Celebration Game Night! Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m., PST. Register here.

Daisy Coleman, Secretary of OMEGA NU. Daisy is earning her Master of Arts, Education, Emphasis in Social Emotional Learning with Single Subject Credential, English.
Whatever we, as a people, have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, and preserved. Black history matters to everyone.

Black History Month gives me, an African American female, many opportunities to gain more knowledge about the history of my own people, to listen to and enjoy traditional music and to attend enriching events. This is also a time for highlighting the many accomplishments and contributions that Black Americans have made to the scientific, educational, and social justice fabric of the United States. It is unfortunate that we, as a country, only recognize the contributions of Black people once a year during the month of February. With so many decisions being made on the basis of a person’s race– or the color of their skin and without regard to the content of their character and the importance of their work–Black History Month provides an opportunity to salute the many accomplishments that often go unnoticed.

This is a time to rejoice and reflect on how far we’ve come as a race, and how far we’re going to go. Giving thanks to my ancestors for being brave and paving the way for excellence. Black History Month means honoring the struggles so many African-American men and women faced, educating the others on the challenges they still face, and celebrating the challenges they’ve overcome. This charge is the essence of the concept “Sankofa,”  derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Sankofa means, “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.”

“Sankofa” teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we as a people have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, and preserved. Black history matters to everyone. I’m glad we have the opportunity to celebrate and recognize Black History because to really truly understand our nation’s history, we all need to better understand Black History.

Come join Omega NU and PRIDE on February 24, 2021 from 5:30pm-6:30pm for a Jeopardy Game to not only test your knowledge of the phenomenal impacts that Black Americans have had on our country both past and present, but possibly learn more than you ever knew. There is a chance to win prizes as well. We look forward to seeing you there!

Marissa Mosley, member of Educators’ Club reflects on the Resilience and Joy of Family

Marissa Mosley, Member of Educators’ Club. Marissa is earning her Master of Art, Education, Emphasis in Social Emotional Learning Single Subject Credential in English

When I think of Black history, I think of the stories that have been told of incredible resilience and persistent joy in the face of unimaginable circumstances. I think of the countless tales of perseverance and innovation in the midst of extreme adversity. Stories of civil rights leaders who never faltered in the face of opposition–black inventors, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and countless others who paved the way for myself and others who look like me. I think about families that pass down stories of love and triumph from generation to generation.


My parents were married in 1981 in the backyard of my grandparents’ house in Riverside, CA. Their marriage took place just 14 years after interracial marriage was legalized in all 50 states. Prior to 1967, many states enforced miscegenation laws which prohibited interracial couples from marrying or cohabitating; couples involved in these relationships faced the threat of being charged with a felony. They have been married 40 years, this year.

For me, Black history begins with my family. Storytelling is bound to take place when the Mosley family gets together. I have grown fond of the precious moments we spend telling stories as we sit around the table. My favorite stories are those that my father tells of a distant past, a past that I could not have imagined living, one that lives vividly in his memories–stories of family members that I have never had the chance to meet. Like my late grandfather, “Wild Bill” (how he got that nickname is a story in itself). My grandfather grew up in Mississippi long before Black people had civil rights. He had many run-ins with those who hated the color of his skin. There were no police officers who he could call for help or lawyers that would seek justice on his behalf, but, as my father tells it, he never backed down in the face of opposition. He worked hard to provide for his family despite the challenges that he faced. And he stood up for those who he loved, even if it meant losing his life.

My grandfather Wild Bill and my grandmother Daisy Bell circa 1968. After moving to California from Mississippi, my grandparents raised six children in Riverside, CA. Both Wild Bill and Grandma Daisy each have a rich family history, which they passed down to their children, a history that I am honored to be able to share with others. While I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, my grandma Daisy was the sweetest woman I knew. I am thankful for the legacy of wisdom, faith, and strength that they instilled in their children. The stories that I have heard of each of them will forever be alive in my memories and in the stories that I will share with generations to come. 

As I listen to my father tell stories of a past that is not so distant to him, I notice that his reminiscence is not one of brokeness. He speaks of his bold and unafraid father with a gleam of pride in his eyes. It is evident to me that he is not telling the story of a broken people, but of a people who made the most out of an impossible situation, who clung to their family and valued the little that they had–of a people who survived off of faith, family, and laughter.

I am honored to have Wild Bill’s blood flowing through my veins, to have such a rich heritage, a heritage that transcends bloodline and tells the story of a community of people who fought to overcome a heavy-laden past. To me, Black history is about Black superheroes, like Wild Bill, who never faltered in their stance against injustice, who effected change that made a difference in the lives of those who came after them.

Black History Month is a month in which we honor all that Black people have contributed to American society, particularly those like my grandfather and my father, a Vietnam Veteran.

