Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Light at the End of the Tunnel...#MerryNewYear

...sort of. More like the light at the end of this tunnel but I have to go into another tunnel. * Bane voice* “You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man…” * Batman voice* “I was a boy, but now, I’m a bat!” Did I have a Batman reference on my previous New Year post? Maybe I should make it a thing… Alrighty then, let’s get to the annual New Year post.

First and foremost, I am thankful for the opportunity to share another post with you guys, it is a blessing that can be forgotten amidst the pursuit for self-growth. I am also grateful to be sharing this New Year with an additional member to my family, my second nephew. For the 2017 year, there are many things that I am grateful for. I set many goals and went into the year with high expectations for myself. If I was to rate my performance, I would say that I met 65% of my expectations. Although, I did not completely meet my mark, I experienced success and achievements far greater than I have experienced in my past, and for that, I am grateful.

In my previous New Year post, I recalled my journey chasing success, my days in the tunnel. As 2017 ends, I am able to see the light at the end of my current tunnel as I have just one more clinical rotation left until I get my DPT degree. I am going into 2018 with a clear vision and an attainable path before me. 2017 placed me in new territories as I stretched myself beyond my comfort zone, personally and professionally, and tried new ventures in search of self-growth and becoming accustomed to greater stress and work demands. These are the areas I struggled with and ways I am working to improve in each:

1)    Communication: My communication skills are turrible (big ups Charles Barkley). I recently finished reading the book “the 5 love languages.” Although this book is geared towards couples, I couldn’t help but insert my personal/professional interactions into the different scenarios. In 2017, I had goals that involved collaborative efforts, which I pursued, but failed. I was frustrated, even angry, blaming people for being flaky, lacking drive and ambition. Reading the book, I got a different perspective on my approach to collaboration. Co-workers, collaborators, and the likes have their own motivational languages. Some are motivated intrinsically, others externally. I realized I was speaking in ways that made sense to me and I expected others to respond like I would. This proved to be unproductive as I could not communicate my point across or get the response I sought. Not only was I not communicating in a way that would motivate them but I was presenting a task that had no tangible benefits to them. I now know that my approach should have been one that best matched their motivational language. I haven’t had much time to practice speaking other people’s motivational languages but this is something I will be practicing in 2018 as I hope to enter territories that may put me in positions of collaboration. Like other goals, I will start with small attainable goals and progress to larger ones. 

2)    Low stamina: Low stamina refers to my inability to maintain mental focus and high level of drive for extended periods. I fatigue quickly and become discouraged and distracted, which leads me to switching to another task or abandoning the task at hand. I have many projects begging for my attention and completion to no avail. This is a problem I have been facing and frequent readers of this blog know. I set targets to keep myself on track such as posting a blog entry at least once a month. I start then stop after a week or two, falling victim to fatigue. To overcome this, I have been exercising more, specifically doing more intense bouts of exercise that take me to fatigue. Exercising has become my form of meditation, especially in this intense form. By enduring and overcoming the physical deficits that fatigue causes, I progressively allow my body to manage stressors better. More importantly, overcoming fatigue is a process that builds mental fortitude. I think it was during a lecture that my professor stated that people will quit well before reaching their physical limits as a protective mechanism e.g. the inability to bite through one’s own skin even though it is well within the physical capacity of our teeth to do so. There is a cognitive barrier that limits humans and is difficult to overcome. Placing my body through progressively increased levels of stress, theoretically, allows me to overcome my cognitive barrier. I don’t have research to back this up but the body has the tremendous capacity to adapt to many circumstances as long as the right stimulus is provided. Hence, I will be running my first marathon in 2018 and enduring the training that comes with it! I have also picked up leisure reading, a pastime I once dismissed as being an idle activity. The sustained concentration required to read books is one that could be beneficial. Put simply, I will be engaging in any activity that requires high levels of concentration.

