Leaving home for college can be tough on anyone. There are many first-time experiences you will face that will take you out of your comfort zone.  Leaving for college can be life changing and challenging in many ways. Some of you may come from very diverse high schools and some may not. This meaning, you may or may not know how to survive in an environment with people who don’t understand you or your cultural background. This specific blog is targeted toward my minorities who will soon be leaving home to attend a predominantly white institution, AKA a PWI. 

I’m here to give you all some tips on how to survive being at a PWI.

First, You deserve to be here. Understanding this is the first step. You have a right to be at this institution. You are going to have an experience where you will be the only person in the class that looks like you and you have to be okay with that. Understand that you earned that seat your sitting in, so walk with your head held high!

Second, Be yourself AND know yourself.  It is so easy to start to become someone your not in order to feel more comfortable, to fit in, to make yourself feel smaller or acceptable to those around you. DON’T. These four years are for growth, learning and exploration. Stand out and be whoever you want to be, even if you look different. Know who you are and stay rooted in your values. Take pride in your goals and morals, this will help you along the way. 

Third, Find your safe space.  Find a space where being you isn’t hard. Understand that you are not going through this process alone and you have alleys. Often times people of color tend to flock to those who look the same, but that doesn’t have to be the case. However you want your safe space to look and whoever you want to be in it, is up to you, just make sure YOU are comfortable. 

Fourth, Find a mentor. Having someone to show you the ropes isn’t a bad idea. I know that this is your opportunity to be on your own and do your own thing but trust me on this. You will appreciate the guidance. Having a mentor means networking, new opportunities and accountability. 

Fifth, Use your voice. Don’t be afraid to call someone out. If you are put in a situation and you feel uncomfortable. Speak up! I’m not saying be the spokesperson for your community, but most of the time if you experienced it, others have too. Stand up for what you believe in. Be strong enough to have a voice for some others who don’t. There will be times that you are challenged, do what you feel is right. 

Last but not least, Remember why you started. Remember why you came to college in the first, this and why you chose this institution. Never let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do. Remember, college is about growth and change, let these four years be full of that. Stay strong and stay proud of who you are and what you represent. 

For over 18 months, we have heard women sharing their stories about sexual harassment and violence through #MeToo. For most of that time, men have been largely silent, with periodic comments or displays of support.

This has been true in Louisville, Kentucky as well. In the midst of the national #MeToo movement, we have had a local Metro Council member ousted for sexual harassment, and another round of accusations of sexual harassment in our state capital. As a result, we’ve had multiple speak-outs and other kinds of public displays by and for women – with men being primarily there (when we were) in solidarity.

As a consultant and activist, I felt it critical to add to the conversation by engaging men’s voices into this dialogue – with a particular focus of what we see as our role in responding to and preventing the harassment and violence that women and some men face.   For the panel, we included representatives from various sectors of our community including  Metro Council and School Board member. We also added the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator from one of our universities, an Evangelical Southern Baptist minister, and a professor who focuses on Masculinities.

The panel focused on men’s responsibility to respond to #MeToo and our collective experience, as men, to #MeToo. The base for our conversation was that the #MeToo movement has which reminded us that sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the threat of sexual violence is so prevalent that it has become normal for women. Since men make up half (roughly) of any community, if sexual harassment and violence is normal for women, it must also be normal for men. And so what does it mean for men that men’s sexual harassment and violence is normal? Continue reading…

A couple of years ago I attended a workshop on relationship counseling.  The room was packed with therapists looking to hear an esteemed author give his take on how to help couples reconcile their relational struggles.  The ratio of women therapists to male therapists in the audience was about 80 to 20, women to men.  The presenter at one point made a comment that made the entire audience laugh. “Hey, guys”, he said.  “You know you aren’t a real man, right?  You’re a therapist for God’s sake!”. Everyone laughed.  I did too.  Of course, he was being tongue in cheek, but it got me thinking.  What actually defines a man?

How do you define a man?

Question.  How would you define a woman?  Maybe you’d say something like “caring”, “nurturing”, or “patient” to describe feminine energy or an ideal female figure.

But how would you define a man? We might hear something like “Well, a man isn’t feminine, he’s not a woman.”  Ok, great.  Got it.  What else would define a man?  “He’s not weak.”  Ok.  But what does this mean?  What about this one.  “A man doesn’t complain and gets the job done.”  Slightly better, I guess.

The purpose in asking the question of “what makes a man a man?” is to point out we really don’t give men a whole lot to work with when it comes to self identity.

To sum it up, it seems in our society a man is defined more about what he isn’t, than what he is. Continue reading…

That is an excellent question that looks like it would have an easy answer. Unfortunately it doesn’t mean a power source consisting of pole throwing, beer chugging, gun shooting, gut bealching, bad ass gas passing, with a prowess for deftly handling a car at 102 miles per hour. Though it would be nice if it did.

Masculine energy is exactly that…masculine…energy. I am not going to go into energy because anyone who has seen a two year old fresh from a nap and hopped up on candy knows what that is. The masculine part is a little trickier.

It really doesn’t have anything to do with being a man, the male of the human species. It has more to do with the energy we draw from having those “male” or masculine characteristics. Within each of us, male or female, we have two kinds of energy that we tap into. They happen to be masculine and feminine. They work like Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine).

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, the world’s best bag session or whispering sweet nothings to your girl, you will utilize either your masculine or feminine energy. I know it’s confusing but here is a list that might help: Continue reading…

We are arguably at a time of social change in history like none other.  The age of women’s empowerment is increasing and has been for the last several decades.  Women’s position in our society has changed drastically.  Women are more self accepting and are more accepted in various arenas, such as the workforce, than ever.  Not just here in this country, but in most parts of the world.  Any significant change in men?  Not much.  Not a lot of change going on.  Right now, I would look at it as playing more catch up with women than anything.  And it’s not that this is a good or bad thing, so before some of you get defensive, hear me out.  Women and their roles have changed significantly while men have not and it’s affected relationships, marriages, and family life. Continue reading…