Recap of My First Keynote Speech at the University of Kentucky

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to The University of Kentucky to deliver the keynote speech at the 2019 Graduate Student Life Summit – which was a part of the NAGPS Midwest Regional Conference. It was my first keynote speech and though I came fixated on how to provide value to the audience, I found myself learning from the other speakers in the breakout sessions.

I arrived in Lexington, KY on the Friday before my speech as I was met by my old high school friend, Edward Lo – who is currently working his PhD at Kentucky. After catching up with Ed, I made my way to the Gatton Student Center where the conference had already started. Dr. Grubbs, the UK Assistant Dean and Director began with the welcome address and was followed up by James W. Lincoln, the current GSC President at UK. I was given a warm welcome from Paulina Gonzalez, who not only made my stay in KY comfortable, but also dedicated herself to organizing an excellent conference. Joel Klipfel, the GSC-president-elect also joined me and Paulina for lunch and made my stay more comfortable. Dr. Sue Roberts gave a talk that morning about graduate school for international students, and I shared my thoughts on my parents being international students and immigrants from Ghana. Later that afternoon, I was able to sit in on two excellent breakout sessions – an hour-long speech from Dr. Vanderford about mental health issues in academic trainees and a session conducted by Carol Taylor-Schim about inclusion and diversity.

The next morning I woke up slightly nervous from the anticipation of my speech later that night. My father, Dr. Robert Sarfo, flew in from Georgia and arrived in Lexington around noon. Once he was settled in, we went back to listen to more of the conference and do some sight-seeing around Lexington.

7:30 came around and it was my turn to deliver my keynote speech. Once the initial nerves went away, I was able to share my thoughts on how to “Enhance the Graduate School Experience”. Main topics discussed included mental health wellness and self-care tips as a graduate student followed by a short Q&A session. The video was broadcasted live over my Facebook public page, and will be available shortly in full-length on my YouTube channel.

I was fortunate enough to receive a University of Kentucky sweatshirt and Kentucky bourbon as a gift from the GSC. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make last weekend a memorable one – Edward Lo, Paulina Gonzalez, James Lincoln, Joel Klipfel, and the remainder of the U of Kentucky GSC staff. Looking forward to doing more events like this one, and hopefully I get to make another appearance in Lexington.


Keynote Speech – University of Kentucky (April 27, 2019)

I’m excited to announce that in a few weeks, i’ll be giving my first keynote speech at the University of Kentucky at the 2019 Graduate Student Life Summit/NAGPS Midwest Regional Conference. Being a graduate student that is finishing up a terminal degree, I am excited to shed some light on the issues that face graduate students and what can be done to make the “grad school experience” more bearable so that others are able to further their education in their respective fields.

I’ll be looking to receive permission from the University of Kentucky to have the speech recorded and broadcasted on my YouTube.

For those in the Lexington, KY area, details will be available on my Instagram about how to purchase tickets on Eventbrite to the Graduate Student Life Summit.

Once again, thank you for your attention to those that have been following my journey.



I Can’t Wait … For Right Now

I spent the last few weeks of 2018 reflecting about how exhausting the year was. Three consecutive semesters of school throughout the year (along with clinical rotations) left me semi-burned out and forced me to spend a lot of days resting and planning for the New Year. 2019 is supposed to be — and will be — a big year for me in many ways. I plan on finally graduating from my doctoral degree program, transiting from a RN to a provider, taking my clothing company to a new level, collaborating with awesome organizations like Mental Health America, and even positioning myself to pursue business opportunities in areas that I’m passionate about. On a personal level, I hope to spend more time with family and friends and most importantly freeing up time for me so I can continue to grow and learn who I am as a person. I can’t wait to see what this year holds for me and the people around me….

At the same time, one key lesson that I am learning is to make an active attempt to appreciate EVERYTHING — and that includes the good and the bad. It is human nature to appreciate things, places, & people AFTER the fact. You often hear people talk about how things were better and much “simpler” in the past but you’ll rarely hear the same person acknowledge the things that are going great in their life at the moment. For me, it’s extremely tempting to not get too carried away and obsess about the future. 

I often catch myself thinking about graduation and wondering how well the upcoming book will do, & often forget about how good life is NOW. 

I’m healthy and blessed to be alive, my family and friends are doing well and have their basic needs met, my car works, I’m still employed, I’m able to afford Chick-Fil-A once or twice a week, AND neither one of my brothers have figured out how to stop my 4-3 blitzes on Madden 19. =)

Gratitude is the secret ingredient to contentment, which to me is a more satisfying feeling than the transient feelings of “happiness” we often spend most of our lives chasing. 

Though I’m writing this as a blog post online, I’m preaching to myself as well. The next time I catch myself over-extending and neglecting today’s blessings, I’ll quickly remind myself about how I can’t wait to appreciate the “right now”, today!

PSAFE4 Fashion Show
Atlanta, GA (2018)



To follow along on my journey

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