First Week as a Working Gal Reflection  

Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy Saturday! Can you believe how fast the month has been flying by? We are officially in the spring season! So much has changed in my academic career since last week. Last week, I was finishing up my last finals EVER and preparing to transition to my clinical rotations. I am happy to announce that I have completed the first week of my clinical rotations. This galie is 1/12 weeks down from being a pediatric occupational therapist, woohoo! (Might I note, without the actual license nor the pay, haha!) 

The last ten weeks of school before starting my internship were ones that honestly burnt me out. I know I say I am always burnt out, but every semester is different. This semester required so much writing that I was pumping out at least 2-3 writing assignments every week while developing my capstone project AND preparing for my internship. Just get through it was literally my anthem this semester, and though it did not feel like it during that moment, I did get through it somehow! I honestly am kinda impressed with my ability to pump out back-to-back essays at this rate. It has been soooo nice coming home and not having to write essays or study or do homework for hours on end. I finally am feeling a healthy work-life balance, at least for now. Anyway, let me get back to the more exciting part of this post! 

So, I started my internship this week at a pediatric outpatient clinic. I felt a lot of emotions before starting – mostly excitement, but nervous anticipation of what was to come. I think I felt more comfortable going in because I visited my clinical instructor (CI) about two weeks before starting my internship, and it was one of the best things I could have done to calm my nerves. If you know a little about me, I am kinda a perfectionist, and I like to plan for things ahead of time. Yes, I note that the perfectionist thing is something that I have to work on, so I have been way more flexible with it and have learned to release some control – though I admit, I still have a long way to go. But no one’s perfect, right? When I visited my site, I got to observe a session and then chat with my CI and site coordinator who were both very kind and supportive of my hesitancies. There, I felt more empowered to start my internship with a positive, hopeful mindset.

During my first week, I have already learned a ton about the pediatric population. This has been an opportunity to put my learning in the classroom to the test and see how this translates to a natural setting with actual clients. So far, I do feel like my pediatrics course has prepared me well to take on this setting successfully. Working in an outpatient pediatric clinic so far has been such a fun and rewarding experience. I have always had an interest in working with the pediatric population and not gonna lie, I think the kids like me LOL, so I think that this site is a great fit for me thus far. I have met so many new little friends who embody so much excitement and joy. Kids are so funny, and they say the wildest things. Rapport building is instrumental to working with any client. For peds, I have had to pair myself as a super fun, energetic older friend to get the kiddos’ buy-in to therapy. Sometimes, it does put me out of my comfort zone to tap into my creative, child-like demeanor, but hey, I will do anything for therapy to be productive. The days go quickly for me, meaning that I am either getting a lot of work done, I am truly enjoying my time, or probably both! 

My Passion Planner gave me the following quote of the week which was absolutely fitting to how I should approach this 12-week rotation: Every artist was first an amateur by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Then, my week’s challenge was the following: Whenever you find yourself thinking that your goal is impossible, remember that all experts were once beginners. Take each mistake as a chance to learn and soon enough you, too, will succeed. Shoot, it is like my planner KNEW exactly how pivotal this week would be for me! I think that the combination of knowing that God’s got me and this quote of the week kept me stress-free, grounded, and confident for the week. I was in awe of how natural and fluid my CI’s therapy sessions were and was thinking about how much I had to learn and master in my 12 weeks of fieldwork. However, I constantly recentered myself when doubt started to creep in and reminded myself that she has so many years of experience and I am a baby clinician who will one day be an expert just like my CI. Thus, this week has been a very positive one filled with tons of learning and growth just from reframing my mindset to be one that uses mistakes to my advantage so that I can strive to be better in the future.

This upcoming week will allow me to start to lead more treatment sessions and really put my clinical skills to the test. Wish me luck! Though it is nerve-racking, I am hopeful to learn the skills necessary to be a great student pediatric occupational therapist. Cheers to fieldwork!

Peace and love,


Black is Beautiful Mini Blog Series Health Care Edition Part 4: Meet NANCY, OTR/L!

Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy Saturday and last week of Black History Month! Can you believe that the month is already coming to an end? The month went by so fast! I hope that you all have been supporting Black folks throughout this month through actions such as reading these blog posts! Today I have such an inspiration to me on the blog. I had to save the best health profession for last (no shade to my beautiful Black allied health professions haha). Nancy, OTR/L will be concluding the Black is Beautiful mini blog series with her amazing story. Before we get into it, I am gonna hype up Nancy real quick because she is a person to have in your network!

Unlike everyone else that I have interviewed thus far, Nancy is unique in the fact that I did not meet her at UC San Diego, lol! When I was delving into my occupational therapy (OT) journey, I was desperately searching for Youtube videos on how to be the best competitive applicant and what the field of OT was all about. I came across her Youtube channel, LovelyyOT. After watching her first video, I was hooked. She shared gems and unique insight regarding her experiences as a travel OT, an OT in a SNF, and an OT in entrepreneurship. Nancy is so intelligent and has so much wisdom to give. She further inspired me to pursue OT, as she gave me the confidence as a Black future OT to share my story and to be an advocate for our profession. Moreover, she is so selfless. She took time out of her busy schedule to read my personal essay and give me feedback, which was so kind of her to do and served as a confidence booster throughout my application process. She truly is goals and is making waves in OT. Below is her story. Let’s get into it!

IreneWhat is your name/pronouns?

Nancy: Nancy Yamoah, she/her

IreneGive us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE! 

Nancy: I am a God-loving Ghanaian and occupational therapist, specializing in adult geriatric rehabilitation. I am popularly known as LovelyyOT on social media. I’m your favorite OT Auntee with all the tea lol. 

I’m a visionary, founder of the Therapist of color/TOC network, created for people of color therapists and students, and co-founder of BLACK IN REHAB. I am also the author of 3 E-books for therapists. My business provides consultation for students and clinicians as well as yearly workshops for new grads. 

