Here Come the Questions: 25 Things NO Grad Student Wants to Hear

 As the graduate school years go by you will find that you will be hit questions left and right.


At some point, they will start to haunt you like the Thriller MJ taught us about. And while most people mean no harm,  it begins to feel like people are intentionally disrupting your space and happiness as if you’ve failed to meet some sort of internal deadline they set for you. 

If you’re like me, you need to hear no matter how many questions you’re asked, their words don’t define you. Besides, it’s  like I always say, your journey is your own. But for now lets just chuckle and side eye at some of the most commonly said things on this journey called graduate study–

  1. So you’re like a medical Doctor?

  2. Why does it take so long for you to graduate?

  3. When do you graduate?

  4. Are you done yet?

  5. You must really like school, you can’t stay away.

  6. Are you done yet?

  7. You have to write how many pages?

  8. So what are you going to do with that degree?

  9. You don’t really need a doctorate.

  10. Why didn’t you get a Ph.D? No one respects an Ed.D (mainly comes from people not getting their Doctorate)

  11. You getting a Doctorate? You’re going to be single forever, no man wants a woman who has it all together.

  12. That Doctorate is intimidating to men so maybe you shouldn’t bring it up.

  13. Are you done yet?

  14. So when are you gonna get done?

  15. How are you not done? It’s been forever.

  16. You’re better than me, I would never.

  17. YOU’RE getting your Doctorate degree? Oh wow… (usually said by shocked white people who then follow up with “isn’t affirmative action awesome”? or some other idiotic excuse to make them feel better)

  18. I mean it shouldn’t take long to write a book, I can write a book so why is it taking so long for you?

  19. You want to get done don’t you?

  20. If I were you…

  21. You know what you need to do? You need to…

  22. You’re done with classes so why aren’t you graduating?

  23. I don’t get it.

  24. You don’t need it to be successful.

  25. So when are you done?

So what do you think about this list? How many of them have you heard already? Do you feel it helps or hinders your process? What would you add to the list? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Interracial Dating whilst Black Woman x Natasha Lee

A few weeks ago, a friend of #CiteASista wrote a detailed post about her experiences with interracial dating. In true call it like it is form, Natasha reminded Black women why we should stop selecting ourselves out of the wider dating pool out of loyalty to Black men.

We especially loved the facts laced within the piece–

the dating pool becomes real limited considering the number of Black men who are imprisoned, hoteppy, or would rather wife Becky with the good hair. Consistent with anecdotal evidence, research shows that Black men are nearly twice as likely to interracial date and to marry a non-Black woman (Pew Research Center, 2017).


She continues with:

Black women have been taught to “hold down” and desire Black men through urban myths and stereotypes (e.g. the ride or die chick, white men can’t fight/protect us, and of course the Black male’s penis size).  We are even socialized in our childhood to desire Black boys. Consider the nursery rhyme that I and thousands of Black girls chanted as we were coming of age:

“I like coffee,
I like tea,
I like the colored boy and he likes me,
So step back white boy, you don’t shine,
Cause I’ll get the colored boy to beat yo behind…”

Now, name ONE nursery rhyme that Black boys are taught to celebrate and desire Black girls? Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Three claps for the reality check. Read the entire post on Natasha’s blog*Here* and let us know what you think!

How to Heal #HairHate and learn to love black women's natural hair

What intimacy looks like to me…


I’m single. And in this journey I have been able to write some good things about what I want partnership to look like. And lately intimacy has been a big part of that.

I desire a partnership that is transparent, vulnerable, teaching, challenging and thoughtful. I desire a love that pours into me as much as I hope to pour into it.

I began writing this piece and the phrase “Hold me in this space” came to mind. And I begin thinking of where I want to be held in a partnership. For me that is in the darkness of someone as well as their light. Hope you all enjoy 🙂


Hold me in this space

An ongoing tension of

Wanting and pushing back

Of embracing after a period of distance

And releasing when we get close

Of words thought to be said

But eyes that speak them


Hold me here

Near your heartbeat

Its rhythm syncopated a beat only I know

A language only I know

Only I feel


Hold me here

Near your scars

Evidence of life that has endured, will endure

Hold me near the stories they tell

Like when sorrow came in the night

When heartbreak first introduced itself

When pain became a tenant


Hold me here

When joy shined through the darkness

Told your pain it was no longer welcome in your heart

Comforted you when you called out for help


Hold me here

Where prayers were answered

Where thanks was given

Where the manna flows in abundance


Hold me here

Where thoughts in your mind

bring a smile to your face

where the tension in your shoulders release

where I become synonymous with your fondest memories

where peace resides in your spirit


It’s in this space I want to be

Hold me there

When #MLKday and #J15 Collide: Honoring *Soror* Septima Poinsette Clark

Black History.

For some people, it is a 28-day reminder (Plus the third Monday in Jan) to commemorate the achievements and contributions of Black icons. For others, it’s a reason to take a paid day off from work.  For me? It’s my worldview, my impetus for moving forward, my source of strength, and my constant reminder that we know this place.

