Grown-ish Review: College Then vs. Now

Grown-ish Review_ College Then vs. Now

I am an avid watcher of the show Black-ish. When I found out there was going to be a spin-off, I admit I was a bit skeptical at first.

I mean spin-off’s lets face it usually don’t have a positive rep. But, then I remembered my favorite spin-off of all time “A Different World”. A sitcom in the late 80’s that was a spin-off of Cosby Show right? It was a pivotal show…important for the culture then and now!


Once I saw the preview and the actors I thought, ooh this might be pretty cute!

If you’ve been following the show, Black-ish on ABC you know that Zoey (Yara Shahidi) is the oldest of the 5 children and she is starting college in California. This season they had an episode where she goes on a campus tour and meets a cutie named Aaron (Trevor Jackson) for the first time.

So far, the first three episodes were very, very accurate and comical.

Zoey realizes in the Late Registration-Ep.1  after everyone gives their account of why they are in Professor Doctor Charles class (apparently because they missed registering for the good classes), that is from midnight to 2 a.m. that maybe she made a really crappy decision that later backfires heavily on her when the girl she ditches at a party ends up becoming her roomie.

B*itch Don’t Kill My Vibe- Ep.2 was about Zoey trying to figure out how to balance her social an academic life (so relateable, because every college student struggles with this) so she ends up reluctantly popping Adderal (her new found friend-pill dealer to stay up and finish a 25 page paper that is due that day. The first attempt ended in a online shopping spree where she ends up maxing out her credit card.

If Your Reading This, It’s Too Late- Ep.3 Ms. Zoey finally gets to spend a little time with the Sophomore she’s been feelin’ Aaron. Soon after the party he texts her, “U Up?” She doesn’t know how to respond so she calls in her cavalry of girls to try and help her decide which ends up backfiring in her face when she sees Aaron with another chick. So instead, she goes out with Luca. Another friend, from the midnight class whom we were introduced to the first episode. They go out and have a great time.


But then…Aaron messages her…and Zoey answers but gets caught up when Luca comes on her computer on facetime while on the phone with Aaron on facetime. BUSTED!

Hint: DO NOT be too aggressive when first meeting a guy! They will RUN! Zoey had planned out they whole entire life and then some in that text thread, and we see what happened….LOL!!!!

Now let’s do a College then and Now comparison…

Zoey is going through typical college stuff.

Then: Now, just like the main character Melody in novel, “Drama University” I started my freshman year of College in August of 2002. Times were so much different than they are now. I mean my cell phone back then had a green back-lit screen and now photo taking capability. I think web cams were a thing but definitely not on your phone could you see someone’s face while talking to them. As I’m writing this I’m making myself feel ancient, so let me stop…

Let’s just say in 2002, it was A LOT easier to get away with things, than it is now! I mean see how Zoey got caught up…didn’t happen like that back then. Good luck to all you playa types out there!

Now: Y’all can look at your boyfriends timeline on Facebook, Instagram, Snap and spy on them…lucky you!

Then: Most of the kids that did stuff either smoked either weed (purp) or popped X.

Now: Vivek had a whole case of pills? He didn’t even know he was a drug dealer ’til the crew told him, LOL! This is a new one for me...when did this come about…someone help me understand this?

Then: The infamous, “U Up?” phone call or text at 2 a.m. meant…

Now: EXACTLY THE SAME as it did back in 2002, when I was in school. My College-aged ladies, guys don’t call or excuse me text that late (my little cousin who is in college told me no one actually talks on the phone now) at night just to know your thoughts on something (I am cracking up as I type this)!!!

PS. I like that Zoey has friends to call on…

This show has my attention so far…

Great job Kenya Barris and the rest of the Grown-ish cast!

Until next time…

Nicole Alicia sig





Nicole Alicia’s Top 10 List of College Movies

In my debut novel, “Drama University” I take my readers back to the early 2000’s before anyone knew what a Facebook was and before cell phone’s were “smart phones”.  Not only is it a time period where my main character Melody attends College, but it was also when I started College as well.

If you are currently attending College or have graduated…you know we like to reminisce on the “good ‘ol” days (Goodness, I sound old but whatever).