My goal is to continue to inspire other healthcare professionals to do more with their degrees and live on purpose, be their true authentic self as well as create a better healthcare system for older adults.

Irene: Choose three words that come to mind when you define “Blackness”. Define each word in relationship to Blackness. Why did you choose these three words?

Nancy: Bold, resilience, beautiful

For you to be authentically Black you have to be bold. This world tries so hard to imprison Black people – the way we talk, walk, dress, etc. The way we show up is constantly criticized, so for me it’s important that am bold in my blackness.

Resilience because it takes strength to be Black. You have to be internally strong.

Beautiful because Black is beautiful, from our skin to our features. The way we are is beautiful.

IreneWhat is the MOST beautiful thing about being Black to you?

Nancy: My skin color and my heritage/culture. I am Ghanaian and I love the richness of my culture and my background. The way we speak, our accents, our food, our cultural outfits, who we are is everything. 

IreneHow has your experience been as a Black person in your respective field thus far? 

Nancy: Like I always tell others, life experience can happen to you or you can enjoy it and be a full participant in life experiences. I always choose the latter; my blackness in healthcare has been a wonderful experience because I take an active role in making that happen in every way you can think. I speak up and advocate when needed, I ask for the money I deserve and I will correct you on everything even if you say my name wrong. We get to choose everyday to be victims or conquerors. 

IreneHow do you plan on showing up for the people as a Black person in your respective field? 

Nancy: I have started many platforms and events on social media for both Black and POC and I will continue to support them in this way. Black in rehab is one that I am a co-founder of and very proud of. If you are interested in becoming a rep in your city, contact me. 

IreneAny advice, gems, or words of encouragement for future Black people who want to pursue your field? 

Nancy: Refer to answer 5, and do not let your color determine what you can or cannot accomplish. This world is your oyster; show up and speak up for yourself. You deserve to walk into a room and pull up a seat. Remember that your power is not in what others gave you permission to do; it is in what you give yourself the permission to do. Don’t wait to be invited! Initiate, create, move. 

IreneWhat is one of your favorite songs that fit/exemplifies that Black is Beautiful?

Nancy: African Queen by 2face and Black is Gold by Wale

IreneHow can we support a fellow amazing Black person like yourself? Do you have any projects, businesses, creations, etc. that you are working on that you would like to speak briefly about and/or that we can support?

Nancy: Black in rehab – we have an in person event every Juneteenth weekend in a different state. Join us on IG. We will start hosting more events throughout the year as well. See you in ATL this year.

I also have 1:1 consultations for new OTs. You can book that via Instagram as well as other services and ebooks I have on Lovelyy_ot on IG. 

IreneCan folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!

Nancy: LOVELYYOT on all social media platforms including Youtube.

Irene: Anything else you want us to know about you or anything you want to share with the readers? Feel free to drop it down below! 

Nancy: Be yourself, be unapologetically BLACK! Refrain from the need to prove yourself. You don’t need to prove nothing to anyone. You are enough for whatever dreams you may have.

Yall, isn’t Nancy such an iconic woman? So well-versed in so many settings, so many platforms, and most importantly, she connects to so many people. Support our favorite OT Auntee! Her consultations are so helpful! I will be a new grad next year (whoohoo) so best believe I will be reaching back out to my OT Auntee for her guidance. I have yet to meet Nancy in person buuutttt these Black networking events across the nation is something I am going to have to hop on so that we can finally meet! Black in Rehab – what an uplifting space! If yall get the chance to go to ATL this summer, definitely check the event out!

My goodness, does the Black is Beautiful mini blog series really have to end? I am so sad! This has been such a fun series to put on for you all and I have been blessed to have reconnected on a deeper level with all of my interviewees. Each person is so special to me and honestly, we could really all just start our own interdisciplinary clinic and treat people in our communities. I have thoroughly enjoyed featuring all of these amazing individuals on my blog and I hope that you all come away from this series further understanding the vastness of Blackness and how glorious our melanin is. We are the people who are at the frontlines treating you all and helping to restore yall back to health and well-being, remember that! Thank you all again too for supporting me by reading this blog, sharing it with others, and following me on Renrenspeaks on Instagram! Please subscribe as well to get the latest scoop on the content I have coming your way! Stay Black Blackity Black, yall!

Peace and love,


Black is Beautiful Mini Blog Series Health Care Edition Part 3: Meet CAMBRIA!

Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy Saturday and third week of Black History Month! How have you been honoring Black people so far this month? I hope one of the numerous ways has been through reading these blog posts that I have for yall! Today I have an incredible person on the blog who I admire so much. Cambria is up next in the Black is Beautiful mini blog series! Before we launch her interview, I am gonna take us back to memory lane and briefly highlight our connection!

Like everyone on the mini blog series thus far, I met Cambria at UC San Diego (college was an opportune time to make connections, I am telling ya!). I was always drawn to Cambria’s kind, sweet, and chill spirit. We were in organizations together such as the Black Student Union and had other mutual leadership roles in Black spaces in college. I remember when she switched over to my major, Human Development, our bond started to grow. We took the same Human Development classes together and got to know each other on a deeper level. It was so refreshing to see another Black face in my classes. Cambria was always a great hype woman and support system, encouraging and affirming me when school got challenging. She really shines as a light in all of her endeavors and radiates such positive, infectious energy. She is also SUCH a hard worker, yall. I am telling ya, she is a go-getter for real. With that being said, I hope that you all get to see her light exude as we delve right into her story!

IreneWhat is your name/pronouns?

Cambria: Cambria Anderson, she/hers

IreneGive us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE! 

Cambria: I’m from Victorville, CA and currently living in Washington, D.C. attending Howard University College of Dentistry. I went to UC San Diego and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Developmental Sciences and a minor in African American Studies. I’m currently in my second year of school at Howard and my goals are to become a cosmetic dentist and open a clinic where dental care is offered with access and affordability in mind, and to create mentorship and career opportunities for Black dental students in the SoCal area. 

