It has been a whirlwind year for me and my daughter, Nyah who has joined me on my MBA journey from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Without Nyah’s unconditional love, I am not sure I would have had the strength to get through the stressful core curriculum at Wharton and the grueling recruiting season. There were days when I felt defeated and she would comfort me and tell me “good job, mommy.” Coming home to her smiling face every night gave me the motivation I needed to stay focused on the big picture. There is nothing like being smothered in toddler hugs and kisses after a long day of classes, student organization meetings, company info sessions, and dinners with Wall Street VPs and MDs.
Having recently completed my first year at Wharton, I’ve been reflecting on the last 18 months when I got the idea to create MBA Mama. I’ve decided to highlight the top 10 moments I’ve shared with Nyah. Somehow, she always manages to steal the show! Enjoy.
#10: a doctor. and a firefighter
This video was taken about one month after I submitted my Round 2 applications to some of the nation’s top business school programs. I was anxiously awaiting interview invites (or rejections) and decided to go out to dinner with Nyah to her favorite restaurant, Cheesecake Factory. She was 2 years old in this video (on the one month eve of her 3rd birthday). You can barely make out her answers to my question: what do you want to be when you get big? Her answer: a doctor. And a firefighter!
# 9: nakupenda
Nyah being selected to perform at her pre-school’s Black History Month celebration. She sang a song in her father’s native tongue. I love how her bestie, London, gives her a re-assuring pat on the shoulder before she takes center stage! Swoon.
# 8: hit the quan
Nyah and I de-stress with dance parties. Usually, our dance-offs are powered by Beyoncé, but Nyah wanted to go in a different direction on this day. Here she is grooving to the viral hit: “Hit The Quan.” She entertains me all the time!
# 7: birthday love
Nyah singing happy birthday to me last year when we still lived in California.
# 6: the princess is here
The day Nyah arrived in Philadelphia at the beginning of my first semester at Wharton. We had been apart for a few weeks as I left her with family in Chicago while I went to secure an apartment. She was so happy about “our new home” even though the apartment was only furnished with an air mattress at that time. We’ve come a long way in the past 10 months!
# 5: nah, I got it
No matter how busy I am, I make sure to do story time with Nyah regularly as part of our bedtime routine. Sometimes, she lets me read. On this particular night, she decided that my services were not needed.
# 4: i am beautiful
Confidence is key and I often do affirmations with Nyah. Here she is at age 2 practicing her affirmations!
# 3: mommy’s little helper
Nyah loves to help. Here she is showing me how strong she is during a quick grocery store run.
# 2: stop and smell the roses
This picture was taken about one month before we left California to begin our transition to Philadelphia, PA. I was in a hurry to run errands and Nyah stopped to literally smell the flowers. In this moment, I realized that my child was demonstrating a valuable life lesson. Sometimes, we get so focused on our goals and allow ambition to keep us on a hamster wheel. Always busy. Always on the smartphone. Always checking email. This day, Nyah reminded me to stop and enjoy the simple things in life.
# 1: oh yeah!
I am excited to be spending my summer interning with Goldman Sachs splitting my time between New York and Los Angeles. I don’t know who was happier about the internship offer, me or my darling Nyah when I told her the news 3 months ago.