Goodbye, Student Loans (for now)!

Hello, friends! Do you know what has been on my mind a lot lately? Money has! In particular, the words debt and student loans have been buzzing around in my head for the longest time because I am currently applying for graduate school scholarships — financing a graduate education can be a stressful thing! The reality of student loans is not new for me. Like most college students have experienced, the cost of attending a four-year university today is astronomical and often requires the infamous student loans to pay our way through college. Fun fact: the average student loan debt as of 2020 was a whopping $37,500 according to Investopedia. And this is just talking about a bachelor’s degree. Now, I personally am blessed enough to say that I did not accumulate that much debt throughout my few years in college. However, thinking about all the things that I can do with $37,500 only for it to be used toward student loan repayment is tragic.

At the beginning of 2020, I wanted to build a much better personal relationship with money. I am not saying that I was a frivolous spender in the past, but I knew that I could do better with my money. As I grow older, I realize how important my relationship with money is and how tied it is to physical, mental, emotional, and other dimensions of wellness. Now, I admit that having a healthy relationship with money is HARD, particularly when you don’t have it in abundance (such as myself as a recent-ish college grad with an unsteady income flow). The hard reality is that unfortunately, money does make the world go round — just take a look around you! However, I wanted to finally prove to myself that I could attain some kind of financial goal of saving an X amount of money or paying off in full a significant bill in my life. Thus, in 2020, I established the most notable financial goal I have ever set for myself: pay off my student loans before I begin grad school. So, did I do it?


In December 2020, I officially became debt-free, whoohoo! To see the email titled “Payment Fulfillment” from my loan provider was one of the most beautiful emails I had ever received.

All in all, my total student loan debt remaining in 2020 was exactly $4333 and I accomplished my 2020 financial goal of paying it off fully within 11 months. To be specific, I started to aggressively pay off my debt at the beginning of February 2020, and as an early Christmas gift to myself, I finished paying it off toward the end of December 2020. So, I actually achieved my goal MUCH earlier than what I initially set it out to be (paying off my debt right before grad school began). Now, to many, $4.3k is really not a lot of money at all. In fact, I am thrilled that my college debt did not match the U.S. average student loan debt I previously mentioned. However, an accomplishment is an accomplishment, and given my personal and financial circumstances in 2020 (times were rough, lol), I found that it was harder to effectively budget enough money to continuously pay off my loans. Thus, to be able to say that I now do not owe $4.3k to a loan company is an achievement that I will bask in for some time.

In a nutshell, my ability to successfully become debt-free had to begin with my mindset and how I view my relationship with money. I found that listening to podcasts about financial literacy and financial independence as well as hearing others’ debt-free testimonies tremendously set the stage to make my written financial goal a reality. One podcast that continuously inspired and motivated me throughout my journey was the Clever Girl Finance (I highly, HIGHLY recommend).

After rebuilding a healthier, positive outlook on my money, the following is what helped me pay off my debt within a year:

  1. Increasing my work hours
  2. Using my other talents to generate additional income — aka “side hustling”
  3. Giving/tithing
  4. Stashing away money in my piggy bank

Before I elaborate specifically on these key actions that helped me along the way, I took advantage of the freeze on student loan repayments due to the COVID-19 pandemic! I do understand that most people have been hit financially due to the pandemic, including myself. I do want to validate that for many, making payments during the freeze was not a feasible option. Because I was not being charged interest on my federal loans, I took advantage of my forbearance status and continued making those payments. Therefore, I was really able to see my principal balance decrease significantly throughout 2020. Seeing this amount dwindling was the reinforcement that I needed to continue paying it off aggressively.