When I’m not in class, simulation lab, or neck deep in lecture notes, I like to watch movies, read, get active, get creative with a decor project for my apartment, or try something new in the DMV area. My “why not, might as welllll” attitude about going outside gets me in trouble with my friends all the time lol, but there are so many community events, markets, film screenings, mixers, day parties, etc that I’ll take every opportunity to experience when I get it. I also have a DC bucket list that I’m trying to work through before I graduate in 2025 – so far I’ve seen all the monuments and the museums are up next!

IreneChoose three words that come to mind when you define “Blackness”. Define each word in its relation to Blackness. Why did you choose these three words?


Beauty: Across the diaspora, there’s so much beauty in our various cultures, languages, histories, styles, etc. There’s so much to appreciate about the Black experience globally and what we have been able to retain and create in the face of oppression and anti-Blackness and its best attempts to strip us of that.

Creativity: I feel like this is self explanatory, the way our minds work is just…wow lol. We are literally so dope at everything we do!

Pride: My last word is an affirmation from the movie Cool Runnings that came to mind. When I think of Blackness, I see pride, I see power, and I see bad*ss mothers who don’t take no crap off of nobody.

IreneWhat is the MOST beautiful thing about being Black to you?

Cambria: That it’s something that you have to experience to really know. Our style, how we create community anywhere and everywhere, the way we talk, inside jokes, our expressions and figures of speech, even the way we can communicate with each other without saying a single word. It’s a gift to be Black to be honest, and even though so many try to imitate it, it can never be duplicated – we’re the blueprint for real!

IreneHow has your experience been as a Black person in your respective field thus far? 

Cambria: Going to Howard for dental school has had a positive impact on my start in the field. Learning from Black faculty and being surrounded by Black peers is empowering and creates a supportive environment, and it is so motivating to see rooms filled with people who look like you opposed to my undergrad environment where I was often one of the only Black students in the room. Black dentists make up about 3-4% of all dentists in the U.S., so I am really soaking up every moment here at Howard before I start to work in the field because it won’t always be like this. Also, my classmates and I are starting to see patients this summer, and I am excited to understand more of what it means to care for my community. From what I’ve experienced, patients place a lot of gratitude and trust in us and that adds so much meaning to what I am able to do for them.

IreneHow do you plan on showing up for the people as a Black person in your respective field? 

Cambria: In college I volunteered in the UCSD PDS free dental clinics, and we served the elderly, children, and those who were homeless, uninsured, and veterans. As a result, the majority of our patients who represented these groups were Black. I credit this as the moment that shaped my goals and gave me a vision for the kind of dentist I want to be. My priority is to address disparities in oral health and create access among marginalized communities by opening a community clinic like those I served in, leading community workshops that educate on preventative oral health practices and destigmatize dentistry as painful and anxiety-inducing, and creating a network with other professionals both within and outside of the healthcare field to refer out patients for other necessary services to address overall health as part of a holistic process. I also want to form partnerships with Black dental student organizations at UCLA, USC, Western University, and Loma Linda University to offer mentorship and clinical experience through service in my clinic. My hope is to create a community for dental students like the one I’ve been able to experience through my time at Howard because it’s been key in my learning and growth thus far, and because I remember what it’s like to find comfort and a sense of relief in seeing another Black person in a mostly non-Black space. 

IreneAny advice, gems, or words of encouragement for future Black people who want to pursue your field? 

Cambria: Never lose sight of your ultimate goal because despite the obstacles and detours, not following the traditional track, or not having the strongest GPA or DAT scores, what’s for you is for you and you will become the dentist you dream of being! Make sure to seek out mentorship from dentists in the field who will allow you to shadow and gain experience under them, and keep in contact with them because their wisdom is invaluable. Finally, find and remember your why. This is a difficult career to pursue and in those moments where you feel discouraged, tired, or unmotivated (and you will, unfortunately) you have to be able to go back to your sole reason for doing this and remind yourself of the big picture. Remember that these moments do not define your potential or the trajectory of your career, and that you’re destined for all the greatness that you dream for yourself. Nothing or no one can take that away!

IreneWhat is one of your favorite songs that fit/exemplifies that Black is Beautiful?

Cambria: Golden by Jill Scott is probably one of my favorite feel good songs that just reminds me to walk in my power as a Black woman, and of course Brown Skin Girl by Beyoncé.

IreneHow can we support a fellow amazing Black person like yourself? Do you have any projects, businesses, creations, etc. that you are working on that you would like to speak briefly about and/or that we can support?

Cambria: Unrelated to my career goals, I have a podcast with my friends called Four Deep and we just dropped our first episode on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube! We are four young Black women in their 20 somethings who aren’t afraid to get deep with it as we discuss life, relationships, careers, and personal development. You can follow us on Instagram, @fourdeeppod.

IreneCan folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!

Cambria: Feel free to follow me on Instagram, @flygalcam or email me at /!

First of all, SUPPORT CAM ON HER PODCAST! I am a podcast junkie, so to see my friend have her own podcast sharing gems and fly girl content is just the icing on the cake. I give her props for balancing a quality podcast while attending dental school full time. It is not an easy thing to do, but of course, if anyone can do it, it is Cambria. Also, it sounds like Cambria literally has the most optimal occupational balance as a dental student. What I’m hearing is that she is the girl to hit up when in D.C. because she has all the plugs! I am also just literally so proud to see the journey that she’s taken to get to dental school because as we have witnessed thus far through the blog posts I’ve been sharing or just through other Black people’s accounts, it is not easy to be Black pursuing a health care profession. The fact that we make up no more than 5% of each respective field is so problematic, so to see people like Cambria actively shifting those statistics is so empowering.