3)    Time management: Where do I start with this? God, my time management skills are terrible! I had the goal of improving my time management skills this year but did not fully commit to it as I had other goals. If I rated my performance this year, it was probably 10% of where I want to be. The goal for this year will be 80%, meaning timeliness for appointments and engagements, deadlines for submissions, and personal deadlines for blogs and such. As you guys know, producing consistent products on this blog is a recurring goal of mine that I get off to a good start with then fall behind schedule and eventually abandon (see stamina). Each attempt at a blog series was my attempt to get myself on a schedule to work on timeliness. As I will be making this goal a priority of mine this year, I will be doing the following: at least one blog entry (total 12) to this blog this year, releasing four projects (once a quarter), and redesigning my website and implementing a routine series that will be posted to on a regular basis (weekly). * thinks to myself* “WEEKLY POSTS??? BRUH, DELETE THAT, DELETE ALL THAT” (see reference:

In 2016, I got a taste of accomplishment and in 2017 I got a taste of success. For 2018, I will be loosening my belt because appetizer time is over. I plan on making more mistakes but I plan on being better than I was this year. Like The Rock said, “big dogs eat, little dogs…something something.” Don’t leave your plate around because the old Chuks is back.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To college or not to college?

I said I had some flame for you guys right?

Centuries ago, a young bard by the name of Shakespeare posed a question that has left us all in a state of ponderation (peep the vocabulation); to college or not to college? Alas, I present this video as an answer.

Check it out to see my points on whether college is a worthy investment. Next week, we will continue the discussion by talking about investments and how college students can invest while going through school.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quotatious Monday


Sorry for my absence! If it's any consolation, I've been putting in work on some flame that I will be posting sometime this week that expands on the "to college or not to college" series. Stay tuned for that!

This post will be the start of a series of micro-posts where I share some of my favorite quotes and expand on their meanings in my life. On that note, here is today's quote:

"You can dream but don't neglect the execution" J. Cole

Ah, to be a dreamer. A gift and a curse it is. For many, dreams and fantasies are all their aspirations ever sum up to be--lost in the comfort of their fantasy, they fail to act upon their aspirations.  For some, they act upon their dreams but don't see it all the way through. Then there are the few that pursue their dreams and see it all the way through. I will openly admit that the first scenario described me, especially in my high school days. While my teachers went on about whatever they talked about, my mind constantly drifted, thinking about the cool things I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn't know or even bother to think of how I would accomplish said cool things. But alas, as dawn doth bringeth the sun, so would time bringeth me wisdom... Kidding, I daydreamed even harder in college. It was not until I was applying for jobs and graduate programs that I realized I hadn't done jack diddly doo! I was too distracted by my fantasies to realize I had accomplished nothing.

So, what did I do? I went to work. This blog and my other blog (The Gist) were some of my first products. I sought to advise undergraduate students on ways to maximize their college experience and to avoid the mistakes I made. One of my earliest posts was on 5 things people in their 20's should not be doing. Really, it was a list of 5 things I was doing that I thought others should avoid. Number 2 on the list was to stop dreaming. That point was to urge the reader to act upon their dreams and fantasies and to take advantage of the freedom and opportunities their youth affords them. You can read this post here.

So, to apply this quote, ask yourself, "what is keeping me from acting on my dreams?" For me, my biggest barrier was laziness. I am lazy! Luckily, this can be overcome by simply forcing yourself to do the necessary task, setting smaller and achievable milestones, or modifying your environment to one that stimulates action (friends, removing distractions, etc.) Some people are afraid or nervous of progressing with their work because of the potential reactions by people. Like most artists, I consider myself extremely sensitive towards my work and when you produce something that is meaningful to you, you make yourself vulnerable, which in turn can prevent you from acting on that dream. This one is tougher to overcome, but the beauty of sharing something special to you and having someone else feel the energy you put into it is worth the vulnerability. Also, getting feedback from smaller groups is a good way to slowly overcome this barrier. Lastly, what if I act on my dream and it fails? To this, I say, what if you don't and you die? Another Cole line, "only thing worse than death is a regret filled coffin." As long as you try, you avoid this inevitability, and that is a win in my book.

One love

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I've chosen the wrong path and I am freaking out

Kia Ora,

Two posts within two weeks! I keep trying to tell you guys my weekly post game is scrawng.