So while many of you are either about to be on winter break or just want some good movies to sit back, reminisce and laugh…

Here’s some a list of my Top 10 list of College movies:

  1. School Daze. I’m a definitely a Spike Lee fan. This movie is my favorite, not only because it has Jasmine Guy from my favorite College TV show a “Different World” but also because it was my first exposure of seeing what black sorority and fraternity’s (although a complete exaggeration) was like.\
  2. Love & Basketball. Although this is more of a coming of age story, I think the College part of the movie is very relevant. Plus, I love Sanaa Lathan!
  3. Drumline. Matter of fact, I saw this at the movie while I was in my first semester of College in 2002. The original I love and have seen more times than I care to count. Plus, who didn’t love Nick Cannon back then?
  4. Dear White People. A great film about the different types of people you may encounter on campus, mixed in with a story line about how racism often plays a part on campus and how students often trying to portray being someone they’re really not.
  5. Higher Learning. The ending always makes me so mad, but it’s so nostalgic to go back to the 90’s.
  6. House Party 2. A classic. I really don’t know what else to say!
  7. Burning Sands. I enjoyed this one and as the former girlfriend of a black fraternity member, I found it to be spot on from what I was told these young men experience while “on line”.
  8. Stomp The Yard. Another film focusing on black fraternities (although fictitious), I love the story line and the story. Columbus Short was a snack, was he not?! LOL
  9. The Great Debaters. Although I’ve only seen this film once, I do remember it has many life lessons and teachable moments in it. You have to really sit down a watch this one.
  10. How High. It’s a really goofy movie that makes me laugh every time, because it’s just so ridiculous. Plus, who doesn’t like comedy!

And that’s my Top 10!

What are some of your favorites?

Until next time…

-Nicole Alicia


Novel Excerpt #2

Novel Excerpt #2

This excerpt is taken from Chapter 2 of my upcoming novel, “Drama University” soon to be released on November 14, 2017. Pre-ordering will be available soon! Sign up for my mailing list (Click here to sign up) to stay informed on what’s coming up next from writer Nicole Alicia!

“Hold on,” I breathed into the receiver. I dropped the phone to go shut off my alarm so I could hear. “H-h-ello,” I managed to answer, now out of breath.

“Hey, what’s up?” A low voice, replied.

“Um hey. What happened to you? Why didn’t you call yesterday when you got up here? I called you. Everything go okay?”

Being startled awake like that I had near forgotten about yesterday. But I was wide awake now. “My bad Mel,. I was movin’ and I didn’t get up here til’ like 8 last night.”

“Aww, I see. So you couldn’t call and tell me, huh?” There was a long pause before he nonchalantly replied, “It was way too late, I knew you was sleep anyways.”

I let the brief awkward silence sit there between us.  

“I’m sorry baby, I’ll not forget next time.”

I rolled my eyes and got up out of the wooden desk chair I was sitting in.

“Yeah whatever,” I said reluctantly.

“So, I guess I’ll talk to you later, ‘cause were supposed to be in the Student Union at 9am for orientation.”

“Yep, see ya later, love you,” he said sweetly.

“I love you too.”, I said back and hung up.

I exhaled and slowly breathed out all my frustration from yesterday. I was relieved now.  

As a freshman, the school requested that you arrive one week early from the “upperclassmen” for freshman orientation. They had tours of the campus, classes that taught you everything you needed to know about the school and college life. Orientation was called “Getting the Most out of Your College Experience” according to the pamphlet that came in the mail with my room assignment. In the informational packet I had read in the mail, it just looked like all it should be called, where to go for this, who to go to for that, what residential life was like and on and on. But, I guessed that was too long of a title for it.  

Before I left home I went shopping to gear up for the whole first week of orientation and my first week of college. I planned out every outfit down to my shoes and accessories. I was hell bent on dressing as cute as possible. I didn’t really have a thing for clothes. I was never the best dresser. I just kinda went off what the other girls wore and did my best. The whole thought of having to be out and about amongst my peers, students I had never met before kind of made my stomach feel funny though, but I was definitely excited though.  Although I would say I was quiet, I was going to let my clothes speak for me.

Hoping to blend in since I was way taller than most females my age and had been since about 6th grade. At 5’7, and 120lbs the only thing I was really worried about was standing out like a sore thumb. I was always being teased in school, but I was hoping since this was college, things would be different. You know, a more mature crowd.

After getting dressed, I grabbed a Rice Crispy Treat and a Capri Sun out of my stash and  headed over to the Student Union about 8:50am. I entered to finding a ton of students lining the noisy, atrium. Certain students were holding up signs that read in big bold letters, A-F, G-L, M-R, S-Z some were shouting the group of letters they held up on their signs. I hesitantly maneuvered through the crowd until I was sort of close to the sign that said S-Z. I tried to stand closest to the outside of the group of students standing there. There was a group of about 100 plus students standing around a guy with brown hair, wearing a black polo with the school’s logo in the corner of the shirt.

Some students were conversing with each other, others stood there looking around with that lost look on their face. Which was probably how was looking also. I grabbed my phone and pretended to look occupied, which I thought may look better than looking around lost and clueless. After about 15 minutes of standing there, our group started to move toward the doors headed out to where the rest of the campus was.