Thank you all so much for tuning into the blog! I really hope that yall enjoyed Cambria’s interview as much as I did. It gave me a kick of inspiration and motivation to continue along my own journey as an occupational therapy student. Part 4, and unfortunately, the last post for my Black is Beautiful mini blog series is live next Saturday, so please remember to be on the lookout! Again, subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram at Renrenspeaks for updates! Continue to love on Black people!

Peace and love,


Black is Beautiful Mini Blog Series Health Care Edition Part 2: Meet CAMERON!

Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy second week of Black History Month! What is one thing that has brought you joy this past month? For me, it has been connecting with incredible Black individuals at my school and through this blog! We are BACK with another blog interview. Next up in the series is my friend, Cameron who is doing phenomenal things in the field of medicine. Before we start the interview, let me throw yall back to how Cameron and I connected!

I met Cameron during my time at UC San Diego and always thought he was such a cool dude that was very kind and poised. We were also in the Black Student Union together, and we really got to bond over our mutual love for health care. I remember he interviewed me for his enlightening research project back in 2017 regarding Black students and Black health, specifically looking at what social and environmental factors influenced their aspirations to pursue medicine and other health professions. Of course, he contributed GREAT discourse at UC San Diego and to the field of medicine in general! I won’t get too much into it because I want HIM to highlight his many projects and publications. Cameron is a super cool guy, yall, and I am so glad we were able to reconnect to collab on this series for BHM! I am excited for yall to read more about his story down below!

IreneWhat is your name/pronouns?

Cameron: Cameron Clerkley, He/Him

IreneGive us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE! 

Cameron: Chill, funny and down to earth (so I’ve been told), Bay Area raised (Hayward), sports head (especially basketball), passionate about family, community, serving others and mentoring, love going to movies and concerts, and world traveler.

IreneChoose three words that come to mind when you define “Blackness”. Define each word in its relation to Blackness. Why did you choose these three words?


  1. Afro-Diaspora – This can represent anyone around the world who identifies with their roots in Africa (since descendants from Africa are everywhere).
  2. Royalty – This represents how I see Black identity because we deserve to think of ourselves in that light as exceptional individuals who deserve praise for our excellence.
  3. Oppressed – This, unfortunately, is because regardless of how you personally identify, if others see you as Black, you are subject to the forms of discrimination for being Black, a universal Black experience that has transcended centuries and geological boundaries.

IreneWhat is the MOST beautiful thing about being Black to you?

Cameron: My hair – I love how thick and creative it is. It is difficult to manage at times, but it makes me feel good and proud and unique in the world.

IreneHow has your experience been as a Black person in your respective field thus far? 


  1. Lonely – There aren’t too many Black physicians on my clinical rotations or even just roaming the hospital, but my goal is to help fix that.
  2. Empowering – Because every time another Black person sees me in the hospital, we greet each other or they share words of encouragement to me and the impact of my presence.

IreneHow do you plan on showing up for the people as a Black person in your respective field? 

Cameron: My presence and excellence will demand respect for Black individuals that are not traditionally represented in medicine, and my mentorship to the future generations will hopefully increase our representation in the field.

IreneAny advice, gems, or words of encouragement for future Black people who want to pursue your field? 

Cameron: You are enough and you are capable, you are unique and that in itself will take you far, you have so much to offer that is unique to being Black, lean into that and ignore anyone who tells you not to – anything you pursue in life will have challenges, so might as well shoot for the moon and pursue your passions/things that bring you joy.

IreneWhat is one of your favorite songs that fit/exemplifies that Black is Beautiful?


  1. Say it Loud – James Brown 
  2. Brown Skin Girl – Beyonce, Wiz Kid

IreneHow can we support a fellow amazing Black person like yourself? Do you have any projects, businesses, creations, etc. that you are working on that you would like to speak briefly about and/or that we can support?

Cameron: Share my article to anyone who would identify with/learn from the experiences shared and/or have the capacity to support the cause of uplifting aspiring Black doctors (link- SSVMS – Pursuing Medicine While Black )

IreneCan folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!


  1. @camclerkley11 on Instagram
  2. / 

Irene: Anything else you want us to know about you or anything you want to share with the readers? Feel free to drop it down below!

Cameron: Irene Kwangaba was a big contributor to the insight and inspiration of my article and entire medical journey since I met her in undergrad. We need more blogs like this one and more people doing similar work as this.

I am telling yall, how cool is Cameron! I hope you all enjoyed learning about Cameron as much as I did and the amazing ways that he is uplifting Black doctors through whole publications! To see it flourish from a UC San Diego research project to a publication in Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine is such an accomplishment. UC Davis is blessed to have Cameron as part of their student body, I hope they know that!

Thank you all once again for tuning into the blog today! Remember to support Black people not only this month but every single day, as our voices deserve to be lifted and celebrated consistently. Part 3 of my Black is Beautiful mini blog series – health care edition – will be released next Saturday with another amazing person that I am so excited to highlight! Also, make sure you all follow the Renrenspeaks Instagram page for updates on all of the great things has in store for you all! Stay Black, friends!

Peace and love,


Black is Beautiful Mini Blog Series Health Care Edition Part 1: Meet VICTORIA, MPH!

Hello, Renrenspeakers! Happy first week of melanin month! I hope yall are as hype as I am to begin the Black is Beautiful mini blog series – health care edition! The first person starting us off for the series is my sis, VICKY! I am going to brag a bit about her before we get into her interview.

I met Vicky in 2015 when I was a little baby freshman at UC San Diego. She was a senior in college, and we were involved in multiple Black organizations such as The Black Student Union and the African Student Association. I always admired her joy, her friendliness, and her ability to make everyone feel included and heard. She would check in with me and ask how I was doing and how she could support me during a rough transition to the university. She went on to do amazing things and overcame so many challenges still smiling and hopeful. So today, I am so thrilled to highlight the lovely Vicky!

Irene: What is your name/pronouns?

Vicky: Victoria Gichohi (She/Her/Hers)

Irene: Give us a quick synopsis of who YOU ARE! 

