So, What Now?

I’ve been at home for a couple of days now, and everything is hitting me now: I have to work, I have to get ready for school. In a few weeks, I’ll be in the classroom, overwhelmed with seemingly endless amounts of work. I’m not in Vermont anymore, where I can focus solely on making connections and strengthening my bond with social activism. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how to make time to focus on what you learned at NGLN. Luckily for you, you can stop wondering, because I have a few tips.

Carry a journal.

At NGLN, I was writing way more than I normally did in Louisville. Not only was I being prompted to write all the time, but even when I was in the barn, I had a binder full of empty pages, just waiting to be filled. In Louisville, if I’m carrying any type of empty pages, they’re usually for school or work. However, I’ve been carrying a binder specifically to write poetry and prose since I’ve been back, and I’ve noticed my creative gears turning more than they have been in the past. I also plan on dedicating a couple notebooks to my What’s the Story and NGLN projects, so I don’t push those to the side. Even if I’m looking for something else and I happen to spot my binder, I’ll feel motivated to write. They say out of sight, out of mind, so you should make sure that never happens.

Use a calendar.

Put yourself on a schedule. I use the calendar app on my phone, but planners in notebooks work just as well. Just look up the words “bullet journal” and you’ll find a ton of resources on how to personalize your scheduling. Whatever you do, make sure it works, because in two months, you shouldn’t be thinking “Oh, I remember those few days I spent at Bread Loaf,” you should be thinking, “Tomorrow I’m supposed to be calling my partner, and Wednesday I should work on my part of our project.” Put your school, work, and extra-curricular activities in your calendar, and if you have an hour or so of free time, don’t leave it blank and think, “Oh, I’ll work on my project then.” Write it down. That way, you’re less likely to make excuses and procrastinate when working.

Do some research.

There’s always some more work you can do when it comes to social activism. You could look at the history behind your topic, you could talk to a college professor (or another expert) who has done extensive research on what you’re interested in, you could go into town and observe or even experience your topic. If there is anything you can do to broaden your horizon, you should be doing it. If you’re a nerd like me, Google Scholar or JSTOR* are perfect places to begin researching. The articles and research summaries there are very long and very dense, but they usually have concrete information that can really help you understand any topic better. Going into a branch of your local library system and checking out a book on your topic is also really helpful.

Connect with us!

We should be helping each other stay on track, as far as NGLN goes. I got a lot of phone numbers, new Instagram followers, and new Snapchat friends, and I’ve been talking to my new friends since I got back. Come back to the blog often (maybe set a reminder on your phone, or set up email reminders for when someone posts) so you can see all the updates, and talk to your NGLN buds, whether they are part of your local team or they live far away. You don’t even have to talk about NGLN. Just check up on your friends. Not only is it a nice gesture, but just talking to them will remind you about everything you learned at NGLN. The “out of sight, out of mind” proverb applies here, too.

So, that’s what I plan to do for the next year to prepare for NGLN 2018. If you have other tips, feel free to comment. And if you need any help with your projects, feel free to ask. Remember, we are the network!


*JSTOR is a paid service, although most local libraries and some educational institutions offer access to it. Message me if you would like to use JSTOR but cannot gain access. 



Akwelle Quaye

5 Responses to “So, What Now?

  • Ceci Lewis
    4 years ago

    Thank you for such wonderful tips. I am going to put reminders on my phone right now. The journal idea is brilliant too. Sometimes when I am walking, I think of things and then I get home, start talking with my family, playing with the dog, or doing household chores. Guess what happens to those ideas? Nothing! I found that if I have my phone with me, I can talk and walk at the same time (this is a big deal for this rather clumsy gal). The notes I speak into my phone can then be emailed to me. I love technology!

  • Tom McKenna
    4 years ago

    I love this set of reminders, Akwelle, especially your reflections about carrying a journal.. I won’t soon forget your free write in response to the color yellow. You are a keen writer with a distinctive voice. I’ll want to read anything you share.

    School is coming fast for me, too, with my first official day on August 2.

    Looking forward to how we shape NGLN together!


  • Okay Akwellé I see you! Awesome post, and a great reminder to all of us on how to get. things. DONE!

  • Lillian Reeves
    4 years ago

    I really love this, too, Akwelle. It definitely reminds me that I am in on something bigger than my usual routine and I need to start making time in my schedule JUST for the awesome work of NextGen. I love the recommendation for the calendar or the journal. Is anyone journaling online?!

  • Beverly Moss
    4 years ago

    I wish I had you hear with me to remind me to sit down and write when the ideas come to me. I do not honor my calls to write. I need to carry the journal and use the calendar. Thank you for the inspiration and for the practical steps.

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