Thank You, Langton Hughes

Over the winter break, I picked up a dusty book from my bookshelf that contained poems from American poets. I was a try hard when it came to trying to like poetry.

But, I just couldn’t find poetry that made my heart leap, and my soul weep.

Then, Langston Hughes with his jazz poetry came along. Call me a fish, but I was hooked. *ba-dum-tshh*

I used to regard poems as confusing and downright alien. But, I couldn’t be more wrong. Poems are open to interpretation, and some are full of riddles. But, the most unique poems possess an unspoken communication that strikes the mind.

I highly recommend reading some of Hughes poetry because of both the vibrancy of his style and the truth in his words. I enjoyed how his poems have a light rhythm, but a heavy undertone to address rather impassioned subject matters. Here are a few lines from some of my favorite poems of his:

“So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.”

“Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”

“My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?”

“I wonder what makes
A funeral so high?
A poor man ain’t got
No business to die.”

Take A Deep Breath

“The most dangerous risk of all– the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” -Randy Komisar

“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity. What’s the point of being realistic? It’s unrealistic to walk into a room, flip a switch, and have light come on, but fortunately, Edison didn’t think so.” -Will Smith

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” -Robert Schuller

Follow your purpose.

ASEAN Night (GEF International Event)

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

From comedic bits to a fashion show to informative trivia and cultural dance/song performances, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations aka ASEAN put on a wonderful performance on February 8th, 2018. 

I got to sit back and watch fellow OU students share their culture with the audience. I also got to see some of my friends perform! Sarah participated in Thailand’s water festival dance and Don danced to represent Burmese culture!

The different dance performances were unique in their own way and filled the auditorium with energy. There were different costumes, dance styles, and music that set each dance group a part. The international events on campus, especially those showcasing students cultures are the most fun to go to!

Indonesia’s Global Engagement (GEF International Event)

Every day is a learning experience, but when I attend the IAS lunches, I feel 60% more informed and see myself becoming more globally-minded. That being said, I found it insightful to hear the Consul General Nana Yuliana talk about Indonesia’s foreign policy.

Though Indonesia became independent from the Dutch (and before them–the Japanese) in 1945, they are a rising economic power and a key member of ASEAN (the equivalent of the EU, but focused in Asian countries). Indonesia credits this rise to their principle of being “independent and active” through which they believe diplomacy and individual-individual communication between Indonesian students and American students will resolve the people-people misunderstanding.

Dr. Yuliana also mentioned Indonesia’s current priorities: 1)Economic diplomacy 2)Maritime diplomacy 3)Protection of Indonesian citizens and their legal entities overseas 4)Take an active role in the international forum. Current challenges to these include the South China Sea issue, conflict in the Korean Peninsula, terrorism, etc.

It never ceases to amaze me how much my studies have given me so much background to lectures such as these. For instance, my 19th-century intellectual history class led me to think about the democracy model and the different perspectives regarding it versus other models, and my Understanding the Global Community class forced me (haha:) to think about how different states interact with each other and what causes them to act in such ways. I look forward to doing personal research– particularly regarding Indonesian culture.

Nana Yuliana. “Lecture on Indonesia’s Global Engagement with the US Lunch”. The University of Oklahoma. October 30, 2017.

Angolan Cultural Night (GEF International Event)

A fellow GEF, my friend Sarah, invited me to go to the Angolan Cultural Night. After aimlessly walking for at least 20 minutes, we somehow found the Angolan Cultural Night. There was incredibly good food, not to mention an outstanding show!

People poured their hearts on the stage and I was awestruck at the talent and the unspoken communication of Angolan culture through song, dance, and poetry.

One guy even did a martial arts performance! My favorite part of the show was the fashion show and the last act where they danced and got the audience to join them. It was one of the best ways to spend a Friday night.

FSO in residence: Importance of Language and Culture (GEF International Event)

Advice from OU’s Diplomat in Residence

  1. “Do the hard stuff”
    • Peace Corps, ROTC, Study Abroad: Immersion Programs
  2. Scoring an internship
    • Paid→ Pathways recruits minorities
    • Unpaid→ Over the summer
  3. Steps to become an FSO (Foreign Service Officer): 1)Written Test 2)Personal Narratives 3)Oral Assessment
    • Prepare early
    • Be a well informed citizen
    • Accumulate experience and skills
    • Strive to improve your character
    • Bottom line: Read. Write.
  4. FSO as a career
    • It’s a lifestyle
    • Everyone does consular work
    • You’re constantly learning
      1. Foreign Service Institute: will pay you to learn languages
    • You represent Americans
  5. Attain high fluency in a language
    • Order of current language recruitment by State Department: 1) Spanish 2)Chinese and Portuguese 3)Arabic and Russian (subject to change)
    • This is the information hub regarding internships, career paths, and advice in the State Department

Kristin Stewart. “The Importance of Language and Culture in the Foreign Service”. The University of Oklahoma. September 6, 2017.

Model UN (GEF International Group)

Today, I learned from tiny humans. Even though I’ve been a part of Model United Nations for the bulk of this first semester, I didn’t have the first clue about pretty much anything. Now, I (at least) think I do. The Executive Committee put together a Model UN conference for Middle Schoolers where I saw these kids debate, use parliamentary procedure, and caucus with each other. My understanding of Model UN has finally come full circle.

My role as Secretariat Staff allowed me to circulate around during caucusing to help facilitate discussion. But, I think I learned more from the middle schoolers than they did from me. I was surprised at how much the kids didn’t need our guidance. I’ll be sticking with Model UN because of how we get to learn about how countries interact at the international level and how you are put into situations where you must debate, collaborate, and practice public speaking. I’m excited to see how this year goes.