St. Pablo Tour stops in Grand Rapids

Considering I haven’t been to a concert since, B2K was a thing. Going to the St. Pablo
Tour was another great experience for 2016. I was able to see why people pay the big bucks for the closer seats, although my seats were just as great. The concert took place in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI., where the streets flooded with people from all over West Michigan to experience Mr. West and his hovering stage.

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Kanye hit the platform at 9:21p.m., and the crowd went crazy. I’ll be honest, I enjoy Kanye as an artist and producer, but I really wasn’t a die hard fan–until now. The energy in that arena was amazing, I enjoyed every bit of it.

He performed several hits like, Jesus Walks, FourFive Seconds, Can’t Tell Me Nothing and several songs from Life of Pablo, obviously. Opening  with Father Stretch My Hands.

As I said before, I hadn’t been to a concert since watching Omarion glide across the stage at Joe Louis Arena, or maybe it was Lloyd…I’m not sure, but it has been a while. Of course, me being “Jill the camera lady” I wanted to capture so many great moments, for this post specifically. I had my phone out the entire time, recording and taking pictures.

I joked about how the set up and lighting made me feel like I was standing in the middle of Zion in the Matrix movie, because that’s exactly how it felt. The yellow lights gave it a real ambient touch. Listening to the crowd sing all the lyrics as if they were on stage performing. Needless-to-say, I had a ball and I need to learn more Yeezy songs new and old.

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 Follow me on Instagram @j.levaeepr and Twitter @jlevaee

Time waits for No One, So use it wisely

Fall is here and the world has never been busier. Students are back to school, Parents are working double time but the days are getting shorter. It’s almost as if we run out of time during the autumn season. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your work days with you as a focus.

Being a student is hard work, whether you are in high school or college, there never seems to be enough time for you no matter how many planners you have. “Students are working an average of 30 hours a week, Georgetown researchers found. However, about 25 percent of working students are simultaneously employed full-time and enrolled in college full-time.” Considering this study was done in 2015, I’m sure that number has increased since then.

If this is you…KEEP READING.

“Having great time management” is something that has been preached to you since about 11th grade. Getting a planner and writing down everything you have to do for that week and sticking to that to-do list. Though this tactic is great, you’re still in shallow waters in the sea of time management. Let’s take this habit a step further. What in your to-do list is major priority?

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These are the task that have to get done ASAP. They usually have a time stamp on them. This can include papers, responding to emails, scheduling appointments etc. Contrary to popular belief, not all task have to get done at that very moment. Find out what is important and needs most of your attention, tackle that first.

Learning how to allocate your free time wisely is the most important skill for managing time. Outside of work and class, what other activities do you have listed that are worth your time? For example, when I was attending Western Michigan University, I purposely scheduled my classes for Tuesday and Thursdays only. That way Monday, Wednesday and Friday were days for work and anything else I wanted to do.  The weekends were days I would do homework and things I personally enjoyed. Moments where I had free time, I made sure I allocated it to something I would be the primary beneficiary.

Most of the time, I took naps but you get the point. Free time shouldn’t be completely spent doing things like studying. Mental health should always be your number one priority.

When do you work best? Are you a rooster or a night owl? Once you find out when you do the best work, you’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently. Time management is important but never forget to work in a way that’s best for you.

 

 

What are you listening to?

So many artist have been dropping gems in my apple music. I have something new to listen to for getting ready, driving to work, exercising…the list goes on. This is what’s I’ve downloaded in the past few weeks.

First things first….Blond x Frank Ocean: Screw him for making us wait..but lets all agree how worth it “the wait” was. Blond is amazing work. I will be honest, I wasn’t always a fan. When I first heard it, I thought it was ok. However, I gave it another chance while driving home from my internship one day and it definitely grew on me.

I can listen to Self-Control three times before I let the rest of the album finish. That song just resonates so much with my life right now. In addition to Solo, my other jam, after skipping his moms anti-drug PSA.

travis-scott-birds-in-the-trap-sing-mcknight-01.jpgI’m also listening to Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight x Travis Scott…definitely another banger. Truthfully, I’m no die hard Travis Scott fan, but I definitely appreciate his music for sure. I can bang Outside all day.