Yes, I’m the Community Engagement Manager for Rocket Doctor & Co-Founder of Black Girls Leadership Academy (BGLA). I’m from Compton, California born, raised & still a current resident. I’m passionate about finding resources to make people’s lives more sustainable and providing efficient health access to all populations.

Irene: Choose three words that come to mind when you define “Blackness”. Define each word in its relation to Blackness. Why did you choose these three words?

Vicky: Multi-faceted. Resilience. Innovative 

Multi-faceted – Black folks, (Black, African, Caribbean, the entire diaspora) we all have come from Mother Africa for sure. Yet, we have beautiful shades of our complexion. We speak over 100 languages and even more dialects. We are represented in many fields. So to hear statements like, “Oh all Black people do this or that” is really out of pocket because although we may have similar experiences and upbringings, we still are very much complex. And I believe there is beauty in that too. Your Black experience has been different than mine and I can acknowledge, respect, learn, and embrace it too! 

Resilience due to the fact that no matter what has been thrown our way, we come from generations and generations and still have the strength to continue on, which leads to my last word, Innovative. In spite of all the racist tactics and limited resources, we are innovators and pioneers. The majority of the tools and systems we have are due to the mind and imagination of a Black individual and oftentimes we don’t know it, myself included. From STEM to dance, we are truly global innovators!

Irene: What is the MOST beautiful thing about being Black to you?

Vicky: Lol it’s so many things. Our hair, our skin, our swag or juice. We are truly remarkable within our diaspora. Our strength. Our sense of community. Like us Black folks just got a little light and spark within us that I hope we individually do not lose it.

Irene: How has your experience been as a Black person in your respective field thus far? 

Vicky: My experience being a Black person has been pretty positive. I haven’t been taken advantage of or felt disrespected. However, I think because of my experience in management, at times, I am disregarded. I have taken sub-comments very seriously i.e. “Oh don’t you have an MPH?” and/or taken for granted in terms of salary because of my MPH. Black women in my field are growing more and more. I believe the pandemic sheds so much light on the hard labor Black women have and are constantly doing for this country (Medical Assistants, Doulas, Physicians, Receptionists, etc…) We are on the front lines and deserve and demand respect at all costs.

Irene: How do you plan on showing up for the people as a Black person in your respective field? 

Vicky: Representation is so key! How are we ever going to create an equitable society if we aren’t seeking the positions? If we aren’t at the table then who will be? Who will continue to advocate for our communities like Mari Copeny aka  “Little Miss Flint”  or Kizzmekia Corbett, the Black woman behind the COVID-19 vaccine? We are leaders, cultivators, and changemakers, grant writers, fundraisers, and rarely get recognition for it.

As for me, I will continuously urge our generation to combat and create equitable measures for all populations that they serve and invite communities to the table on how to make a more sustainable community. With my org, BGLA, we are creating this through mentorship being led by another Black professional and allowing mentees to focus on leadership development in improving disparities that already exist in their respective communities.

Also, I hope to start a clinic back home in my father’s home country of Kenya, specifically Nakuru, and be able to provide access to families that rarely receive the care they need.

Irene: Any advice, gems, or words of encouragement for future Black people who want to pursue your field? 

Vicky: The field is growing tremendously! If you have empathy and care about health and providing help to others, this is the field for you. Unlike typical clinical healthcare, you can go into so many areas. You can go into policy, epidemiology, get hands-on experience as a doula, nutritionist, navigator for patients, counselor, investigator, researcher, communications, social media and more. This field is truly a place where you can grow and combine any passion you are gifted with into your work.

Also, NETWORK and be able to be a community advocate. You have to learn how to talk to many people from all walks of life, even having small conversations in other languages. Be consistent and honest. Community Members will not engage if you are not transparent and consistent. They don’t want to see you just for one time and you dip and leave their city or neighborhood. You have to have empathy and be of service to them while also including them in the conversation. Go on the ground. Volunteer. Do the work necessary in order to build and grow.

Irene: What is one of your favorite songs that fit/exemplifies that Black is Beautiful?

Vicky: Wow, great question! There are so many to choose from. If I have to take it back it, would be Lovely Day by Bill Withers, and if I had to speed it up, currently it would be Alright by Kendrick Lamar, Solange’s Almeda and of course Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl. In my opinion, all four of these songs celebrate Black beauty, Black love in all its forms, and motivate us. In a world where we are scrutinized and taunted, we have to have platforms and songs to remind us of the gems we are, how much we contribute to the world, and that we matter! We really do and I love these songs as anthems! 

Irene: How can we support a fellow amazing Black person like yourself? Do you have any projects, businesses, creations, etc. that you are working on that you would like to speak briefly about and/or that we can support?

Vicky: Be sure to check out Black Girls Leadership academy at and also on all social media platforms @BlackGirlsLeadershipAcademy

Irene: Can folks connect with you to learn more about you/support you? If so, please drop your social media info down below!

Vicky: Yes no problem you can follow me on social media at @shhvictoria or message me on LinkedIn @Victoria Gichohi

Irene: Anything else you want us to know about you or anything you want to share with the readers? Feel free to drop it down below!

Vicky: I appreciate all the amazing work and efforts you are doing Irene in showcasing and highlighting incredible Black Women in our field and work!

Wow, I hope that you all are as inspired and refreshed as I am after reading about Vicky’s journey and all of the gems she dropped today. It is amazing to see a fellow Black woman breaking grounds in the field of public health. I will say, BGLA is such a beautiful organization that I was able to recently be a part of at the ELEVATE Summit that they hosted late January. If you are reading this and are a Black girl interested in leadership development or professional growth, I highly recommend getting involved! Also, Almeda is a forever anthem, I totally agree!

Thanks for tuning into the blog, Renrenspeakers! Keep that alert button on and stay plugged in on the Renrenspeaks Instagram page for the next post dropping next Saturday for Part 2 of my Black is Beautiful mini blog series – health care edition! Stay unapologetically Black, my Black readers!