History was always my favorite subject growing up. Coming to understand the decisions that led to the world that I inhabited, the people who influenced it, and ways by which I could become a part of something greater mobilized me in ways a graphing calculator couldn’t. But growing up, I hated MLK day programs. Not because I have a particular dislike of Dr. King (he is both brilliant AND Pham, after all), but because school programs, projects, and assignments always focused on the achievements of men like King.

Of men.


When I was in college, I knew I wanted to join Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated…So when I inadvertently became good friends with the president of the chapter closest to my campus (I went to Hampshire, there is no such thing as greek life there), I found myself obsessed with reading about the women who made up the Sorority. The semester I initially sought (and was denied– a story for another post) membership in AKA, I was enrolled in courses at Smith College like “Feminism, Race, and Resistance” and “Race and Class in Conflict: The Rise of the Black Middle Class,” taught by Drs. Paula Giddings and Riche Barnes respectively.  I was a budding feminist scholar, aspiring member of the Black bourgeoisie, and I was done with history canonizing Black men in ways that left Black women who often did the heavy contemporary lifting as historical footnotes. It was in this semester that I learned about Soror Septima Poinsette Clark (1898-1987; Gamma Xi Omega).


My annoyance with the overwhelming focus on men (and the only three** women from the Civil Rights Movement) in schools was yet again realized when I was doing Sorority Girl Research™.  I was left breathless when I realized that Soror Clark had earned the title “Queen Mother of the Movement” during the Civil Rights Movement, but that the 1965 Voting Rights Act was uniquely impacted by her organizing and commitment. A founder of the Citizenship Schools, an educational model developed to promote literacy and Black political empowerment, Clark understood well before everyone else that voting and activism that respected differences in experiences due to the intersections of race and gender were critical to the wholesale improvement of the Black community. Despite experiencing sexism at the hands of Black men we’ve immortalized, she continued to organize Black voters and fuse issues facing Black women into conversations about Civil Rights, including physical health and wellness, equal pay, and the right to engage in political activist activities despite employer disagreement.

Septima Poinsette Clark was an educator, Civil Rights activist,, queen mother of the movement and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

So, why did it take me 20 years to learn about her?

What if I hadn’t chosen AKA that semester? Afterall, both of my professors were Deltas and one even wrote an extensive history of her organization.

How many other Black and Brown girls are undereducated about the work of our foremothers?

How DID I not know her?

Why doesn’t anyone talk about the ways in which King et. al. used her for her labor but never acknowledged her presence?

I already know some answers to these questions. That said, instead of focusing solely on what has been done wrong to my Soror by our own people (my lack of knowledge before 20 included), I instead choose to lift her up. To say her name. To use the intersection of #J15 and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Day and acknowledge the ways in which history, like time, is cyclical and Black women remain at the forefront of movements related to using the vote to improve the Black community. I choose to highlight how Black women, by saving ourselves, continue to save the willfully ignorant who surround us.

So here are 10 things you need to know about Septima Clark:

    1. She directed Highlander’s Citizenship School where she emphasized literacy and civic engagement;
    2. She fought for and won equal pay for Black teachers in 1945;
    3. She served as SCLC director of education and teaching;
    4. In 1975, she became the first Black person to serve on the Charleston School Board;
    5. Rosa Parks attended one of her Citizenship School grassroots social justice education workshops a few months before the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott;
    6. The citizenship school model became a framework for SNCC’s Freedom Schools
    7. In 1979, then-president Jimmy Carter honored her with a Living Legacy Award;
    8. Her mantra was “Literacy means liberation,” words to live by in a 45 presidential era;
    9. She was the first ever keynote at the National Organization of Women NOW Convention and discussed “The Need of Women Challenging Male Dominance,” an experience she knew firsthand through her interactions with people like the beloved Dr. King;
    10. She holds an honorary doctorate from College of Charleston.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day and 110 years of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. sisterhood on January 15, 2018, I give thanks for her legacy, share this post in appreciation for her dedication, and am grateful for her embodiment to service to all mankind.  To our Ivy Beyond The Wall, and unsung hero, Soror Septima Poinsette Clark, I give thanks.

**  I say this tongue in cheek, but let’s be real… History books, classes, authors, etc. do not do right by Black women. If they did, #CiteASista wouldn’t exist.


4 Reasons I loved #ProudMaryMovie [Spoilers Ahead]

For the last few weeks? (who can tell when every Darth Cheeto Scandal makes a day feel like a month) Twitter has been ablaze about the lack of promotions and support for the Taraji P. Henson led action thriller Proud Mary.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 10.21.47 PM

Ira summed it up best in this piece. Click the pic for a direct link.

With a supporting cast featuring Danny Glover, Billy Brown, Margaret Avery, and Neal McDonough, it’s hard to understand why the film received such little love. Critics acknowledged there was a lack of press showings of the film meaning the earliest reviews came on the night the movie was released. As I sought information about the film, one of my good friends reminded me how no one expects films with Black women leads to do numbers. “I mean, look at Girls Trip” she said.