I’m still listening to Everybody Looking x Gucci Mane. Even though I’ve heard mixed views on the new gucci music, I for one enjoy every bit of it. I recommend listening to Gucci Please as you get dressed for your day. Start your day with the “Trapper Confidence” and I bet you have a great day.

I cannot forget about Daniel Son; Necklace Don x 2 Chainz–another get ready with me banger. Starting with the first song Get out the bed. That is what I’m talking about 2 Chainz. This is my put my swag on…it’s time to grind and make this money song.

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But what are you listening to?

Five Fun Fall Activities

Fall is officially here and I AM excited. Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Starting September 1st, I can feel the change in the air. Most people are hype for summer and are sad when summer is over, but Fall can be just as fun as the summer time. This new season offers opportunities for activities such as long walks and bike rides, or raiding Pumpkin patches and hunted houses. bench-560435_1920

Inspired by the change in season, I’ve compiled five absolutely fun things you must do in during the fall season.

  • Take a friend/pet/significant other with you for a walk: Living in Kalamazoo, we have access to several state trails. During the fall, these can be the prettiest places to be. My favorite trial in Kzoo is Kal-Haven Trail and I highly recommend it. Located on 10th street north of W Main. Sit or walk on what was once use as a transportation route between Kalamazoo and South Haven.
  • Visit an Apple Orchard or Pumpkin Patch: These were the best field trips for us as children, assuming that you’re old like me. There is no reason we should be depriving ourselves from this childhood gem–just because we’re adults. Apple Orchards and Pumpkin patches are perfect on those cloudy windy fall days—perfect for warm apple cider.
  • Camping: There is nothing like getting a group of friends together and going on a camping trip. Michigan has various camping ground locations. If you want to get fancy, plan the ultimate cabin trip.
  • Fall Fairs/Festivals: Small towns may host annual fairs during the fall, for example if you live in the west Michigan area, visiting the ArtPrize Art Festival and Competition in Grand Rapids, MI, would be a great idea. Jf you aren’t anywhere near Michigan check your local listing for what festivals will be in your town for the fall.
  • Stay in and Cuddle: This time of year is the best time for sharing body heat. There is nothing wrong with staying in. If you have a person to spend some quality time with, like watching movies under a warm blanket with food, drinks etc., do it! Make that date, you’ll thank yourself for it….Fellas that goes for you too! 

The autumn season is so beautiful. I challenge you to take a moment and recognize the constant magic our surroundings perform. Use each of these activities to appreciate the constant evolution that happens arounds you.

If you aren’t from Michigan, comment below what activities are popular during the fall in your town/city?

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#MotivationMonday: Advice to The Freshmen Class of 2020

As time is winding down and I begin my final semester of undergrad at Western Michigan University tomorrow, I’m reminiscing on the past 4 years of my life. I have no regrets; however, if I could do it all over, here’s what I’d do differently:

 

1. Meet more people!

Though I can be an extrovert at times, I am an introvert for the most part. I’m pretty quiet and stay to myself. Meeting new people and making friends has never been my forte. I have met some amazing people and even met my best friend, Jade, in college. But I wonder about all the possible friendships I have missed out on because of my introverted behavior. I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of being around 25,000 people of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, etc. If I were more open, who knows how many more lasting friendships and connections I could have made.

2. Make time for fun!

I’m a very busy person, and always on the go. I have a detailed schedule outlined for each day. If it’s not on the schedule, I don’t partake in it. Though that can be a good thing, sometimes I wish I could just go with the flow. There have been so many missed opportunities of making unforgettable memories because I was just so busy all the time, whether it be going out, taking a trip, or just simply spending time with my friends. I’m always so stuck on a schedule that sometimes I forget that it’s okay to have fun, take a break, and make time for yourself! Maybe if I did more of that, I wouldn’t have been constantly stressed out or had mental breakdowns every other day.