  1. Increasing my work hours: Time is money, right? After receiving more free time in my schedule since I was no longer working on OT prerequisites, I was able to commit more time to see more clients more days out of the week for my job. As a result, I did start to see my paycheck increase since I no longer worked 6 hours a week, lol! Though it was nice to have time to myself, I knew that it could better be spent making an impact in my clients’ lives while also getting paid for it.
  2. “Side hustling”: People tend to say things such as “I should get paid for this” regarding altruistic services that go unnoticed after a while. I have definitely had those moments throughout my life (altruistic or not), whether it was trying to get an allowance for doing house chores (I never got an allowance, by the way) or constantly helping a struggling classmate with their math homework. For me, I thought deeply about some of the hobbies and talents that I like to do such as photography and making hair products, and then start to add monetary value to them! In 2020, I got to do several photoshoots that earned me extra income per month. Not only was I able to grow in my photography skills, but I was able to witness how my talents can help me financially (Shameless plug: I totally still consider myself an amateur photographer but you can check out my website here to see what I was up to!). Additionally, I began to sell homemade Ayurvedic whipped shea butter that I have been using for my hair and skin (another shameless plug: If you are interested in purchasing my shea butter, visit me here to connect!). Over time, these sales were also able to help me pay more than my usual minimum monthly payment for my loan. Therefore, capitalizing on my talents truly did earn me some additional cash that I was able to directly put into decreasing my loan balance.
  3. Tithing/Giving: Honestly, tithing initially was quite difficult for me because all I could think about was the lack of money and the daunting thousands of dollars that I had pending. However, I reminded myself that the money that I received was not my money, but God’s money given to me to utilize. I do believe that by giving and tithing, I was, in turn, blessed financially as well. I can honestly say that there were many times throughout my financial journey that I felt the money in my bank account was in abundance (for my standards) even after paying off all of my major bills. I very much believe that if I tithe and give in any capacity, whether it is financially, personally, etc. I receive what I put out. I’m telling you, God always provides!
  4. Stashing away money in my piggy bank: Back in 2017, I bought a $3 piggy bank (it was a steal for Target) and decided to start a yearly savings plan after being inspired by my mom’s impressive results from saving throughout the year. I worked my little part-time job on campus and really thought that I was the bank with my weekly bougie brunch dates. Thus, I decided to reallocate some of my brunch ‘budget’ to my piggy bank. I followed a 52-week money-saving challenge where I essentially put away X amount of money that corresponds to the week of the year it is. For instance, if it is week 33 of the year, I would be required to add $33 into my piggy bank. Since then, I can say that except for 2019 (times were also rough for me), I saved over $1,000 each year! Weeks 1-10 were very good to me, whereas weeks 40-52 were quite challenging — especially given the fact that October, November, and December are always my high spending months. However, saving over $1,000 in a year with consistency and discipline did pay off tremendously as a nice bonus in the end. Without having to tap into my paycheck, I utilized a small portion of this money to make one final FAT loan payment.
    • Quick tip for the 52-week money challenge: Try reversing the saving plan so that you begin putting $52 into your piggy bank instead of $1! That way, the money required to complete your money challenge won’t be as difficult to set aside, especially during the peak spending holiday months.

Overall, these are intentional actions that I took to free myself of my college student loans! I know that I will be facing future debt for the cost of graduate school and other life milestones because, in this society, debt is mostly inevitable. But, I now know that I am capable of eradicating my student loans after being consistent, intentional, and optimistic throughout my debt-free journey in 2020. For those who are currently grieving about student loans, I hope that my reflection gives you some inspiration in tackling your debt-free journey! It is difficult and it requires a lot of mindset shifting, and everyone’s financial situation is completely different. However, I refuse to believe that we are destined to die with our debt because that just can’t be it! I would suggest finding your why in why you want to pay off your debt before proceeding on this journey. Is it for financial independence? Early retirement? Less stress? As you go through your debt-free journey, remembering your why will be essential when times are really hard. I would love to see how my mindset changes regarding my student loan repayment journey when I finish grad school, haha!

You got this, and let’s all strive to become debt-free because we deserve financial freedom!

Peace and love,


My Mid-20s ALREADY?

Hello, friends! Sooooo earlier this week was my birthday! A family friend’s child came over to our house last week and asked me the popular question: “How old are you?” When I told her that I was 23 years old, she literally did a double-take and cried, “I thought you were 18 max!” As I laughed (to be completely transparent, her astonishment hit me a bit), a few things ran through my mind. 1: My elder years are going to bless me really well, and 2: I really do navigate the world thinking I look grown when folks think otherwise. I thought it was rather comedic that she thought I was so young. But hey, being a tiny person like myself with such a youthful face, I can’t even blame her for assuming I was a high schooler.

After doing my research (a quick Google search), the general consensus agrees that age 24 is considered ‘mid-20s’. It is rather hard to believe that I am here, now officially embarking on my mid-20s. I don’t usually feel ‘the change’ in age immediately when my birthday rolls around. However, I did stumble across this article pointing out some realities that occur when a person processes the concept of ‘being 24.’ Of course, everyone goes through their own journey and experiences at every stage of life. However, some points I found rather relatable and amusing about my new big age were the following:

  1. Wondering how your parents had you around your current age and you thinking that could NEVER be you at this moment.
    • YES, YES, AND YES to this point! My mom LOVES to say, “When I was your age I was married, had two children, and was running this house.” Yes Mother, I totally understand this and all power to you, truly. HOWEVER, times are completely different now and shoot, I still feel like a kid myself! Therefore, this could NEVER be me at this age.
  2. Beginning phrases with ‘I’m too old to…’.
    • I have found that I’ve been saying and definitely feeling this phrase more frequently, particularly with the kids that I work with. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how high-energy kids just are. It has become even more apparent that I am struggling to match their energy when I am trying to catch up with them by jumping on a trampoline for ONE WHOLE HOUR or playing an endless game of Tag. To think that I now have kiddos asking me, “What is an iPod?” just further illustrates that times have truly changed.
  3. Beginning to truly realize the values of your skills.
    • This point has become more salient in my daily life in the last year. It is now during this time that I can admittedly acknowledge that I really do have multiple skills worthy of being utilized! Pinpointing these God-given skills of mine has helped shape the mindset that I plan to embody in its entirety for 2021 (check out my previous post here for more insight).
  4. Growing into your love and connection to music – so much that a childhood classic could have you in tears.
    • Don’t get me started on my CHILDHOOD CLASSIC – the entirety of The Cheetah Girls 1 – 3 soundtrack! It has my whole heart! The appreciation runs way too deep. As I get older, the messages they convey are completely applicable to my interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Side note: When I tell you that I am a Cheetah Girls fan, again, it is not a joke. Check out my tribute to them here.
  5. Noticing changes in your body and realizing that nutrition, exercise, and skincare are actually much more vital than we initially thought.
    • Retweet to the fact that nutrition, exercise, and skincare are more vital to my overall wellness than I previously gave credit for. For instance, I used to eat an entire mug-full of cookies and cream ice cream (I kid you not) EVERY SINGLE DAY when I ran track and field during high school. The wildest part? My body was chilling the whole time! Now, catch me even attempting to eat a bag of Takis an hour before bedtime – it is over. The bag of Takis always wins, and my body and my skin attack me for disrespecting it.
  6. Becoming completely cognizant that you can’t change people so you realize that it is better to direct this energy on investing in yourself instead.
    • The older I get, the more obvious I see this point reign true. Though I can wish, hope, and even attempt to change someone for what I see would benefit them (and I can tell you countless times that I am guilty of this), I’ve come to realize that I greatly need to protect my energy. To give and give to people who merely drain my energy and do not reciprocate is never a productive use of my time. Unfortunately, more often than not, I end up getting burned out or feel that I’ve been taken advantage of. Life is too precious to not invest in myself wholeheartedly. Surrounding myself with people who do not uplift me, challenge me, or contribute to my growth gradually becomes a thing of my past as I grow older and learn the importance of centering myself.

Though I may not necessarily exhibit some of the very ‘traditional milestones’ of 24 normalized in society, the beginning of this new era in my 20s include some major life markers coming up for me:

  1. Moving to a different state.
  2. Beginning graduate school.
  3. Figuring out how to become financially self-reliant.
  4. Transitioning to achieving my actual career aspirations.

Overall, I am blessed to have made it to another year! I am almost a quarter of a century old, ah! Am I ready for these major life events to occur? Time will tell. However, I do look forward to exploring what the rest of my mid-20s has in store for me.

Peace and love,


2020 Reflections and 2021 Projections

Happy New Year, friends! We are in the second year of the new decade! I’d love to share with you my year-in-review of 2020, as well as how I am feeling about this new year.

I know that 2020, like for most folks, was a difficult year in so many ways. I want to express gratitude for being alive and healthy because many folks cannot attest to the same state of being. My physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being vividly shifted each month. In a nutshell, my 2020 panned out to manifest in the following:

January, 2020: I was sitting on the sand at one of the beaches in Cabo, Mexico completely relaxed and in great serenity. I claimed this year to be ‘my year’ – a year of self-love, self-care, and self-awareness. I felt inspired, confident, and ready to take on this year that I manifested to be my glow-up year. Making my thoughts, feelings, and actions were going to always be my priority.

February, 2020: I underwent a great deal of lingering, unresolved hurt that forced me to make a difficult decision in order to healthily put myself first. Though removing toxicity in my life was difficult, it was very necessary for my own mental and emotional well-being. I learned how to establish boundaries for myself that helped me shed the ‘people-pleaser’ demeanor that I’ve traditionally presented in my social circles. Saying ‘no’ became an empowering word that I could now vocalize confidently.

March, 2020: The beginning of the month was a period of rebuilding myself emotionally and mentally. However, I was put into a sudden unrecognizable state of fear and uncertainty when life became everything other than ‘normal’ with the reality and frightening impacts of COVID-19 to my surrounding community and to the overall American population. The week before everything shut down, I was in Napa, California, uttering the at-the-time common belief that I was ‘invincible to the virus’ and that it was just like the flu (which a lot of people don’t realize can be deadly as well). Ooo, was I ignorant!