Meanwhile, I was making this face at the fact that she was right:


I didn’t want her to be.

So, while I’m sure everyone who specializes in film will say they hated the movie, I’m here to share four reasons why I loved it. Keep in mind I 1. have no idea who directed, 2. am not a trained film critic, 3. I don’t think it Oscar worthy, but I think it existence worthy, and 4. am willing to admit I liked Halle’s Catwoman because it made me laugh. So take alluhdis with a grain ‘o salt.

Drumroll please…


1. Mary (Henson) has that “Dope Auntie Vibe” Down

I saw some review before I went in that blabbed on about Henson and the kid in the film not having chemistry. Tbh, that must’ve been a white person. I got cool auntie/ “you gon’ learn today” teas from them and I will not stand down on this. This is a film, with a young Black boy, who was selling dope for a white guy, and has no idea who to trust. No, he and Henson aren’t going to be #besties in the beginning. I’m probably more standoffish with my own family (#ohwhale). But as the movie went on I got the sense of community that made it believable this kid had it rough. But what do I know,? I just grew up poor.

2. Mary’s Strength is Her Liability 

This movie exists because the subtext was that there’s some part of her (Mary) own story she saw in the kid. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a vested interest in people I meet who remind me of myself. At the same time, the kid nearly got her killed. I never bought the whole “motherly love” thing that I felt the film tried to force. Tom (Brown) rightfully called this out. But one need not be a mother nor motherly to love. Mary stuck her neck out for this kid because he was her before the #glowup. I can’t blame her. Any kid with guts to pull guns like that? Keep em.


3. Danny Glover A.K.A. “Benny” as a Crime Boss

Benny? Whet! I was born in 1990, so my early and most memorable Danny Glover film is of course Angels in the Outfield. The idea that this same guy, my TV uncle could somehow run a crime family? No way? Way. Somehow, Glover did a darn good job convincing me he was bout that life. But like most people in old age, he was tired of having to be. I bought into the idea that he didn’t want drama because he was in his golden years– ain’t nobody got time for mess at this age.

4. Billy Brown’s Bawwwdy. 

JUDGE ME NOT. Brotha Billy has spent some serious time in the gym and it is paying. oawf. Looking at the tight clothes on his body was enough for me to pay 10.00. Whew. In all seriousness, I liked the chemistry between him and Henson. Her character, Mary, was supposed to have some sort of past with this guy and not want anything to do with him romantically and they did a good job convincing me that they were “in this because they have to be.” But this time it wasn’t for kids, it was for work (thank God). But maybe I just saw myself in it.

Bonus: This movie gave me London Has Fallen level drama with the shoot em up kill em up scenes.

That said, I need to look up the directors and writers of this. But I will say this– I know every line from LHF and I will not hear anything about it sucking. Fight me. I feel the same way about this movie. Let me get me (be happy) seeing a Black woman tear some stuff up. Besides, who doesn’t appreciate high powered gun fight movie that ends with a Black woman on top whilst saving a Black child. Given the fact that it’s usually some hero white guy “saving the day,” that makes the film worth existence period.

That’s all folks.


Have you seen Proud Mary? Were the action scenes enough to keep you interested (because the script was trash)? Sound off in the comments!

Check out Dr. Marvette Lacy on Finding A Dissertation Topic

February 8, 2016, I went to my counseling appointment with a nice, white lady.

Nice, white lady: How was your weekend?

Marvette: It was okay. Didn’t do too much. Enjoyed some much needed alone time.

Nice, white lady: Oh, I thought you would’ve mentioned Beyonce’ at the Superbowl.

Marvette: Oh yeah, that was a cool surprise.

Nice, white lady: Why would she do that?

Marvette: *confused look*

Nice, white lady: Why would she support that terrorist organization? The Black Panthers! I was just meeting with a client whose father (that was a cop) was killed by the Black Panthers.

Collective sigh.


Read more:

Is It Too Late To Say…Sorry?

It’s the beginning of a new year and most folks have been repeating their, “New Year, New Me” mantras on social media for the past few weeks. New perspectives, new opportunities, new….friends?

Maybe. But does a new year mean it’s too late to address old hurt in your friendships?

If there’s one MAJOR lesson that I learned in 2017, it’s that it’s not too late to say, I’m sorry”. *insert Adele singing Hello*

Personally, those two words are some of the hardest for me to say. I never learned how to apologize as a child and it’s been ROUGH teaching myself how to do so as an adult. However, I know that not learning isn’t an excuse and I have to be more proactive about how I respond when I (un)intentionally hurt someone I care about.

So, with this in mind, I want to encourage you to right any wrongs that you may have carried over with you from 2017. Make amends and set yourself free. Lingering hurt only holds you (and others) back.

I wish you love, peace, and forgiveness in 2018!

Raven K.