So, this is becoming a recurring thought/discussion that I have had over the past couple of months--whether to go to college, how to choose a career, finding purpose. You will be glad to know I will not be answering this question on this post, that post is coming in the future (did I say this on the last post?) Rather, I want to discuss an important theory that I have been chewing on lately; that is the undeveloped brain (aka the teenage brain) and why holding off on making major decisions (major, career, etc.) is not a bad idea. Acknowledging that an undergraduate status is not representative of one's age, I will state that this post is intended for those that happen to be under 25 and bearing this status...or just 25 and under.

The idea of the teenage brain is that when faced with decisions, teenagers use their amygdala (the emotional part of the brain) to make decisions, whereas adults use their prefrontal cortex (the logical/rational part of the brain). Your emotion tells you to act now while logic tells you to strategize for the long term. While good-willed, the outcomes of these decisions can be detrimental or beneficial and even oppose each other at times, like when I decided to get into skinny jeans because everyone was wearing them instead of the practical "dad jeans" and two months later buying new jeans because skinny jeans like to rip if you don't have skinny legs (sad times). You know what emotional decisions are good for? Food. Imagine tasting that one thing you have been craving for the longest time--amazing, correcto? You have that ice cream (my choice) and it is great in that moment, you're satisfied and move on! This is not the same progression for long term decisions/situations. An emotional decision on long-term scenarios will leave you feeling fine for a while, then once you have to consider the long-term consequences of your decision, doubtful thoughts (is this what I will be waking up to for the rest of my life? Did I make the right decision? What about that other thing I used to really like, what if that is the right choice for me?) arise.

Too many times have people come to this point, many being young college students at the end of their education or early in their career--this was my case. What a terrible place to be, to have worked so hard and to come so far just to be faced with anxiety from the looming consequence of the decision you made as a teenager. It is unfortunate that many young adults fall into this situation. It was not until I was pondering on topics for a talk that I connected the concept of the immature brain with what I will call "major remorse" or "career remorse".

So, how do you overcome the incidence of major/career remorse? Stave off college, don't make that decision on the major or college you think is right for you, don't take that job that is so enticing. Maybe the problem is in the physical incapacity of the brain to make a decision that will best suit your future needs/desires/aspirations; maybe we are doing things wrong; maybe as undergrads, you should embrace the uncertaintity, making self-growth and exploring the possibilities the world has to offer a priority, finding purpose and passion in the process.

Unexpectedly, my time in New Zealand has exposed me to many young individuals who have forced me to rethink my outlook on the career decision making process. Where I would have abstained from discouraging college or taking long breaks, I find myself rethinking this position as I meet people who have embraced the uncertaintity (seriously, these people don't even have plane tickets to go back home...whaaaaat?), staving off college because they wanted to travel or learn English. While I thought these people were reckless (still kind of do), I am starting to see the method to their madness. Being a tourist destination, New Zealand is the perfect place for people like these to meet people from all over the world and supply their brains with unique information while giving it time to mature. These people have truly been inspiring and I believe that is why I am so optimistic in recommending that more people embrace the uncertainty. So, freak out not my friends.

On that note, I leave you with this message; don't let the uncertainties of the future occupy the certainties of the present.... Ooooh that was a hot quote!

If you are curious about how some of these travelers are getting about, or want to know how New Zealand is, or whatever else, feel free to drop a comment.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Kia Ora friends!

That is the Maori greeting, a lovely and catchy one, if you ask me!

Anywho, back with my weekly post (sarcasm), and I think I've got a good one for you guys. Forbes posted a list of bachelor degrees with the highest salaries, see link at the bottom, and guess what degree came out on top?

Engineering, you say?

Ding, ding, ding, winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I can't say that I am surprised. Engineering is a great field to go into due to the consistent demand, career flexibility, AND you just need a bachelors to work (and some connections). Engineering is a sweet deal! As you can see, it comprised almost 90% of that list; it should have been called "earnings for engineering degrees... and two other degrees."

So, what does this mean as an undergrad or incoming undergrad? If you are looking to just get your bachelors and go into the world to work and make money, it would behoove you to consider an engineering degree.

