First off, what the hell does # (hashtag) House of JAZ even mean? Quite literally, it is (well was) a slogan that stood for The House of Janet, Alice, and Zo. Get it? #TheHouseofJAZ. If you ask me, together the three of us had it going on. We were three young, live, opinionated, yet different Nigerian ladies embracing the college life as a tripod. Each of us were involved in organizations targeted at our own interests, had similar academic social circles, and we even had a big eyed rat chihuahua dog named Sancho. For me, some of our greatest moments together were our several rambunctious house parties that always left me contemplating, “how the hell did I get friends like them?” I could go into explicit detail about how my relationships started with each of these women, but that would lead you to either losing interest in this post or wonder why do I have friends to begin with. So let’s stick to the basics shall we?
#TheHouseofJAZ had a lot character, charisma, class, and sass, but my favorite commonality among us all was that we had one goal in common: law school. To be honest, I took pride in living amongst women who shared similar prestigious career goals as myself; naturally it was a comforting feeling. However, sharing those soon to be experiences with one another was generally exclusive or non-existent. In my opinion, the problem was feeling the need to be vague to stay ahead, or fear of being criticized, or even sometimes sharing similar ideas. I sometimes contemplated why this was but never actually made effort to change course. Instead, there were moments where I contributed to our interesting house dynamic. For instance, Zo and I took a practice LSAT exam together and coming out of it she simply asked, “What score did you get?” and guess what my response was, “ I don’t want to say.” If you didn’t catch on, that was an example of being vague. Absolutely no reason to be, but I chose to about a silly PRACTICE exam. An exam that had no effect on my academic career whatsoever. Pretty damn stupid I’d say.
Presently, Janet and Zo are both in law school and I’m still reluctant to share my most recent practice exam. Not really, but in actuality, J and Z are in law school and I have obviously taken a different path toward that same goal. A path I was initially reluctant to share because it was not the same or remotely similar to each of theirs. In my previous post, I talked about taking a non-traditional route following graduation and how it has positively impacted my life. Which is something I will now elaborate on. The things I’ve learned on my path are just as significant as J and Z have learned on theirs, just in a different way. Working at a camp people are very affectionate and happy all the damn time. They smile, sing (off pitch), dance (with absolutely no rhythm), and even say “I love you” just after a week of knowing each other. Frankly, I felt awkward and out of place, but I came to realize there was an underlying purpose behind it all. Despite how unusual I felt things to be, I eventually opened myself up and became comfortable sharing things with others regularly. Yes, even the people who said “I love you” after a week of knowing each other were getting to know the in’s and out’s. So why is it that I chose to be completely open with strangers than my dearest friends J and Z? Simply put, my attitude was a reflection of my environment. Granted, it didn’t have to be, but it was bringing out a side of me I grew to love and endure.
There are several themes that camp can be centered around, but the one that stands out most is unity. The idea that people can successfully achieve more by working together is something preached and practiced daily. For that reason, I gradually became an open book, craved constructive criticism, and welcomed any ideas that came my way. Just imagine the kind of atmosphere #TheHouseofJAZ would have been like if I’d applied that same attitude. My only assumption is there would have been non-stop singing (with proper pitches), dancing (with actual rhythm), and definitely constant words of love and encouragement rather than feeling the need to compete against each other. Disclaimer: living with J & Z was nonetheless a huge part of my college experience and will go down as one of the greatest moments during my twenties. This is not one of those ‘I wish I did then what I do now’ crap lines. This is one of those ‘what I do now my future self will thank me for later’ corny lines.
For what it’s worth, I feel my relationships with J & Z have become stronger and are going down paths that will only make me their biggest fan for success. Here is how I see it, when I wanted to achieve something great, I felt obligated to do it on my own. When I felt obligated to do things on my own, I became prideful. When I became proud, I closed myself off from people who cared for me as I did them. Closing myself off only neglected me from opportunities to thrive anywhere with anyone. This sounds foolish and that’s because it was. So all I ever think nowadays is maybe I should be smiling, singing, dancing, and saying “I love you” to people I know or possibly don’t know more often.
More to come…