3. Realize that your mental health is more important than an “A.”

I’m not the type of person that stresses out about getting all A’s. What I get is what I get, as long as I pass the class and tried my absolute best! But still, I stress out about grades just like every other college student, sometimes to the point where I break myself down mentally, physically, and emotionally. Yes, grades matter. Or do they? I mean, all the interviews I’ve had so far for post-college jobs have NOT asked for my transcripts or my GPA. They just want to know if I can perform the tasks needed to be a good employee. They don’t care if I got an A in Film Communication! They just don’t. I guess the situation is different if you’re trying to get into law, medical, or grad school in general and you need a certain GPA to get admitted. But still, sometimes I believe that I overstressed about grades way too much when in reality at the end of the day, as long as I pass, I’m good!

4. Ask for help.

Asking for help has always been a challenge for me. I’m definitely a do-it-yourself type of person. I like to figure things out on my own and I will literally sit for hours – and sometimes days – trying to figure out something before I ask for help. Three words: Don’t do that. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and trouble if you just get help. College is filled with numerous resources. Use them! You’re paying for it, so you might as well. Whether it be going to tutoring, the counseling and wellness center, or just talking to your friends about a hard day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. College is already hard. Don’t make it any harder.

5. Don’t try to do everything unless you want to kill yourself.

I don’t know what it is about college, but if you were one of those overachievers in high school that did everything and was the president of every club (like me) and you try to do that in college, you will die. Point blank period. Trust me, I know. I thought I could be a college athlete, take a full load of classes, work, and be in 10 student organizations. LOL. I learned that that’s impossible. Now as a 5th year senior, I’m a lot more focused and have narrowed down my concentration on a few things that matter to me the most instead of a bunch of things I took even the slightest interest in.

6. If you feel like you’re not going to pass a class, drop it.

Personally, I hate giving up on anything. So dropping a class that I was struggling with was tough. However, I learned the hard way that if you honestly think you’re not going to pass, drop it. Had I just done that instead of being overly optimistic about classes I knew I probably wouldn’t pass, I probably wouldn’t have failed 3 classes throughout my time in college. Failing a class SUCKS. So if you can drop a class, do it. If it’s a required class, figure something out to ensure you pass or just drop it and take it a different semester. Dropping a class can be challenging, especially if you’ve done the work and already paid for the $200 book, but it’s better than failing.

7. Don’t conform to be included in the norm.

I always get teased and made fun of because I’m not a “real” college student since I don’t partake in what “normal” college students fill their life with (according to society and millennials’ expectations and definition of college): drinking, partying, and sex. But it’s not college if you don’t do those things, right? WRONG! I tired the whole party life and honestly, it’s just not for me and something I don’t really enjoy partaking in. I go out from time to time with friends, but that’s about it. I’ve probably been to like 5 parties throughout the course of my college career. And I’m perfectly fine with that! Not a heavy drinker. And honestly, hooking up with random people is gross, sorry not sorry. Don’t ever make or force yourself to like something or do something just because everyone else does. Be true to yourself.

8. Time flies, don’t rush it.

The transition from high school to college was rough for me, but with time, things got easier. Still, I remember being a freshman and could not wait to graduate! I would pray every day, “Lord, I need you to speed up time about 3 notches because I can’t do this.” Now, I’m about to graduate in 4 months. Like, what?! I’m just like, man…the best and worst years of my life are about to be over and it’s so bittersweet. I’m not going to miss college not one bit, but I am going to miss the experiences I’ve had and the friends I’ve made. It was one hell of a ride, and I glad I made it through.

 

So yeah, no regrets, just lessons learned! To the class of 2020, I hope this advice helps you in any way! It sure would have helped me.

Senioritis 101

With so many tutorials, tips, and guides on how to survive college for the freshmen…what about those who are approaching their final years? Well, sure, they’ve been at it this long, you’d figure they’d have it down pat by now. But, upper-class is very different from the underclass. Freshman and sophomore year, students are wide-eyed and bushy-tailed…about everything. Their everywhere! At every event, every party, every organization’s meeting, all the cafes…their ready for anything. At some point between sophomore and junior year we get tired, we’ve “seen it all, done it all”, been to every house party, had enough lectures that would seem to last a lifetime, experienced 3 or 4 chaotic finals crisis, and also probably turned 21 J  or quickly approaching it. That 21 year milestone is one that separates us. We’re a bit better, more experienced, not easily amused, a bit more sophisticated…or so we think.

