Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Exciting Question of "Now What?"

Post PE  / waiting for results mini trip to the Redwoods

I am writing this post with a soon to be licensed PE (Professional Engineer) after my name. I passed the PE in Environmental Engineering! For those who know me well, they know how long I've battled with the PE licensure exam. That 8-hour test with a recommended 300+ hours of studying has been my nemesis for the last 3.5 years. As someone who is unable to just focus on one thing, studying while juggling all of my commitments was really hard. I stubbornly refused to give up my community work that brings me joy, and instead had a temporary (did not last long enough to really help) reduced work schedule and isolated myself from socializing. The big difference with passing the test was also having a partner who pushed me to study when I would rather binge true crime on the couch and who made sure I ate when I got in the zone and hadn't left my computer half the day. Grateful and so proud to be done with the PE exam for good! 

In all honesty, I was considering project management and leaving "engineering" by proper definition because I couldn't fathom studying again if I didn't pass. I was tired of it being the reason I was told no for promotions, in spite of my workload and tired of not seeing my study hours pay off when I didn't pass. I kept rolling around in my head how those hours could have been used to make community programming, create more art, work on my business, and generally create invaluable memories with friends and family. Passing the PE reinvigorates me into my career and a reminder to myself of how few licensed Black engineers there are in Oregon (and nationally) and narrowing it down even further - Black women licensed engineers. Having a PE helps creates pay equity for those underrepresented in the field and allows the opportunity to join in making this licensure process more inclusive and equitable. As soon as all my license paperwork is completed, I plan on being a bit of a pest to OSBEELS about making the process easier, ha. 

Now that the exam is done, I find myself with the exciting question of, now what? I had two weeks of literal jumping for joy and still find myself smiling in relief. I then had a a few weeks of chaos brain where I didn't know what to do with myself or what my next goal is! I'm slowly setting into the thought that I don't need to constantly have something I'm working towards because it stops me from enjoying the now and all that I do have. Also, I'm plenty busy with some of the new (and old) projects I'm working on. I've graduated past simply Committees to Boards... the difference seems to be an annoying hierarchy, but sometimes with less work on my part and I appreciate that. Being on a board is a great way for me to still be part of orgs I love and wish I could do more hands on work with - such as with Building Blocks 2 Success (BB2S), which I recently joined as their newest Board member. A newer project that will be starting at the end of June is the Harvard Climate Justice Design Fellowship. I was floored when I was selected (and personally really happy to get a 'yes' from them, after my rejection from Harvard my senior year of high school.) I'll be working on making tree canopy and urban heat zone data more transparent and accessible for frontline communities. Been really enjoying my environmental justice / climate justice work with the NAACP and am excited to get some new training in data skills!

It's also that time again - Good in the Hood is back and this time in person! It's been easier to balance with most of our planning meetings and sponsor meetings being on Zoom! We just announced the 21 Scholarship Awardees - one of my favorite things is managing scholarship programs. I know how much funding like this meant when I was a teen, so it's really fulfilling to be part of an org that gives so much. I've also been getting better at social media and have managing the Good in the Hood social media presence. I don't care for social media, but I really like Canva and making information easier for community to see. The parade planning with Good in the Hood is the thing I'm most nervous about as I haven't been around 1,000+ people since 2019. My anxiety around crowds (and even small groups in person) has gotten really bad especially when we're not out of the woods yet with COVID. I plan on wearing my mask and boosting my immune system as we get closer to the festival. See you all June 24 - 26! And, if you want to join in and volunteer, we NEED it! We are about 60 people short of what we usually have for volunteers. Sign up here. Also, give our social media a follow - @goodinthehoodpdx ! 😀

This week I'll be putting all my effort outside of my day job into getting the second annual NAACP Youth in Nature Leadership Program started. Our 18 youth will be starting their three day training on June 16 with Metro's awesome educators. I wish I was able to find volunteers (though I know it's a huge privilege to have time and capacity to donate so much of one's time) to help manage programming with me, but for the time being I've recruited a past youth leader with a stipend and that alone feels like a huge improvement to the labor for the program. I'll be bugging all of my friends and family to help Chaperone this summer! The kids will be leading their community hikes almost every Friday / Saturday. Our Environmental Justice Committee is recruiting too - specifically for folks who like writing advocacy letters, sitting on policy meetings, and are interested in managing programming or grants. Good experience for the resume, but mostly just fun / valuable! In full transparency, I want to have a succession plan started for the committee. Email me if you're interested:

As usual, the more things I juggle, the less time I have for my blog, creative endeavors, or personal projects. I'm trying to change that and as I get past June and training, I see a few areas where I'll be stepping back to make room for my art, piano, and diving into the 'Now what?'