A Cautionary Tale *With Advice!*for Doctoral Students

“I’ve been robbed!” and then the tears fell.

“My entire Dissertation is on there what do I do?!? Somebody help me!” more tears fell.

This happened to somebody I knew who had their laptop stolen and had planned to graduate in less than 12 weeks. The look of distraught on their face shook me to the core and made me think, what if that was me? How would I handle this situation? Is there anyway to prevent having the feeling they had? 


I decided to reach out to Doctoral students who recently graduated this past year and asked them for advice for those of us who are navigating the college experience and here’s what they said:

“Don’t do what I did; please get an external hard drive and keep extra copies of your work. I heard people say get on but I figured why would I waste my money? That is until I lost my ENTIRE dissertation and didn’t back up any of my information. My heart sank when it happened and the only saving grace that I had is that I had turned in my chapters to my chair however that was before all the edits. I had to rewrite ALL the edits and remember what articles I pulled and other relatable things that I saved to my desktop that are now gone.”

“I celebrated the little things. If I made it through a semester, or if I added a paragraph to my chapter I celebrated it! Sometimes you can get so busy in the hustle and bustle of classes and writing that you forget to pause and celebrate the little things. This helped me refocus and motivated me to move forward in this program.”

“Don’t compare yourself to everyone else.  I always felt I wasn’t good enough and I moved at a much slower pace than everyone else but you know what, I graduated just like everyone else.”

“I had a hard time focusing so a friend told me to try using the pomodoro method (google tomato timer) and you know what it helped me focus. This method had a series of times where you focus on your work and you take short and long breaks along the way. Knowing I had a break coming kept me for drifting into my social media and staying there. Once I got used to this method I then shifted to setting a plan where I wrote down my goals for each session and checked off each time I completed it. I saved those sheets and I was in awe at how much I completed especially at times when I felt like I didn’t do anything.”

“Understand that your chair/committee will be your colleagues one day. They play a pivotal role in your doctoral journey and beyond: chose wisely.”

“Don’t take the feedback from your work personal, remember their goal is to get you to the finish line. Writing at the doctoral level is different and you often feel that you’re over citing at times but you’re not. Keep the APA format book near and know that in time you will be fluent in APA.”

This by no means is a comprehensive post on advice for Doctoral Students so we would like to hear from you.  Post in the comments below and let us know what advice have you received? What about those of you working… How does advice about a dissertation project mirror your experiences in the office setting. Let us know!

Check out #CiteASista Co-Founder Joan on Breaking Up White Jesus via #UnfitChristian

In her post, Dr. Collier writes:


I’m frustrated (and disappointed) by the homophobia, anti-Blackness, white supremacy, sexism, patriarchy, wreckless masculinity, classism, and shaming guised as God’s word and work. My righteous indignation burns for churches and Christians who proclaim a savior that liberates the imprisoned, but who turn around and oppresses people with God’s word. I’m tired of being preached at about submission because I’m a woman whose place is [supposedly] behind men.

The incongruence of thought in my faith was that a loving God can’t/couldn’t stand in agreement with the violence perpetrated through systems and functions of oppression like homophobia, misogyny, classism, toxic masculinity, rape culture, and white supremacy that had been guised as “Christian values”. It. Just. Don’t. Work. If we’re to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, then my faith walk couldn’t be just/righteous without critiques to and the dismantling of these evils perpetrated in/through churched spaces. I can’t/couldn’t sit up under leaders who encourage(d) evil “in Jesus’ name”. I had/have to choose one: Liberate folks with God’s word or oppress people with it.


Read more on *Unfit Christian*

Direct Link: https://www.unfitchristian.com/bye-white-jesus/

*This post has been reproduced with permission*

4 Tips for Cuffing Season Success

Pumpkin spice lattes are being served. Fleece pajamas and furry blankets are being pulled from the closet. The cold weather is approaching. Soon it will be too cold to do anything but lay-up, eat vegetarian chili (with cornbread) and Netflix and Chill (NAC) well into the night. You know what that means? Yes, cuffing season is upon us.

Cuffing is a seasonal arrangement whereby two people agree to stave off the lonely feelings often associated with cold weather by engaging in activities ranging from simply keeping each other company to cuddling to sex. While cuffing season can sometimes be the beginning of a long-term relationship, by definition, it’s short-term and usually ends before Valentine’s Day.

Because cuffing is a temporary relationship that involves spending quite a bit of time alone cuddled up with someone, it can come with emotional risk. The cuddle hormone, oxytocin, all but guarantees feelings of attachment which can be intensified if the relationship is sexual. ‘Catching feelings’ is one reason many people avoid cuffing season altogether. But, feelings are a beautiful, completely natural part of a healthy life.  And although feelings can be managed, they cannot necessarily be avoided if we want to experience the fullness of life.

Cuffing season also comes with some great rewards. Fall and Winter can be a particularly difficult for people who don’t have the means to travel home to friends and family during school breaks. Also, longer nights and shorter days means getting less mood-boosting serotonin and Vitamin D triggered by the sun and fewer opportunities to enjoy the calming effects of getting out in nature. Having a cuff during these months can provide a welcome reprieve. In a society where we often limit physical touch to the confines of long-term committed relationships, cuffing season equips us with the immune-boosting and stress-reducing benefits of consensual physical touch without having to shell out big bucks for a cuddlist…and yes, that’s a thing.


Here are a few tips that can help you maximize the benefits and engage in a healthy, intentional cuff this season:

  1. Choose wisely. At the very least, you will probably be spending time with this person for a few months. So, chose a person you like being around or a person you genuinely want to get to know better. Ideally, your cuff will share your taste in movies (for NAC), food, and leisure activities. This makes for fewer disputes over how to spend your time together.
  2. Establish guardrails. Remember, you are taking an emotional risk by engaging in a cuff. So, establishing boundaries is essential. Early on, decide:
    • How many days/nights per week you will see each other
    • Rules for engaging with each other on social media
    • Rules for engaging with each other at school or in other public spaces
    • Whether to end the cuff (and when) or to be open to something more long-term
    • What activities you are open to engaging in during cuffing season (i.e. NAC with a home cooked meal, cuddling and sleeping over, sex, etc.).
  3. Take care of yourself and each other. If you and your cuff decide you’re open to sex, honest conversation about sexual history, pleasure, and boundaries can go a long way toward maintaining a healthy cuff and a healthy sex life after cuffing season ends. Use an effective birth control method if you want to avoid pregnancy. Although condoms go a long way to prevent STDs, even skin-to-skin contact can transmit HPV or herpes. So, protect yourself and your partner by communicating honestly about boundaries and getting tested often. Like any relationship, a cuff is better when it ends without unwanted pregnancies or diseases. And remember, cuffing season is supposed to bring good feelings and healthy companionship so violence or disrespect are great reasons to automatically terminate the cuff.
  4. Be willing to cut ties. Like any relationship, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. The beauty of cuffing season is that it’s not meant to be a life-long commitment in the first place. So, if you decide that it’s just not working out, a few weeks in, it’s okay to walk away. If either of you wants to explore something more long-term with someone else, it’s okay to walk away. If you just don’t feel like being bothered, it’s okay walk away. As with any relationship, you want to end it gracefully. But, it is okay to end it guilt-free.

So, what have been your experiences with cuffing season? Drop a comment below if you are an experienced cuff-er and have some wisdom or other helpful hints to add.  Until next time, happy cuffing!