Peace and love,


Black Is Beautiful Mini Blog Series – Health Care Edition COMING UP!

Hello, Renrenspeakers! I hope everyone is doing beautifully thus far! HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Again, every day should be a celebration of Blackness because Black is always beautiful even if the world tries to tell us otherwise. We are BACK with the popular Black is Beautiful mini blog series! Black is Beautiful is a mini blog series that I started last year highlighting some of the stories, journey, and accomplishments of Black individuals who continuously inspire me and the greater community. This time around, the Black is Beautiful mini blog series will be health care edition! I have a very exciting platform of Black interviewees in various health professions that I am so blessed to be acquainted with and to see flourish into influential individuals. 

SO, stay tuned! Every Saturday in February, I will be showcasing a new person on my blog! They will be sharing why their Black is beautiful, how they have navigated their journey in health care as a Black person, and gems and projects they are currently working on or have accomplished. Show your support by reading about their stories and connecting with them! 

The first post will be going live on Saturday, February 4th! So SUBSCRIBE to the blog so you don’t miss a notification! I am so pumped to showcase these blog interviews with you all this month! The line up is FIRE!

I hope that this mini blog series is an opportunity to connect with Black people in health care who are passionate about their communities and are making a change in the world. More importantly, I hope that you glean from this series that Black people are so diverse, successful, ambitious, and joyful. We deserve to be celebrated in a positive light. 

Again, Happy Black History Month! Support Black-owned businesses, buy us some lunch or a drink, send us some money, and show us agape love! 

ALSO, new announcement alert! Renrenspeaks is on Instagram now as @renrenspeaks, so follow me there to get the latest updates and show some support!

Peace and love,


Note: image was retrieved from here

End of the Year Reflection – Moving Into 2023 with Intention + Two-Year Anniversary of Renrenspeaks!

Hello, friends! Happy Friday, and most importantly, happy end of the year! We are two days away from the new year, and as most of you are doing, I am reflecting on this very busy year called 2022. I am currently feeling so much peace and happiness, as I have been blessed to have made it through another year safely and in good health. I made my first Instagram Reel that I posted to reflect on this year, and it was so much fun! I am def going to have to incorporate Reels more into 2023 😉 Also, fun fact! It has been TWO YEARS since I started my blog too. Happy two years, Renrenspeakers! I learned so much about myself through this blog, and I am so thankful that you all have been reading my content and supporting me along the way. What are yall’s goals and resolutions for the new year? What has been your favorite blog post on Renrenspeaks since 2020? I would love to hear them (comment down below or email your answers to me)!

This year has been one filled with so many fun memories, sad moments, heartache, times of pure stress and anxiety, and lots of love. For starters, I am now officially halfway done with grad school, friends! She did THAT! Your fav OT doctorate student is 50% done with grad school and I could not be any more proud of myself because I am telling yall, grad school is not for the weak. I’ll be honest. This past semester has not been an easy one for me. It was a lot for me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I felt at so many points during this semester that I was not creative enough, not competent enough, or not confident enough to understand the material I was learning in my lab courses. I found myself still comparing my progress and my processing to other people, whether it was in their capstone research process or in their clinical reasoning skills. However, this semester has also taught me a lot about myself. I am confident, I can do hard things, and I have pretty solid people skills. It has been really neat to see myself slowly blossom into a practitioner in training and I am thankful for the support system that I have had on my side thus far to get to where I am currently.

A highlight of the semester was that I received my white coat since I am pursuing a doctoral degree. I think I fooled the masses – I did not graduate friends, so I want to clarify that, though it did feel like graduation. The white coat symbolizes the next step in my graduate career of contributing to occupational therapy academia and scholarship. I was honored to be the student speaker, and I think I gave a pretty humorous speech that was personable and relevant to my cohort. I also got to see my tribe come and support me too.

I was also able to do some traveling this year! I know, I did not go abroad as you may have anticipated. Instead, I went to Dallas, Texas in September for the very first time ever. When I tell you it was the break that I needed, I am not lying. My love for traveling has been halted with grad school for obvious reasons. I visited my best friend, explored the area, and caught up with old friends and family members. It was a trip that was well-deserved and allowed me to unwind from all the stressors in my life at that time. Shoutout to Harena for being the best tour guide ever and for making me feel welcome in Dallas! 😉

Another monumental moment for me this year is that I moved to a different home literally right after my week getaway to Dallas. I was impressed by how fast I was able to pack up and move all my things within two days (a very stressful two days, might I add). But shoutout to my wonderful friends who helped me move and to my awesome roommates who have made me feel so welcome in this new home. I am so grateful for people like them who have been alongside me cheering me on and supporting me through a stressful time such as moving. Moving to a different home felt like closing a chapter of my life, which I did. My old apartment was symbolic of me stepping into my mid-20s and living independently in a different state for the first time ever. I laughed, cried, yelled, prayed, and sang in that apartment. It connected me to many different types of people and helped me to prioritize my physical and mental health. It was the first time I was really on my #growngirlmoves apart from living abroad for a bit.

I know I asked yall about your new year’s resolutions, so I will share some of mine! My biggest goal is to be more intentional. I feel that God has put this word into my heart, intention. I want to be more intentional about who I surround myself with, the relationships that I build, the places that I explore, the career I pursue, the money that I spend and who/where I give it to, the food that I intake, the networks that I develop, the way I treat my body inside and out, and the way that I navigate spaces. It is easy to do things just to do them without purpose such as getting assignments done just for the sake of completing them rather than learning through them. I will say, there are so many times in school that I will continue doing things just to get them done because of a lack of time and that is the reality of life sometimes. However, I want to really try my best to take every moment as a learning opportunity, whether it be a positive or a negative experience. I am gonna start off the year with my 26th birthday, which is always a time for new beginnings and a new outlook on the year for me. I am excited to see how I bring intentionality to all parts of my everyday life and how it shapes me into a better person. I also want to be more consistent with blogging, friends! I miss talking to yall on this platform. School often gets in the way of me feeling like I have time for myself, but so many changes are happening that I would love to keep yall posted on. I cannot commit to a certain number of posts, but I am gonna try to keep yall in the loop as much as I can, especially now that I will be starting my internships next year.