My dad, an American soldier, in Vietnam.

It is a month in which we take time to recognize black pioneers, activists, and everyday families. Black history is American history. It is not confined to the month of February; it is alive in the stories that we tell and in the experiences we share.

My dad and his army buddies, around 1968, Vietnam.
Marissa, as child, and her dad. His love for fishing began when he was just a kid; his mother, Daisy Bell, would regularly take him fishing in their hometown of Riverside, CA. Fishing is more than just a hobby for my family, it is a part of our history. My grandmother grew up on a Choctaw Reservation in Mississippi with her father, Jerry Kidd, who taught her how to fish. This was an important part of life for the Choctaw people. As my father tells it, his mother taught him to fish using nothing but a cane (bamboo) pole attached to a string, cork, and a hook. This is a moment I will forever cherish; it reminds me of my father’s intention in sharing this important piece of his family’s culture with his children. 

Would you like to contribute your story for Black History Month or Women’s History Month? If so, please email clubs@nu.edu.

Advice

#30DaysofChange Starts with One Decision

Check out National University’s IG to add your #30DaysofChange story

To see more about mentoring, check out MentorMe–NU’s Mentoring Platform for students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Micoy Gonzalez (Bachelor’s of Science, Nursing) discusses his big decision to make a change by returning to school. Here’s his story.

Micoy Gonzalez, BSN

In the several years I have been working as a vocational nurse, I was fortunate enough to have been given opportunities for advancement, professional development and learn more responsibilities in the skilled nursing setting. It would have been simple for me to settle for being an assistant to the director of nursing in a skilled nursing facility. I was making a fairly remunerative salary and was able to provide for my family. However, the nagging feeling of knowing I am capable of learning more and doing more to help people never left my thoughts. Now that I am a father, and have had experience working as a LVN, I am a student at a later time in my life with a clear determination to achieve getting my RN license in order to accomplish more in this field of healthcare.

In my own immediate family, my father and mother were not able to complete college because they had me and my sister, and they were not able to pursue their education afterwards. My sister did not finish college because she also needed to provide for her family.

Micoy and his children supporting March of Dimes in their giving thanks campaign to healthcare workers who give care for healthy moms and babies.

I was determined not to repeat the same patterns of not continuing my educational and personal goals. Finally, I acted and went back to school for my RN license. Timing was everything, since it was after my wife completed school and my children grew a little older. Being a family man has made it difficult to fill this role as a student, but not impossible.

As a man wanting to provide for his family, I have passed up opportunities to pick up shifts at work in order to study, write papers or attend clinical. I’ve been declining invitations to hang out with friends (before COVID) since school started. And I missed pre-COVID East Coast family gathering, so that I wouldn’t be behind in school.

I sacrifice all this and think of the reason why I started this journey: to pursue my career goals. I keep my end goal in mind and where I’ll be five years from now: an RN, perhaps a Nurse Manager. The student journey as an adult learner is difficult, but not impossible.

Micoy in PPE as a student nurse.

In my mind, I gave myself two options: do it now, or regret not doing it, later. When anyone truly determines they want to accomplish a goal for themselves, while also thinking that they have no other option but to succeed, that person will do anything they have to see their goal fulfilled.

Since coming to NU, I have been active in the Alumni Association (yes–even students can join) and on NU’s MentorMe platform, building mentoring skills and my network. I started my #30DaysofChange with one decision, and it was one of the best I’ve ever made.

Advice

Cultivating Gratitude: Tips from National University’s Mind, Body, Wellness Student Organization

We asked members of National University’s Mind & Body Wellness Student Organization how they cultivate gratitude.

Meet the panelists from the Mind & Body Wellness Student Organization: Maria, Jacqueline (President), Cristyn, and Rae Lynn.

What are you grateful for?

Maria: In addition to being grateful for my health and that of my family, I am grateful to both National University and the NU Scholars Program. National University has helped me to believe in myself and my ability. I am prepared to make a positive impact in my community, and that makes me feel a great sense of fulfillment and gratitude.

I will always feel grateful for the opportunity to be a student leader. This experience has increased my self-confidence so much. I see myself as more capable and confident and I know this will benefit me greatly in my career.

Maria and her daughter Bella enjoy a gorgeous pre-COVID day in Hawai’i

Rae Lynn: This year has been a year of unexpected challenge and difficulty for most people. While it’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way and when life is going according to plan, gratitude is that much more meaningful when you have to seek it out in the midst of less-than-ideal circumstances. When I focus on the negative things around me, I can often get stuck in negative emotions and forget all of the things that there still are to be thankful for. And, even in 2020, there is plenty to be grateful for!

