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Howard University creatives discuss work-life balance amid year’s end

Howard University students Kwesi Bekoe, Latrell Caton and Howard alumna Galaxy Okoro share how they showcase their talents while managing their personal careers and academic studies.

Students attended the Springfest concert, which featured artists Flo Milli and Gunna. The concert occurred on April 19. (Photo courtesy of Latrell Caton)

Galaxy Okoro, a Howard alumna and graphic designer, said she feels intense burnout during the spring as she handles large inquiries for graduation stoles. 

She said this balancing act amplifies for the graduation season. During this time, some creatives are at their busiest, leading them to implement self-care practices to deal with the stress that comes from the influx of customers. 

Galaxy Okoro shows off her self-made graduation stole. (Photo courtesy of Galaxy Okor0)

Okoro started making graphic designs her freshman year at Howard. Okoro gained notoriety on campus by making affordable t-shirts for campus organizations. In 2021, she developed her first graduation stoles with her company, Gigabee, and from there, the stole business continued to grow. 

Because she juggles multiple small businesses combined with working in Information Technology (IT), Okoro says she sometimes feels the effects of such a demanding schedule. 

“Earlier this week, I felt so burnt out and I did not know what I was going to do,” she said. “This year, I think I bit off a little more than I can chew. However, I always think [of] how it’s going to affect me in the long run, and I know that it’s going to impact how the students see my business… making sure everybody has the best graduation experience possible is what I think drives me the most.”

Okoro also recognized the importance of creatives taking mental health breaks and how beneficial it can be to their creativity.

“I think it’s really important to make sure you are thinking of yourself,” she said. “Even as little as talking to people on the phone or going outside and touching grass. Sometimes we can feel a little overworked, so taking that time out of your day for self-care is very important.”

Latrell Caton, a senior political science major and Spanish minor from Brooklyn, New York, decided to pick up a camera during his senior year of high school. 

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With his mom’s advice to avoid letting the camera collect dust, Caton said he learned the ins and outs of his camera and eventually found himself shooting other Howard events, such as Taste of Howard and Rep Yo’ City. 

   Photo of Latrell Caton using his camera. (Photo courtesy of Obiloh II)

“I think tools like Notion and Milanote are great for creatives. Notion is an AI calendar that automates tasks and creates time blocks for you to get it done. It always keeps me aware of what’s next,” he said. “Us creatives have to find those healthy ways to deal with stress and for me, working out also helps a lot.” 

Tight deadlines, long hours and solitary work, anxiety and burnout may lead to stress if not appropriately managed.

Kwesi Bekoe is a junior TV and film major and photography minor from Bayville, New Jersey. In the summer after his freshman year of college, Bekoe said he saved enough money to buy his first camera and pursued sports videography. 

Shortly after, Bekoe’s work gained the attention of the Howard University Women’s Basketball team, and he eventually began working with them.

Kwesi Bekoe is working for Howard University’s Women’s Basketball team at the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament in the Bahamas in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Kwesi Bekoe)

“It’s really difficult, especially with finals, to balance getting content out there. You really want to be as timely as possible and really focus on turnaround time,” he said. “I like to get all of my schoolwork out the way first. It really allows me to commit consecutive hours to editing my footage.

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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