Time was dragging that day.  I had occasionally seen Xavier and his best friend, Mark on campus with their group between sessions and in passing breaks in between the “informational sessions” the first day. He would nod what’s up, and I’d throw up my hand and give a cute little wave every time.  X was looking fresh, as usual. I didn’t mind telling my newfound acquaintances when they asked who that was.  

He had one of the new red Marc Ecko shirts on I had bought him this summer, with some new white Nike Air Force 1’s and crisply pressed khaki shorts that hung so low, all you could see was his socks and shoes. His hair was freshly faded, with his one diamond earring shining. My eyes moved from his feet him up as he passed. I took a mental picture just to save in my memory for later.

It was funny, his crew all pretty much dressed the same too. Somehow they had managed to all end up in the same orientation group. All four of them grew up together and went to the same schools together up until Xavier moved and started going to my school freshman year. Mark was Xavier’s best friend since kindergarden. I was introduced to Mark officially about a year ago. Xavier and I had just started back dating again, after breaking up for only the second time. We went on a double date with him and what I liked to call his “girl of the week”. Mark was comical and a so called “player”. He had all the flash and flair that a 17 or 18-year-old girl would be attracted to.

Since I had known, Xavier he talked about his boy, Mark.  He was about the same height as Xavier, mahogany brown skin, with light brown nearly hazel eyes. He was clean cut and I had never saw him anything but designer brands. He always had a different girl every time we double dated with him, which was basically every month. Mark was obviously, a firm believer in the phrase, “exploring your options”. From what Xavier had told me about him, I could see why. He was spoiled rotten by his wealthy parents and was the baby of the family. It was very plain to see he got what he wanted basically.

Anthony and Craig I knew little about. I thought I once overheard Mark say in conversation with Xavier that “Anthony was spoiled too.” Mark was cool with me. His personality was goofy and he was definitely a comedian. When I came around the other guys, barely nodded to acknowledge my presence. I figured they could give or care less, who I was. Mark always joked around with me winking and waving, which always caused X to punch him in the shoulder, and say “Aye, man that’s my girl!” Which I in turn, smiled and we laughed together about.

Every time I would see Xavier and his crew on campus, Mark is always be talking to some girl while Xavier tags along behind him.

Sitting and listening to all these professors, administrators and upper classmen talk for hours and hours in orientation was exhaustingly boring. All I was looking forward to right now was the end of the week there was supposed to be a party. I hadn’t heard or seen much of Xavier except in passing this week.  It was Thursday night already. I had been calling his room most nights and getting no answer. When I’d call his cell, he would say, “I’ll hit you back in a minute.” Which wasn’t happening.

I was trying to play it cool though. We had been so close our last semester of high school and over the summer months. Talking almost every night, sometimes just sitting on my back porch and talking, until midnight or I had to come inside. I was starting to have flashback scenes of “Love and Basketball” flow through my mind. I fantasized that things would be different this time. I mean this was only the second time we had broken up and started dating again.

College 101: Caring For Yourself While Sick Away At School

College 101- Caring For Yourself While Sick Away At School

Since most schools are just now getting into the first semester, I thought this would be a handy post to make.

The first time I got sick and I was away at College, it was my second semester of freshman year. It was probably the 2nd week back at school from semester break. I had started this new job on campus and everything seemed to be going along fine. Walking back to the dorms after class, I realized I didn’t quite have an appetite and felt a bit more drained than normal.

My boyfriend at the time had decided to take an internship in Florida and had left the previous week. He was usually my ride everywhere, since I didn’t have my own car. I only had a few friends on campus with a car at the time.

As I hopped into bed after taking a hot shower, I noticed that I  had went from hot to now freezing cold in a mater of two seconds. That’s when I knew, I was coming down with something.

I called my mom and explained my symptoms. She quickly told me to get out that thermometer she had packed in the little first aid kit she made up for me. My mom made sure I had a few things for when I was sick like a thermometer, Tylenol etc. I took my temp and sure enough, I had a fever that was 101.

At home when you’re sick, you’re probably used to mom making you chicken noodle soup, checking your temp and wiping your head with a cool cloth. When you’re away at school 98% of the time you have no one to do this for you.

I felt so terrible!

My roommate was kind enough to go to the store for me and pick up some Sprite and soup for me which helped tremendously. Even if I would have had a car, I felt so horrible I don’t think I would have made it to the store.

Long story short, I wasn’t able to really keep anything down for almost 3 days. Yes! I missed class for 3 days and work.