I am thankful for my health, and the health of my family members, in a year where health is not to be taken for granted. Although I often find myself complaining about being “stuck” inside with my kids, I am thankful for the extra time I have gotten this year with my family. This time with them is a gift, and how fortunate we are as a family to be able to work from home and help support our children as they learn from home.

I am also grateful to National University for an education that will help me become the best teacher I can be. I am thankful for the opportunities for scholarship, service, and leadership development, and for this community of likeminded individuals seeking to learn and make an impact on the world.

As a student leader, I am grateful for the opportunity to give back: Leadership isn’t about being on top of a podium and having people look up at you, but about living a life that inspires and serves others. As a student leader, I have been able to use my leadership training to give back to others who are on their journey of going back to school. It has been incredible to be able to inspire them and help equip them as they take those bold and scary steps of entering college for the first time.

Jacqueline: I am most grateful for my life and my health – the possibilities are endless when you are alive and healthy. I am incredibly blessed and grateful for my family, my wonderful husband, and my children, who understand and support my dreams. I am thankful for the experiences that have taught me to live life with a grateful heart.

I am grateful to NU for believing in me, and for showing that they value me as not only as a student, but as a person. The opportunities for professional development opportunities that have been provided have helped me grow in a way I did not think possible for me, and have allowed me to dream bigger than ever before.

After dropping out of eighth grade, I thought my education journey was over, and as a wife, parent, and older nontraditional student, I certainly never thought that I would have a leadership opportunity. Yet here I am, not only completing a master’s program, but being involved at NU as a student leader! This opportunity has helped me to develop my professional persona and to become more comfortable with public speaking.

Cristyn: Although we still have a long way to go, I am very grateful that I live in a time where equality for all has begun to make huge advancements. This is due to the hard work and bravery of so many that have come before me.

I am grateful to be able to work a full-time job and raise three kids while attending university classes. I could not do this without the online platform and asynchronous classrooms National University offers. On top of that, every professor, advisor, school administrator, and help desk professional has helped me to the best of their abilities.

I truly believe that “it takes a village,” especially in a year like 2020. It was only after we all retreated behind our walls that we realized how much we need each other. As a student leader, I hope to reach as many other students as I can, because I know first-hand that a smile or a word of encouragement can mean the difference between someone continuing on their path to higher education or turning away from it. By reaching out to others, we remind each other that are not alone. We are all in this together and we can all be successful at achieving our goals.

What advice would you give to others about building an attitude of gratitude?

Maria: Be unrelenting when it comes to creating an attitude of gratitude. Feeling and expressing gratitude centers you and helps you reflect on what is truly important in your life. Expressing gratitude humanizes us. My advice is to express your gratitude every chance you get!

Rae Lynn: Recently, after spending too much time on social media, I found myself beginning to compare my life to the “highlight reel” of others. It seemed like everyone else’s life was so much better than mine! I knew I needed a mind-shift. I immediately shut off my phone and grabbed my journal to make a list of all the of things in my life I am grateful for. As I wrote about my family, my marriage, my home, my friendships, and the many amazing opportunities I have been able to experience in life, my negative mood changed into an attitude of gratitude. While my life is not perfect, it is mine and it is beautiful. So, if you find yourself focusing on the “have-nots” or the things that you might be lacking in your life, take some time to reorient yourself and remind yourself of the things you do have that you are grateful for. I promise, it will change your perspective!

Jacqueline: Being grateful helps us feel happier by allowing us to enjoy the simple things we sometimes take for granted. Focus on the good things in life and learn to appreciate them more. Celebrate yourself and your daily accomplishments – If you don’t think they are a big deal, shift your thoughts, and make them a big deal! Share this attitude and set an example for by appreciating and show gratitude to people around you. In short, look at everything with a grateful heart. Everything that happens has something to offer, and even adverse events bring valuable lessons that help us grow.

Cristyn: We have all had both struggles and blessings – the trick is to see the struggles as the building blocks of success. None of us learned to walk before falling down a few times and none of us learned to talk without mispronouncing a few words. Every failure has a lesson and every lesson helps us grow. Once you accept that even failure is a step forward, it’s hard not to be grateful for all of our experiences.

Want to learn more?

Did you know that all active National University students receive free LinkedIn Learning membership through their Single Sign-On? And that many of these courses are eligible for Continuing Education Units in fields from Project Management to Accountancy?

This short video below offers some quick tips on how to build a habit of expressing gratitude in a high-impact, professional way:

Want to learn more about how to cultivate gratitude for professional success? Check out “The Power of Gratitude” on LinkedIn Learning.

Want to learn more about joining a student organization at National University, or completing our Effective Leadership Certificate of Completion? Attend our next monthly NU Engage virtual event. Looking forward to seeing you at our next NU Engage, Tuesday January 12, 2021 at 5:30 pm! Click here to register.