As a senior myself, here are some tips for the oldies to survive their final semesters of undergrad!

  1. Go to as many events as possible

I think it’s a great idea to relive the young years. As soon to be graduates, we’ve turned our nose up at things we used to be so giddy over. Go to the football games. If you’ve never been to the hockey game, go. What about the gymnastics team, did you know your school even had one, go to one of their meets. Go tailgating. Do some things that you hadn’t had the chance to do.

  1. Get gear

Stock up on some merchandise with your school’s mascot plastered right on the front. What better way to show school spirit? Buy a license plate tag, a window decal, a blanket, a few hoodies and sweat pants, heck…even a baby onesie for your niece or nephew. Remember being in the store and seeing that $29.99 price tag for a shirt…A SHIRT?! Well, now’s the time to go get it. The best thing is, after years have passed and you come up on your class reunion, come in town for homecoming, or simply want to turn heads while out and about while showing school pride, that shirt is worth it.

  1. Be spontaneous

Run for homecoming king or queen. Grab your friends and spend the weekend in the next city over. Host a party at your apartment. So what if it’s a school night, go to the bar pull an all-nighter and grab a red bull on the way to your class the next morning.  Paint your face the school’s colors for one of the games. Streak the football field…. Ok maybe not that one, but you get the idea. Start a YouTube channel about your journey to that stage! Start a band or singing group, start a small business. Become the on campus go-to for haircuts and styles. Make memories that will last until you see your classmates again at the reunion.

  1. Be social

There’s nothing worse than leaving college with no memories, no experiences, and no friends… I mean, what was college for (other than to earn a $40,000+ degree)? Sit next to someone in class, start a conversation, invite someone to a party. Join an organization, chances are your school has thousands of them; whether social or business or both. Don’t go directly home after each class, stick around, and go to the student union; see who’s there. Gossip, text, talk, chat, stay in the know, who’s dating who and whatnot. You may think you’re above it all, but with drama eliminated, it’ll keep you entertained and laughing up until you walk across the stage

If you weren’t an adult before, once you graduate you definitely will be one. Responsibilities and bills will hit you…HARD! Live it up. Be a little selfish, buy a new outfit for that party on Saturday. Become a bartender at your favorite bar. Go bungee jumping… maybe too extreme, but again, you get the point. The options are endless. Don’t let these last few classes get you down in the dumps while adulthood creeps up on you. Take pride in your seniority!

Hope these few tips help keep the upperclassmen world-wide uplifted in spirit and motivated this year! Good luck in school and may your GPA be forever in your favor!

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Remembering AALIYAH


Fifteen years ago today, we lost a beautiful person, the baby girl of R&B Aaliyah. I can definitely say I miss her music and tom boy swag. I remember it, like it was yesterday. Aaliyah was my a role model to my eldest sister. On this day 15 years ago, I had to comfort my sister as she cried, as if she lost a friend. 


We were able to witness so much black girl magic from the triple threat. She gave us sexy, sporty, bad girl swag. We were able to witness her acting in Queen of the Damned and Romeo Must Die. 

I created a playlist today of my favorite Aaliyah songs. 

  1. I care 4 U
  2. More Than A Woman 
  3. Are You That Somebody
  4. If Your Girl Only Knew 
  5. 4-Page Letter
  6. We Need A Resolution
  7. Loose Rap
  8. Age Anit Nothing But A Number
  9. At Your Best (You are Loved)
  10. Rock The Boat

If you’re an Aaliyah fan, take some time to groove to her soft voice today. Comment below your favorite Aaliyah Hit. 

Frugal Fashioni$ta

By Jillynn Reese 

So recently, I was scrolling through my twitter timeline and notice a tweet from Kourtney Kardashian promoting chokers necklaces for under $100. 

$100?? For a necklace, that isn’t 18 carat gold or white gold. You have to be kidding me. So I kept scrolling to read the tweet responses and I was highly amused. 