Another degree, surprisingly not listed on there, is a bachelors in nursing. This is a great degree that will lead you to a nursing career which will start you at a salary that ranks well into the top three of that list. It also provides a lot of flexibility so you can find a niche that satisfies your interests.

But, like the old Antarctican proverb goes, "to lifeth there is much more than moneyeth." Money doesn't equal satisfaction or happiness for many, so choose wisely. Not sure how to decide? See my previous posts, there should be something on there about finding passion...or maybe I will post something like that in the future.

Anywho, give the link a look and stay tuned for more content. Drop a comment and let me know if you have any questions.


Link: The 25 Bachelor’s Degrees With The Highest Salary Potential In 2016-2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lessons From the Past: How to Achieve Success in A New Year

Oh hey guys,

Look at that, It's a New Year and I'm still the same bum (joking, but not really joking). On this post, I will reflect on my journey to where I currently am and give you guys some advice based on my successes and failures (For similar posts, click these links: here and here, and here). Skip to the bullet points at the end if you just want a summarized version minus my mumbo jumbo. Either way, let's go!

This last New Year's Eve, December 31st, 2016 was a unique one. While prior New Year's had been filled with deep contemplation and uncertainty, this time around, I found myself in an unusually calm state. This was a first for me since adulthood. At first, I could not understand why I felt the way I did, all I knew was that it was different. I had just submitted the final draft of my capstone project for my doctoral program three days ago, a burden that had consumed my mind and body most of the year. I had no deadlines to meet nor any pending decisions from an application. I soon came to realize this was the first time I was going into the New Year burden free. Not only was my plate free of obligations and pending decisions, but it had been replaced with opportunities and certainty. I chuckled upon this realization and thought to myself, "so this is what a sense of accomplishment feels like." If you can't already tell, this had not always been the case.

To be honest, I never really liked the New Year, especially for this reason. It was a reminder of failed attempts--a reminder that I was not where I wanted to be. No matter how hard I tried to ignore these thoughts or have a positive outlook on the situation, my failures always plagued my mind. It was not until I got accepted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Northern Arizona University in 2015 that my doubts began to lift. It took almost four years for this change to occur. Tired of repeated failures during this period, I made a decision one New Year that I would not physically rest until I became succeful, which I wrote down. On this same note, I wrote down specific areas in my life that I wanted to become successful at, what that success would look like and steps I needed to take towards attaining that success. I will make mention that my definition of success is based on the accomplishment of goals and self-growth, with no monetary implications. This pact set me on a journey of self-discovery and growth, filled with many, many, many rejections. But this period taught me many great lessons.

First, time is EVERYTHING, respect it.
I've had my fair share of mourning and feeling sorry for myself, but at the end of the day, that never changed my situation. I quickly came to detach myself from self-pity and grew an obsession for time. I was on a mission for success and time was not in my favor--EVERY minute had to have purpose in attaining my success. I found myself agitated with activities that consumed my time and didn't get me any closer to attaining my goals. I gave up activities that squandered my time, such as going out to the clubs or binge movie watching. As obsessive as it may seem, I learned to respect and value my time.

Second, opportunity isn't always around, sometimes you have to make it.
An entrepreneur by my definition is one that takes destiny into their hands. Utilizing my time more wisely allowed me to be more productive and apply for more positions and programs but this did not materialize into any opportunities. Following my motto of seeking solutions and not problems, I examined myself as an applicant and asked what ways I could improve--I needed experience. I was not taught this in my undergraduate--I assumed I would have the world at my hands after graduating, after all, I had a college degree. The world did not care for my degree, or my volunteer and internship positions. I faced the plight of a young applicant, I had no experience and no one was giving me the opportunity to gain experience. I decided I would forge my own destiny with or without the assistance of anyone or any programs acceptance. I did this by writing my strengths, weaknesses, skills, and accomplishments, essentially making a curriculum vitae. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a huge advocate of writing things down--your mind will trick you into overestimating or underestimating situations! In essence, my list was summarized to "college graduate with training in biological research and critical analysis with some life experience." These were the tangible skills I was bringing to the table. From this, I chose what I could work on with the resources available to me (money, equipment, infrastructure). This blog and my other blog are a result of this. On The Gist, I use my critical analysis skill to discuss topical issues that interest me. On here, I give advice on matters concerning college and how to make the most of your undergraduate career. Both blogs are free to run and I could promote them through social media. Many people have gone down this route and have made successful careers from blogging--maybe my blog will blow up one day as well, help a brotha out. My reason for starting the blogs was not to seek fame or money. I put a lot of effort into my writings and did the research necessary to support my articles, producing, in my opinion, quality products reflecting my skills and capacity. While there was no opportunity for me to gain experience and build accomplishments, I found a way to produce concrete products that I can, and do add to my resumé. Blogging served as a unique platform to showcase my competency and was a great addition to my resumé, which always seemed to impresses interviewers. I also improved on some of my weaknesses through blogging; I became a better writer and communicator. So, in the midst of scarce opportunities, I was able to create an opportunity, essentially hiring myself and adding that experience to my resumé.