All in all, I feel very accomplished this year, though it has been one that has been very challenging mentally for me. I am feeling wholesome, renewed, and restored, as I have spent the last few weeks in San Diego reconnecting with old friends, spending time with family, and revisiting some of my favorite spots around town. I wish everyone the best new year. I hope that you all can claim 2023 as a year of intention as well.

Peace and love and a very happy new year,


Incompetence – Let’s Deconstruct That.

Hello, friends! WOW, I haven’t chatted with you all in a while, I apologize for that! We are taking a mental health break for the rest of the week, so I have today off, whoohoo! Today I went on a run in my new neighborhood, took a nice shower, washed my dishes, completed my morning skincare routine, and listened to a great podcast. Self-care is the best care, and my mental cup is currently full. I miss you all, Renrenspeakers! Life has been chaotic as usual in the life of this grad student. I want to briefly share with you how I have been doing for real.

My mind at a glance this past semester:

July: Second year – lightweight, a breeze. No more neuro, thank God, so it is much easier, and we have so much TIME. #occupationalbalance.

August: Oh shoot, it is starting to pick up but I’m still chillin.

September: Dang, things are starting to hit the fan, as all these assignments and sudden expectations for shifting our way of thinking have been sprung upon us.  

October: Yeah… it’s kinda rough out here.

All this to say, I realized several things so far this semester. First, I don’t think the word “easy” should be used to describe grad school at any stage because that is a façade – at least for me, lol. Sure, there are different levels of busyness that I think my first year and second year demanded, but the more I go through school, the more I realize that nothing should be easy for me. If so, I am doing grad school all wrong because I personally invested my time here to be challenged and to become a better critical thinker, even if it is hard and it sucks. Second, and honestly, I think this is my biggest revelation – I think that suddenly being challenged to think like an OT is a very uncomfortable way of feeling. I believe that this year feels harder than last because, for 25 years, my mind has been trained to study hard, take tests, and repeat. However, being asked “How would you go about this?” and having to critically think while considering the psychosocial components of an individual, their client factors, their environment, AND individualizing it to the person AND always being alert AND practicing a therapeutic use of self AND taking into account barriers to care whether that is through insurance AND so many other nuances is quite difficult. This is a novel way of thinking; my neuronal connections haven’t developed appropriate pathways to readily retrieve these connections. I totally understand that I must trust the process and I do believe that I will make it out victorious at the end of it all. However, I think facing the fact that I really am more Type A than I thought makes thinking like an OT or a healthcare provider, in general, a struggleeeeee.

One of my professors sent out a check-in email last week to see how we were feeling as OT students during the semester. One of the questions that they asked was three words to describe how we are currently feeling, and I included overwhelmed and stressed in the mix (which is typically standard), but the word that I was brutally honest with which made me a bit sad to admit was incompetent. I am not sure if all the life transitions I have been going through also informed my choice of this word, but it was very fitting. That was one of the few times I’ve recently viewed myself as so because I generally feel like I have mostly worked through my imposter syndrome. At that moment, the word incompetent signified that I felt like I was not completing assignments to my full potential and that I was actively skipping opportunities to fully immerse myself in the grad school experience through networking, professors, events, etc. I went home that day and honestly did not really do anything else because I felt the need to reflect on why the word incompetent ground my gears. It is unlearning the perfectionist, people-pleasing complex that I have been conditioned by for so many years now that I believe made me feel extra vulnerable that day. I find that I am hard on myself for not knowing how to solve these case studies immediately and for second-guessing every thought that I have to offer, which is ridiculous because of course I should struggle through it. Weirdly enough, I also felt like the word incompetent was validating because I was able to pinpoint exactly how I felt particularly this semester of grad school. It made me realize that it is okay to feel incompetent sometimes. What matters is just how I proceed to work on that insecurity. That is what I believe will make me a better student, clinician, and person in the future.

I will also share one thing that I feel reinvigorated my momentary weaning passion for the field. Last week, I attended an event regarding pelvic floor therapy, and though this is not a particular niche of OT that I am super interested in, I thought it would be valuable to get a break from the traditional ways of classroom learning and to connect with current practitioners not in academia. I am so glad that I went because it resparked the possibilities of starting my own practice, but it also taught me that I could advocate for myself, market my worth, and make a difference in people’s lives without being bound to the not-so-glamorous side of healthcare such as strict insurance regulations and reimbursement policies. It was just motivating to see another self-starter previously feeling burnt out and taking action to change her life around to do what truly makes her happy. I am sure that at one point she also felt incompetent and hopeless working under someone controlling her opportunities to provide care. Again, what was inspiring was the action she decided to take to change her trajectory. And that, I believe, is what made me accept and normalize feeling incompetent for myself. There is always a way to rise above incompetency, and I have complete power to do so.

Yes, I acknowledge that my thoughts are kind of all over the place because it is reflective of how my semester has been – all over the place mentally and academically! But overall, I can say that I am feeling more refreshed now that I blurted all my thoughts here today, and that I am optimistic that I will be able to overcome my feelings of incompetency as I progress through grad school. Thank you for reading and checking in with me, and for the love and prayers you all send my way continuously. I so appreciate them, and I hope that this word touched you a bit!