She posted this and immediately the jokes started rolling in. 


This being my favorite. I love chokers but not enough to pay over 5.99. However, in the midst of the jokes, a girl was promoting her business of making tie dye chokers and they were really cute. For 15 bucks I’ll definitely invest in a few. 

So with that being said I wanted to share a few places you can purchase chokers and not break the bank. 

indythebay.com, has super cute chokers. I purchased 2 that were $10 each. She provides handmade fashion chokers. 


Amazon has vintage chockers with small charms.  Prices range from $0.69 to $3.99. 

eBay.com  Velvet charmed chockers for $3.00 


So Kourtney you can keep your highend chokers. 

Bedroom Diaries: Knocked Out By Karma

College is the reward for surviving high school. Most people have great fun stories from college and nightmare stories from high school. College is your home away from home where you can live young, wild, and free!

We’ve all been there a time or two where our parents believe that we’re once place and yet we’re somewhere totally different. Not to mention that when you have a significant other listening to your heart over your head will certainly have you doing some stupid things that you may have to regret in the future. This episode of Bedroom Diaries explains how I, Sydney B., was knocked out by karma! Let’s just say this was one bloody situation. Check it out and tell about how your worst encounter with karma.

 

Compromise? FOR WHAT? 

Relationships are constantly evolving, no matter how long you’ve been together; your relationship is always changing. New relationships are the most fragile, because you both are still getting to know each other, what you both have in common and so forth. In that case, compromising is extremely important. Compromising within a relationship shows loyalty and understanding. The fact that you are willing to accept something unusual for the sake of your partner is powerful.

However, you both should always be on the same page. Never ignore the wishes of the other, it creates unwanted issues and attitudes that could have easily been prevented. Most women find this hard to do, but demands a man to accept her flaws and all.

No fair for the fellas. I just recently did a post on PDA (public display of affection) and how it affects relationships. It’s common for women to flaunt their prince in shining armor to their networks, but most guys are private. This always a red flag in millennial relationships, because social media is the place to share your life. However in the event your guy doesn’t want to be plastered all over your timeline every monday, it’s important to respect his wishes.Don’t jump to the conclusions that he’s hiding something, or he’s ashamed of you. That would only mean you don’t trust him. Privacy is all he wants.

Now for the fellas


 If your lady wants to discuss something that is bothering her within the relationship, although you may think everything is all good, still hear her out. That’s a compromise, and this discussion could ultimately help the relationship one or two ways, (1) you find out that she’s the one and remain in a relationship or (2) you find out she’s absolutely crazy and you need to flee the scene. At the end of the day, both parties have to accept the terms and conditions of the relationship.

Also free time, once again it’s natural for women to be around their significant other during free time, even during that time of the month (regardless of how mad she looks) spend that time with her. Guys on the other hand, free time is….actually I’m not sure, so I’ll find that out and report back. But anywho, from hanging with my male friends in relationships, it’s rare that all of their free time is with their girlfriend. Yes women want all of your free time, if we could.

 Here’s how women feel about men and their free time. Men spend their free time doing the things they care about. Video games, basketball, gym or even sleep. When we know that you have free time and we aren’t even considered an option for some of it, we feel neglected. We cannot help it, we cannot control it. I’m almost certain there are little women in our heads sitting at a round table discussing consequences for being left out. HA! Laughing but I’m serious. 


Ladies we have to stop being like this. I know it’s not all of us, but it’s most of us and compromising only strengthens the relationship. Couples show that you understand where your partner stands in any situation and find a common ground that will work for the both of you. 

And you’ll live happily ever after.

The Year of Why Not. 

By Jillynn Reese

Last Friday, I was blessed to see my twenty-fourth birthday. While being super excited for year 24, I explained to all my family and friends just how different it feels. Recently graduating from Western Michigan University, I’ve been interning at ArtPrize.org in the communication department. This was a goal a year ago,  working in my field in all. I finally feel like an adult.