April, 2020: This continued fear, uncertainty, and paranoia plagued my mind, my social circles, and my overall community. However, I began to find some comfort in knowing that I was not isolated in my fears and sadness regarding the pandemic.

May, 2020: I slowly adapted to redefining ‘normalcy’ in my life given the circumstances that the pandemic allowed me to. I also began to see people on my social media expose themselves left and right in regards to if they truly thought that All Black Lives truly do matter. I saw a LOT of performative allyship, which felt like a mockery of my Blackness.

June, 2020: I felt more immense hurt, anger, brokenness, hopelessness, and a lack of safety and security as a Black person in this country. I also learned the vitality of conserving and protecting my energy during this month.

July, 2020: I had a deep talk with God and looked within myself to realign my priorities and redefine my goals and ambitions. Eliminating distractions was necessary, especially since I was shifting into a new chapter of my life that would require focus, dedication, and faith to succeed. I worked on becoming remotivated to rechannel my January state of mind.

August, 2020: Nervousness and self-doubt crept in as pivotal life realizations became more apparent each day.

September, 2020: I rebuked the spirit of self-doubt and exchanged it with increased self-confidence and optimism.

October, 2020: A disciplined mindset shift for myself resulted in finally seeing some personal accomplishments come into fruition.

November, 2020: Feelings of burnout and stagnancy began to manifest. I began yearning for the next big move in my life.

December, 2020: Though still dealing with some burnout, I became reinspired, reawakened, and most importantly grateful that I made it to the end of the year.

Overall, I have grown and developed in so many ways that I did not anticipate in 2020. I feel that I have redefined purpose and have tapped into other callings shown to me. At the beginning of the year, I scribed in my passion planner some of my most important personal goals that I had for my immediate future. I didn’t know at the time whether or not I would achieve them in 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years (as it is laid out in the planner). However, I want to highlight a few of the most important goals that I’m happy I was able to achieve:

  1. Traveling abroad again 
  2. Getting into occupational therapy school 
  3. Paying off the entirety of my college student loans 
  4. Exploring photography more 
  5. Connecting with folks and building relationships beyond my spheres of influence 

Now, for the year 2021, I don’t necessarily feel as if I have any concrete “New Year’s Resolutions.” Sure, I aim to survive and hopefully thrive in OT school, continue to save money, and exercise more. However, I am actually focused on claiming words and attitudes that I hope to embody and exemplify in all that I do. I project that for 2021, my words will be the following: intentionality, purpose, and self-elevation.

I aim to be intentional in my relationships and my actions, purposeful in the way that I use my energy and how I navigate my surrounding community, and elevate myself by continuing to discover and utilize my multiple passions, talents, and gifts.

I anticipate 2021 being a year of change specifically for me, for I will be going through a LOT of new life changes. However, I believe that being intentional, purposeful, and elevating myself consistently will keep me grounded during these changes.

With all being said, I hope that y’all claim, manifest, and speak into existence blessings for your new year as well. ✨ 

Peace and love,


HELLO – New Blogger Alert!

Hello, everyone! I am SO excited to finally be achieving one of my many goals for 2021 – starting a blog! I have been feeling in my spirit that I need to start documenting and reflecting on my life through some sort of media, yet I was trying to figure out what would be the best way to do so. I thought about a vlog (which I am still not opposed to starting up but I would need to become an expert at video editing software), and I thought about a podcast since apparently I like to talk a lot! I even took to Twitter a few months ago and created a poll to help me decide what I should use to reach folks. I THINK that podcasting might have won, so I will surely be revisiting this soon. However, I always had a passion for writing. I always wrote too dang much in school and in my free time, whether that was creating fictional stories as a kid or going pages past the page limit in my school essays. I actually attempted a blog once when I was in high school, but I believe that I quickly quit my blog because I felt as if I was too busy to continue it (to think that I didn’t have time to write in high school, what a time). But I am BACK on this platform – grown and more interesting than before (at least I’d like to think I am).

I want to preface my first post with the goal of my blog. I am merely a Black gal out here wanting to share with you all my life adventures, reflections, thoughts, and vibes. My original plan was to begin this blog right at the beginning of my journey as an occupational therapy student, which I will be embarking on in mid-2021. However, 2021 will be my continual journey of self-elevation, so I figured, why not start now?

I hope that by reading my words, y’all are able to connect with me in different facets of your life, laugh with me (or at me, lol!), and reflect with me. I don’t necessarily have a particular topic as of right now that I will continuously be writing about, but who knows what I will decide to hone in on in the mere future.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words!

Peace and love,