Third, accept and even appreciate rejection.
I learned that rejection was not a reflection of my ability but a result of improper fit between two parties. I don't think anyone took rejection harder than I did and it made me question and doubt myself. Of course, there was still room for me to grow, but like Kanye said, "man, are these dudes that much better than me?" Was I really this bad? But like most stimuli, the effects slowly tapered and with this tapering off came a moment of enlightenment. Due to my desperation, I applied to jobs and programs that make me cringe now that I look back. Although desperate, I soon realized my goal was not to just get accepted but to get accepted where I needed to be. In essence, my rejections kept me on the right track and this gave me confidence when I was applying for programs and interviewing. I stopped stressing so much on trying to portray what I thought programs wanted in an applicant, and began telling my story and expressing myself. I was Ochuko, and if you were going to accept me, it would be based on every part of me including my failures. This approach reduced the chances of false positives. Through rejections, my confidence was strengthened, something I had lost.

In the words of my mother, "so, what am I saying?" My success in 2016 and subsequent peace I experienced going into the New Year was not the result of what I did in 2016--it was the culmination of experiences and my decision to chase success years ago. I went into 2017 with a peace and confidence I had never had before. I am certain this year is going to be even better and I credit the journey I have endured and opportunities I have seized. Those experiences have formed the foundation and enabled me to handle the opportunities presented to me now. I have started my year on fire, kicking off my photography business, I have a series of photography exhibitions planned, I landed two promising internships for the year, and I am in the process of developing a publication platform for my DPT program at NAU where I will be writing more focused articles, amongst other things.

I graduated from my undergraduate program in December 2012 and started my graduate program in August 2015. Of the four years of uncertainty I faced, this period from undergraduate to graduate school were the hardest and most challenging but also the most impactful on who I am today. The hardship of that period cultivated behaviors and skills that manifested themselves in 2016. I hate to give the cliché phrase of "work hard and never give up." We all know this. Instead, I will leave with this summary of things I learned from my past that you can use to start your journey to success.

1) Time is scarce, respect and value it.

2) An entrepreneur is one that takes their destiny into their hands. Don't wait for opportunities, harness the entrepreneurs mentality and create your own--sometimes your skills and ideas might be beyond the scope of established norms.

3) Find a platform to utilize and strengthen your skills. Social media is a great platform and it is FREE!

4) When it comes to a resumé, nothing is insignificant as long as you can tie it in appropriately and it is of high quality, except meme page manager; that might be harder to sell.

5) Rejections are not a reflection of you or your abilities, but rather a result of improper fit between two parties. Embrace rejections, they will guide you to where you need to be and let you know where you shouldn't be. Time is too precious to spend in the wrong place or doing the wrong things.

6) ALWAYS learn from your experiences. Only a fool goes into a situation and comes out saying that it was a waste of time. Like I said, your time is precious, if you're going to do something, make sure you learn something from it. Listen more than you speak and ask questions. Ask that interveiwer, whether you got the position or not, what areas of strength you displayed and MORE importantly, areas that you can improve upon.

7) WRITE THINGS DOWN. Your mind will deceive you but the ink never will.

Choose to be successful from this year on. Happy New Year,

One love