Ofcourse, I’ve been on my own for the past 5 years, but I was always a dependent student. I’ve come to the realization that, I call the shots in my life from here on out.  College was forced, my parents weren’t playing that. Since graduation I’ve been pondering on what’s next after this internship. So my Bestfriend and I are declaring year 24 as the #YearofWhyNot.
Since there is so much I want to accomplish by 25, there is no excuse for this ordinary life I live. I don’t want to be ordinary and neither should you. The year of “why not” is challenging us to step out our comfort zones and take charge of our life and the goals we will accomplish.


In a few months, I’ll be returning to Detroit to live with my parents. During this time, I will be investing in my brand. Developing my business and exposing my skills to the world. So far, I’ve started my personal blog (Click here to check that out), I’ve joined this awesome network of social bees :), I’ve joined the snapchat takeover challenge for this platform and I’ve started working on a business plan. So I’m on a roll. I encourage every millennial and recent graduate to take charge and invest in your passions.

Why should you be asking, why not? Simply because you are the only person who can stop you from experiencing your optimal life. Most times it’s usually money or fear that keeps us from living. This is where sacrafice comes into play, take those moments to self-improve.

Here is some advice I’ve recently received; monitor your time, are you allocating the proper time to your goals. If not, eliminate unnecessary task in your day. Also, have you taken advantage of each opportunity presented to you? If not, why?

Write it down.

Your only limit is you. Get out of your way! Stop allowing self-sabotage to keep you from your dream life. Make the promise to yourself to live optimally, and whatever that looks like for you will happen. You just have to move.

You’ve got this!

Down with PDA? 

PDA

PDA” Public Display of Affection. Usually seen in your local parks, grocery stores, movie theatres and Instagram timelines. Consists of huggin, kissing, touching, posting, filters, and emojis. There is so much affection being shown for the world to see, it makes me wonder are those couples that affectionate at home and off the gram.

For example, I know a couple that chats a little on twitter but nothing too “steamy” —but in person they’re like two magnets falling into each other’s magnetic field. There is another couple that shares everything about their relationship online and where they are in public. However, when they’re at home they don’t even pretend to like each other. I’ve witness argument and all. I’m wondering is this behavior common between the two types of couples.

PDA has become so important to the validity of relationships. Especially, within the millennial generation. Being “Facebook Official” has gone deeper thanks to snapchat. But why is PDA so imporantant in millennial relationships?

Are you ok with NOT being on your significant other’s social platforms?  If you are not ok with it, why?

I believe relationships are always fragile. In the sense that at any moment a person has the right and freedom to leave for whatever reason. Ofcourse when you’re married there’s a longer paperwork process for the division, but you get my point. At any moment a person can have a change of heart, and being in the eye of your public or lack there of…I’m sure that can bring about minor insecurities, for either party.

I don’t necessarily dislike the idea of PDA, I just don’t believe it’s necessary. It’s cute to post pics here and there of various events or trips. But everyday snaps of your and your guy/gal, can be kept for your own memory. It’s better that way. I enjoy coming home and telling my roommate how the weekend was without her saying “yeah, I saw that on Facebook.” The story is so much better when you actually have something to share.

Comment below your views on PDA.

Photo by: @kelbpics

#MajorKey to Relationships

In the hype of the new Dj Khaled album #MajorKey, and this random #NationalGirlfriendday holiday. I figured I share a few major keys to help in a relationship. 

First, let me say, I applaud love, especially black love. It’s so beautiful to see, two people love a person so much that flaws are forgiven and the beauty of ones soul is seen and accepted. At least that’s what I think love is like. 

But about those major keys. I’ve noticed being in a relationship requires patience. You have to be patient with one another for the fact that you both are constantly learning each other and growing together. I’ve learned that relationships are difficult when you aren’t patient with each other. You have to consider how they think before you assume anything. With being patient, you have to communicate. 

Oh I’m sure these sound like a no brainer, but people aren’t really implementing them in their relationships. Some people are really half doing their relationships. 

Communicating is THE major key. You want to communicate to understand not to just respond. This is why small argument boil over into fights over petty topics. If you aren’t having a good day, let it be know verbally. No one should have to distinctly read your body language, to see that it’s something wrong. 