It’s a different experience when you’re miles away from home and having to care for yourself, while sick for the first time so here’s some tips that will help:

Clear Liquids! Make sure you keep  a bottle of Sprite or Sierra mist on hand. It may be hard to stash in your fridge, but maybe stash it under your bed or in your closet. Place it somewhere someone else or yourself wont drink it. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, if possible. It will not only help the bug to pass, it will make sure you stay hydrated especially if your having trouble keeping things down.

Have Soup! There’s a running joke about college students and Ramen noodles, I know. Take it easy on your stomach though. Try to always have some light soup on hand like Chicken Noodle. Not only is it a warm snack to have on those cold night, your stomach will thank you!

Kleenex! There’s nothing worse than being sick and having to use that rough 1-ply toilet tissue the campus has, then ending up with a raw nose from blowing it so much

Try to conserve your energy! If you can have your professor send you the notes from class you missed or hookup with a classmate do it! You don’t want to get behind in your school work. Don’t go to class sick unless you absolutely have to…trust me your body and everyone else will thank you on this one!

Netflix it up! Have a movie marathon! Rest as much as possible. Your body’s fighting something and needs energy to do so. If you try to do too much too soon you’ll end up making yourself worse.

Go see a doctor! I know, I know you’re saying a doctor? I don’t have money for that. Many campus’s have a clinic or somewhere you can go in the city or town you live in. If symptoms last too long, go seek medical attention. Many cities have CVS or Walgreen’s that have clinics. Remember they can always bill you.

Last, but not least…

Disinfectant! Be nice to your roommate. Lysol after yourself. Get you a canister of those disinfectant wipes. You live in such tight quarters and I’m sure your roommate doesn’t want want you have or just had.

Hopefully this helps a bit…

You can’t fly or drive back home every time you get sick right? Mom isn’t there to take care of you and you have class and probably work you have to get back to.

Be prepared as cooler temps start hitting and cold/flu season approaches. Nothing’s worse than being sick and not having the stuff to help yourself get better.

-Nicole Alicia


What Was Life Like Before Social Media?

Life BS & AS (Before Social Media & After Social Media)

What was life like before social media?

Many of us probably don’t even remember. I know sometimes it’s hard for me to recall?

As a mother, I now envision some of the conversations I will have with my son. I imagine one of the things we will discuss largely is “how things used to be”. You know like most parents who sit back and reminisce about the good ‘ol days with their children (I know mine did)!

My debut novel “Drama University” coming this Fall, takes place in the early 2000’s, before social media even came about.

Allow me to take you way back.

Back before we even knew what goes down in the “DM’s” or what the hell a “selfie” was.

Back in my day, all we had was “Black Planet”. A place to create a profile and message folk back and forth from all around the world. Basically, a the first “Tender” for black folk. In fact that may have been the start of it all.

Then there was something called Myspace. Remember, Myspace y’all? It’s like a blip in my memory now.

If you wanted to talk to someone half way across the US, you could use instant messenger on your computer. Later they did come out with some sort of video chat on the computer too.

msn logo

Before Facebook and Myspace, we passed notes back and forth in class in high school. If a guy wanted your number at a party, you wrote it on his hand or a piece of paper. In college, cell phones were really just becoming a “thing”! I remember the first little phone I had with a color screen and a camera on it. That was huge deal! I really thought I was ballin’!

The first cell phone was a Nokia 5110! The phone you could change to outer shell to, you know the phone that you could play that game “Snake” on and it had a green back-light.

old school phone

Anyways, back then phones where good for one thing, calling and text messaging. Who would have known that 15 some years later, most people would quit using LAN lines and just have a cellphone? I mean I can probably count on one hand the amount of people that have a LAN line in their house now.

In high school, if you wanted to reach your boyfriend and he wasn’t home you had to wait for him to call you back when he got home. I remember paging one of my boyfriends and he called back from his granny’s house. That’s just how things worked back then.

If you wanted to take pictures of yourself or your friends you had to use an actual camera, wait and then go get them printed at your nearest drug store. Now everyone can see where your at and who you’re with, with a click of the post button.

I began college in the fall of 2002, much like my main character Melody Thomas in my upcoming novel.

Things were way different back then.

Now it’s so much easier for these guys to get caught up! But that’s a whole other blog post for another day!

In 2005, a friend who attended CMSU (UCM or University of Central Missouri) had told me about this thing called Facebook that everyone at her school was on. I went on the site and our school hadn’t even been added. Matter of fact, It didn’t end up being added I don’t think for probably another 6 months!

Facebook, as we know was the leader of this thing we now call social media. Now you could see who your boyfriend was friends with and what girls were writing comments on his page. I know this sparks a whole other discussion about relationships and social media.

I have to admit, life was so much simpler back when we couldn’t see into that ex’s life with a click of a button.

What do you remember about life before social media?


-Nicole Alicia