Peace and love,



Hello, friends! Happy Friday! How are you all doing? As for me, I had a summer off from school (one month vacay, whoohoo!) and now I am back to the grind! Y’all, can you believe it? I have begun my second year of school! I am a second year OTD student. It is wild to fathom this, but at the same time, I feel like I have been in school for forever. I write to you as I am on a flight back to San Diego to see one of my favs, Maverick City Music tomorrow (though my flight is delayed, smh). So I’m basically live blogging through the sky. 😂 

I just wanted to jump on here and quickly reflect on my week! Honestly y’all, it has been a whirlwind of emotions. Though I am used to grad school being all-consuming, I felt so overwhelmed in how much information was being thrown at me and how many academic/social responsibilities I had coming my way. I had given a presentation to the first years glorifying resources I utilized throughout my first year to keep myself afloat (shoutout to the Passion Planner and the Finch app), but I could not find the motivation and the drive to follow my own advice. 

Wednesday night, I truly tried to hold myself to my “productivity standards” and “be productive,” but that was short-lived, as I was gifted with a pounding headache instead. I tried to work through it, but only found myself more frustrated that I couldn’t focus (DUH I had a headache and it was nearing bed time!). In efforts to be on top of it after being burnt out by the end of last semester, I was pushing myself to adhere to productivity standards that truly was not that serious to uphold at this moment of the semester. After acknowledging that part of this lack of concentration I had was also because I was still coming off of summer mode, I had to reset, check in with myself and remind myself to #givemyselfgrace because the perfectionist, Type A in me was already creeping in and I was not here for it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to retain everything that I had been exposed to these three days because this semester is the semester that is HUGE for me since I am taking all of my practice immersion courses and beginning my doctoral classes. This semester is the foundation of my future practice where I finally begin to fall into one of my occupational identities as an OT. That is a lot to think about!

My motto this year is to #giveyourselfgrace. All I can do to thrive is to know that I’m doing my best at any given moment. This year is much different than last year because I am slowly starting to see the puzzle pieces of OT come together. Yesterday was the first day in which I actually felt more relaxed, more comfortable, and more ready to take on the academic year. We had our first peds lab and was introduced to the topic of documenting an evaluation for a kiddo. The thought of documentation is intimidating to me, but the fact that I had the opportunity to really start to integrate the knowledge that I acquired throughout my first year made me feel powerful! My brain was definitely stretched, but it felt very reaffirming to know that I had some clinical reasoning (though very limited) to implement and apply to a case study. Where did my newfound sense of calm come from? By having a heart to heart with myself and reminding myself that I’ve done hard things before and it will be just okay! I #gavemyselfgrace by acknowledging that I’m meant to be here, I am doing the best that I can, and that I have a beautiful journey ahead of me that I’m meant to be on despite how overwhelmed I may seem or feel. 

So, I am making a promise to myself for this year. This year is going to be a year of tremendous growth for me and constantly learning how to #givemyselfgrace even when I feel that I don’t deserve it. Not only will I be continuing didactic courses, I’ll be starting fieldwork, spearheading my capstone project, and getting off my parents’ health insurance (lol I’m sad about that). I wrote this hashtag down in my weekly to-do list to keep myself accountable and challenged to remember this simple thing. So friends, I hope that you all are touched by this reflection and can too #giveyourselfgrace in your hardest moments as we all go through life transitions. 

Peace and love, 


Dr. Kwangaba, 33% loaded! Reflections on a Year of OT School

Hello, friends! Happy June! I hope that all is well and that everyone’s summer is off to a great start. It has been a bit over a month since I last checked in with you all. I was in the midst of my finals as I wrapped up my first year of OT school two weeks ago. I cannot believe that I am officially 1/3 of the way done with my graduate school career. After 10 months of straight stretching of my brain, constant exams, papers, group projects, some tears, and a whole lot of Maverick City Music and prayer to get me through the hard days, I got through it all.

My brain feels like a sponge. It is wild to think about how much I have learned (and some retention of facts I still gotta improve on, shoutout to my professor for coining that phrase lol) in this year. Being in OT school simultaneously made me more familiar with what OT is and all that it has to offer as well as made me wonder what the heck is OT! Critical thinking is an aspect that I initially hoped would improve upon as I began school and took challenging courses such mental health, neuroscience, and kinesiology. Before, I was only familiar with the names of diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, and muscular dystrophy. Now, I come out understanding the prognoses, assessments, and possible interventions that I can begin to utilize to improve the quality of life of those with these various diagnoses.

Here are 10 highlights of practical skills that I can now add to my toolkit!

  1. I can transfer literally anyone despite my small frame.
  2. I can take manual blood pressure (I struggled so hard before).
  3. I can administer motivational interviewing, Socratic questioning, and strategic interviewing to gather pertinent info to build an occupational profile on a client.
  4. I can complete an entire case study related to OT in mental health settings in 2 hours (and I write way too much so that is impressive for me!)  
  5. I can use various types of Hoyer lifts and transfer patients such as kiddos with muscular dystrophy who have limited range of motion and weakness in their extremities.
  6. I can assess range of motion of joints and administer a manual muscle test for various muscles for folks experiencing musculoskeletal symptoms or pathologies of the upper extremities.
  7. I can teach a person who experienced a stroke on how to implement upper extremity hemi-dressing to promote independence in ADLs.
  8. I can create and implement (and hopefully sell one day) a group protocol.
  9. I can properly measure and fit a walker.
  10. I can juggle three group projects at one time.

Besides all the cool OT things I’ve been learning this year, the most critical aspect that I’ve taken away from my experience of being an OT student is that I really can do anything that I set my mind to. School is HARD and it is really difficult to remember the purpose of it all when I am boggled down with assignments, projects, and exams that seem to never end. However, a support system in and out of school, surrounding myself with positive folks who uplift me, and faith and confidence in my abilities are truly the most integral aspects that have made this journey all worth it. I walked away with lots of golden nuggets (shoutout to another one of my professors for coining this term) that I am excited to continue to build on and implement into my emerging career as an OT.

Now, I am going to take my much needed hiatus from being a grad student and tap into being all identities of Irene this summer. Thanks for cheering me on, Renrenspeakers, on this journey and being so invested in it as well!

Peace and love,