Keeping Up With Kimishia Woods
Please share your undergrad journey from College of Southern Nevada to your HBCU experience.
Born and raised in Las Vegas I was exposed to a lot at an early age. I was a troubled teen but despite my personal situations I always excelled academically. Thus, graduating from high school with honors at age seventeen. Eventually, I began to take a class here and there at the College of Southern Nevada while working full time for a car loan company. My life became very routine. I worked Monday through Thursday and partied with my friends Saturday and Sunday. This routine got old quickly. I would go to work thinking, "This cannot be me at forty. This CANNOT be life." So after a few morning drives listening to India Arie and a conversation with my aunt I decided to apply to Bennett College in Greensboro, NC.
When my lease ended I moved back home with my parents, resigned from my job, and bought a plane ticket to North Carolina two weeks before the start of Freshwoman Orientation. I was stepping out on faith. At age twenty-one I had never been on a plane and like many I was a first generation college student. However, despite all obstacles my HBCU experience was like no other. Attending Bennett College was definitely one of the top 5 best decisions I've made in my life. I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry, studied abroad in India, participated in summer internships, joined student organizations, pledged a sorority, graduated top of my class, saw the great Maya Angelou speak, and built phenomenal relationships with women I now refer to as sisters. I learned more academically, socially, economically, politically, and spiritually in 3 years than I had my entire life.
How was your Hampton University experience and transformation into working in the hospital?
After graduating from Bennett I was accepted into a Medical Master's program at Hampton University. My experience at Hampton was the complete opposite of my experience at Bennett College. I had no social life and barely enough time to study for my courses let alone the MCAT because I worked overnights as a full-time medical Scribe in the emergency department. Though Hampton was not the HBCU experience I had at Bennett the program provided great opportunities for networking with administrative staff from various medical colleges and universities. Working in the ED has been a rewarding experience. I work side by side with physicians and go with them to see their patient's. I've built great relationships with cardiologist, general, trauma, and orthopedic surgeons who allow me to shadow them in the operating room. Scribing has also allowed me see the ins and outs of medicine from lifestyle to politics. Let's not forget the chaos of cardiac arrests, child birth, gunshot wounds, pill bottles in the anus, or the episodes of a psych patient. The stories and patient encounters will forever be memorable. They are my constant reminder of why I chose medicine.
After receiving your Master's you traveled. Please list the places you visited. How was your experience seeing Queen Bey in a foreign place?
My first stop was Dublin, Ireland. My line sister was supposed to meet me there, however, she had not
completed her dissertation and had to back out. I forgot to mention it was my birthday. So I'm in Ireland with tickets to see Beyonce alone on my birthday. After checking into my hotel I walked to a restaurant called The Bank and treated myself to lunch. The restaurant was an old bank turned restaurant with live entertainment and a scenery to die for. I ordered fish and chips which was a trademark of the area. I also facetimed my mom, so technically I wasn't alone anymore. I walked back to the hotel to get ready for Queen Bey.
While waiting for a taxi I met two ladies who happened to be going to the concert as well. We shared a taxi and they invited me to a pub with them. They were so kind and wouldn't allow me to pay my share of the taxi because it was my birthday. Once we arrived to the concert venue we had to part ways because we were seated in different sections. As I walked through the venue my birthday dress attracted a lot attention. I ended up meeting an amazing young woman who introduced me to her two friends. They warmed my heart and made my birthday experience worth wild. We shared stories while waiting for the concert to begin and sang along with each other the entire concert. As expected, Bey put on one hell of show! My birthday experience in Dublin was amazing. I left Dublin the following day and finally met my line sister in Cambridge. From there we traveled to London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona.
What new foods did you try?
Aside from the history lessons, sightseeing, and meeting new people, my favorite part of traveling was eating. I had tea time in London which included scones (biscuits), clotted cream (butter), and tea. Everything was tasty. I also fell in love with their short bread biscuits (cookies). In Paris, I was sure to try the baguettes, pastries, cheese, and macaroons. However, I could not put down the crepes. I ordered one with every meal. We ate paella in Barcelona which was right up my alley because I love seafood. Rome had the best food by far. I stuffed my face with pasta, pizza, and gelato. It was all so freshly made, a big change from the over processed American food.
Why you decide to wear all African Cultural prints overseas? How did the foreigners react to your natural hair and skin tone?
I wore Ankara styles simply because I fell in love with the patterns and colors. Also, choosing my fabrics and designs was an experience in itself. Despite my bold prints and colors my hair definitely attracted the most attention. People would stop me for photographs, randomly touch my hair, or just stare.
Lessons I learned while traveling.
1. Not to travel too frequently. I spent 1-2 days in each city. I felt like I powered walked through Europe not really experiencing everything each city had to offer.
2. Assuming everyone speaks English. Do a lot of people speak English? Yes. Do they all? No! I learned the hard way when needing directions while taking the metro.
3. Ryan Air is to Europe what Spirit is to the U.S. Too good to be true.
4. Pocket change has value. A coin worth 1 and 2 euros made me look at change differently.