The next key is empowering one another. Supporting “bae” is the best thing you can do for each other. Being each others biggest fan, showing love through the good and bad times. It’s guaranteed to strengthen your relationship. So ladies, if he wants to be a rapper, support him–listen to his mixtapes. Your opinion is the one he’ll consider. If his friends say he need a little work, he might think they hating. But hearing it from you, can only be truth. Fellas, if this is you I’m describing, listen to your girl don’t let your ego be the reason you don’t make it. 


So we have three keys so far. Being patient, communicating to understand, empowering each other and lastly, but most importantly–set time for each other. Pick a day during the week for about 5 hours and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t go to the movies are out to eat. Going to Applebee’s is not it, go for a walk, to the beach. Have a picnic or just say in. During this time talk to each other, catch up. Life keep us busy, if you have somebody don’t just spend your time with each other at night, when it’s time to sleep. Meet up for lunch in the park and TALK. 

Everyone is lucky to have some to cuddle with at night. Don’t take who you have forgranted. 

That’s #MajorKey

by: Jillynn Reese 

#MotivationMonday: Never Feel Guilty About Doing What Makes You Happy

I had to take a proctored exam this past Friday. I walked into the office at Ellsworth Hall, and a middle-aged African American woman approached me (I didn’t catch her name), explaining the process of the exam and whatnot. When she was done, I took a seat and awaited the exam time. Having a severe case of exam anxiety, I quickly took out my laptop and swiftly studied as many notes as I could.

The woman politely interrupted my frantic studying and asked, can you come here for a minute?

 Sure! I walked over to her desk.

She turned her computer screen towards my direction and asked is this you on the computer, on WMU’s homepage?

 Honored and blushing, I told her yeah, that’s me!

 Her reaction: priceless.

She went on explaining how she has always wanted to meet me after reading my story about my nationally awarded documentary Painting Dreams: The Story of Johnson Simon and all the recognition and honor I’ve received since its completion. She then told me that God has amazing plans for me and my future and that I had a gift that I need to continue to share with others. She said I was smart, beautiful, and that I was going to make it so far in my life. She then shared this Bible verse with me: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3. She said that my time, my season, is now. I need to embrace it, and don’t hold back.

Wow I thought. She moved me so much that I forgot all about the exam I was stressing out about.

Later that day, it got me thinking. So many amazing things have happened to me since I transferred to Western Michigan University 2 years ago from Alma College. Then I thought, what if I never transferred? What if I would have stayed because that’s what everyone else wanted…my friends, parents, boyfriend at the time, teammates on the cheer team? What if I had sacrificed my happiness for theirs?

Transferring to WMU was honestly the first time I actually did something for myself without caring about what other people said or thought about my decision. People said I wouldn’t survive at a big school. People said I wouldn’t get noticed as easily as I did at Alma College. People said I was making a mistake and that I’ll regret leaving.

They. Were. WRONG.

Now, two years later, I’ve done more and accomplished more in these last two years than I have in my entire life! When I transferred to Western, my main goal was to make a name for myself. That’s exactly what I did. I got featured in the last issue of WMU Magazine. I’m on the freakin’ homepage of the University’s website! And so, so much more. I’m a national award-winning documentary filmmaker. Everyone knows Tirrea Shanice Billings. Not too long ago, a faculty member walked passed me and said hey, superstar!

 So much for not going to be noticed.

Not only that, but I’m happy…so, so, so happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. Kalamazoo and WMU has given me a sense of belonging and self-discovery. I truly found myself and my purpose here. And whenever I’m away, I don’t say I can’t wait to get back to Kalamazoo. Instead, I say I can’t wait to get back home.

All this would have never happened if I sacrificed what I wanted for what other people wanted. And at first, I felt bad about transferring and leaving what I had at Alma. I’m a people pleaser, and it was hard seeing people disappointed about my decision to leave. I felt guilty.

Now, two years later, I’m realizing that I should never feel guilty about doing what makes me happy. Nobody knows what’s best for me better than me. I’m graduating from WMU in 5 months with so many accomplishments, goals for the future, and memories that I will cherish forever.

For once, I put my happiness and what I wanted first before anything else, and it payed off.

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