Why Going Natural in Professional School is for You


          Prose the question, "Why don't you just go natural?" to any of my sisters in institutions of higher learning who are scared to say ✌🏾 to the creamy crack or to the long, straight, luscious brazilian locs.   You'll probably get something like the following: 

          "I don't have time..."

                    "I won't have the energy..."

                              "Are you kidding? I have too much to pay for already! I don't have the money..."


          Now I'll forever and always be the one to tell you to keep those eyes in a book rather than a mirror and focusing on your aesthetic.  But I'm here to tell you as living proof that you will find yourself more in graduate school more so than college.  I mean c'mon! I went to 8 years of school...AFTER I graduated college! You can trust me on this one.  No better way to collect your second degree than to find inner and outer self while on the journey to getting it.  

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          I know, I know.....I've heard all the possible excuses.  You think it will be difficult and too tiring to manage kinky, curly, and/or coily hair.  You think you'll be ugly because you aren't used to your natural aesthetic (and the media and beauty industry, alike, have coerced us to subconsciously hate the look and feel of our natural hair for years and years...don't even get me started 🖐🏾).  You're already broke from the million books and board exams you had to buy to even get into grad school.  You think you won't be able to afford the products to care for your hair.  And you don't want to spend money on the more expensive natural textured extensions to put your hair away while you grow it out.  You think you'll spend too much time finger-detangling rather than studying.  


          Did I nail your excuse(s)? See my rebuttals below, and why grad school is actually the PERFECT time to go natural!


"I don't have time..."

          Exactly; you won't have time to mess in it! Nothing makes the transitioning time go by quicker than keeping your head in a book rather than a mirror for several years at a time.  Now I wouldn't wish transitioning for 2+ years on anyone, but focusing on studying can make the time fly by quicker than you think.  Before you know it, you'll be done with school, AND your transition!



"I won't have the energy..."

         Girl, this is the prime reason why your hair will thrive! You'll stick to more protective styles, because they take less time to style, and you'll have to wash less frequently.  Your hair is protected and more moisturized, so it will grow so much while you're in school.  The entire time I was in medical school I grew out my perm, which was about 16-18 inches of hair, and grew another 16 inches of natural hair by the time I graduated.  Now contrary to popular belief, my hair does not grow that fast, only at an average rate of about 4-6 inches per year, so even if you are on the lower end of this spectrum, you'll end out on top by the time you graduate!


"I don't have the money..."

          Good, less money for you to WASTE on fulfilling your inner product junkie. 


"I don't think I'll like the way I look....and others, including my boss, might not either"

I was there, I was scared, I know where you're coming from.  But girl, please! Aren't you tired of letting the trickle-down idealism from another culture who doesn't know the half of caring for afro hair subconsciously dictate what's beautiful on you? Now this is not Men's Warehouse, so I refuse to tell you that you are, in fact, going to like the way you look.  But damaged and thinning hair to where you look like Gollum isn't that appealing either.  Quit holding onto those damaged ends mumbling, "My precious," in a corner!

          Besides, God makes NO MISTAKES in His creations.  You will forever be, and ARE, beautiful, no matter what graces the top of your head! As for your boss, I've had my fair share of comments from my superiors.  And at the risk of sounding like "an angry black woman", I don't care.  You think our predecessors didn't receive comments when they broke barriers by going to schools, restaurants, or marches??? Let's be a part of the movement to break those barriers in the work place, and to continue to open doors for women of color with natural hair in the professional space.  Direct your haters to the comments below!


          Hope this helps you fight those reflex rebuttals that come to mind when you ponder over going natural in grad school! What is better than realizing one's true self? Nada!  Besides, nothing beats marking the end of your transition with a fab fro underneath that graduation cap...if it'll fit. ;)

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Andrea Alexander13 Comments