Movie Night!

Hello blogosphere! I hope everything is great in your world. I just wanted to give you all a quick update about a fantastic event that was hosted by my organization (Black Graduate Student Association). Through out the month of January the University MLK planning committee solicited student organizations to host movie nights, and BGSA was asked to show a movie and then facilitate a conversation afterwards. The movie we selected was Spike Lee’s epic film Do the Right Thing.

For those who haven’t seen the film, it takes place in the Bed-Stuy neighboorhood in Brooklyn and follows the experiences of a pizza delivery guy, Mookie (played by Spike Lee). The film highlights themes of racial tension and police brutality. We had the pleasure of Karen Bowdre, a professor in Culture and Communication facilitate the dialogue. The event was a tremendous success.

You all know I couldn’t leave you without the FREE TIP OF THE DAY. Which is seek to be a well rounded scholar by engaging in the arts and high culture. The arts encourages andsparks creativity. So as a grad student don’t be afraid to take in concert at the IU Auditorium or an independent film at the IU Cinema. It is not a waste of time, it is cultural enrichment. Until next time… peace and love.

To visit or not visit…that is the question

Hey friends it’s that time again. That’s right you guessed it. It is time for your FREE TIP OF THE DAY.

This week’s FTD is sponsored by our good friend Billy Shakespeare, who was so gracious as to provided us the wonderful existential quote from Hamlet that we’ve slightly modified and made way less morbid. So the time is coming (if not already here) for you to make a decision. You’ve applied and have been offered acceptance to several schools, and now you are making the decision as to whether to visit the school or not. How do you make the decision? Well I’m glad you asked.

The answer depends on several factors. The most important being financial, if you have the money (and time) I’d encourage you to visit as many schools as possible. There is nothing more helpful than to be on campus and to get the feel of the faculty, the city, and the students. But if you don’t have unlimited finances I encourage you to think strategically about where you can afford to go. Some institutions will offer “virtual visits,” take advantage of those visits and if you like what you see. Spend the cash and make the visit.

And this brings me to my FREE TIP OF THE DAY. Some universities have funds available to bring prospective students out for the weekend to visit. I’d encourage you to investigate both the program’s website as well as the university’s graduate school office. Don’t be afraid to call either. Most offices are looking to help you out. Take advantage of it.


New Years Resolution

Happy New Years Blogheads! Today’s FREE TIP OF THE DAY is very short and sweet. Don’t make new years resolutions, only resolve to live each day like it’s your last. Much love and peace.

Holiday Family Fun

Happy holidays to everyone! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I have been back in the wonderful state of Texas for a couple of weeks now, and I am feeling energized and refreshed. I just wanted to share our new family photos with you, my faithful blog readers. Thank you for your support!


PS – You know I couldn’t leave you with out the FREE TIP OF THE DAY. Today’s tip is appreciate your family, because at the end of the day. They are all you got. Also check out the making of our family photos by clicking here.

Remembering Rosa Parks

Hey friends! Today my blog post will be a little more somber than they usually are. Do not despair – there will be a FREE TIP OF THE DAY. However first I want  to take a second to talk about a historical figure that means a lot to me as an African American. Fifty-six years ago on December 1. Rosa Parks refuse to give up her seat to White passengers, and her act of defiance started a movement. I was surprised to find out that Rosa Parks was not the first woman arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus.

Nine months earlier a fifteen year old girl by the name of Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat. When asked to reflect on what inspired her to refuse to capitulate to systems of white supremacy. She simply responded, “I was thinking of the slavery fighters I had read about recently during Negro History Week in February. The spirit of Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth was in me. I didn’t get up.” She was arrested and taken to jail. But in doing so I believe that her actions inspired Rosa Parks, who served as Colvin’s friend and mentor.

So my FREE TIP OF THE DAY is a simple one. Stand up for what you believe in even if initially you stand alone.  The youtube video above features my colleague, Carl Darnell, the organizer of the commemoration. When he initially brought up the idea for the commemoration no one was on board, but he carried on rallied support and started an amazing event. So friends I encourage you to go out and be the change you wish to see.

Thanksgiving Celebration

For 28 years of my life I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Texas at my grandmother’s house. Last year was the first time I EVER spent Thanksgiving away from home. It was a great experience. This year I did the same. I spent it in Tennessee with my significant other, and we went to this wonderful place call SWIRLS.

It is BYOB painting, and I absolutely love it. They provide you with wine glasses, canvas, and paint. Then during the course of about two hours you they take you step by step through a painting. I constructed the master piece below. The whole session was very relaxing… And this brings me to my FREE TIP OF THE DAY.

The tip for today is take time to relax. The pressures of being a grad student often times can leave you feeling as though you can’t take time for yourself, but you have to. If you don’t your body will break down, and then you will have to stop. That’s all I got for today friends… take care (literally).

I ‘Recommend’ you check me out

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Hey friends! Can you believe it’s November already? I can’t. I realized today that we are more than half way through the semester, which means that these next few weeks are going to be chocked full of reading, writing and CAFFEINE. But before they get too crazy… let me break you off with the… FREE TIPS OF THE DAY! (That’s right people I said tipS… plural… you’re welcome). Today’s tips are about everyone’s favorite thing… Recommendation letters. 

1. Follow instructions: If the school you are applying to asks for a letter of recommendation from a faculty member then be sure to provide a letter from a faculty member. I used to be an admissions counselor and nothing made me angrier than when students tried to go “above and beyond” – providing 70 rec letters when we only asked for three. Generally I would throw away 67 and keep only three. The idea is to do only what is asked and do it well. Coincidentally this brings me to my second tip.

2. Quality NOT quantity: Recommendation letters give programs the opportunity to how others in your sphere of influence perceive you. Choose people that know you AND can articulate your strengths well.

3. Give your recommender three weeks and a resume: Typically three weeks is plenty of time to write the recommendation. The resume helps emphasize your strong suits as an applicant. It also shows thoughtfulness and fore planning on your part.

4. Give the recommender an early deadline: We know that people are busy and sometimes things slip their mind. So I would encourage you to give your recommender a deadline that falls at least a week or two before the application information is due. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Finally…

5.  Send thank you notes: People love to be recognized for the selfless work they do. So be classy and send a note.

Well folks that’s all the tips I got for today. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and let me know think or if you have any suggestions of your own to add to my wonderful list. Have a great week!

DEMA Fall Reception

What’s up bloggers? It’s that time again. You may be asking yourself the question: “Time for what J.T.?” Well I’m glad you asked. It is time for my FREE TIP OF THE DAY. And today’s tip is sponsored by… The Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs or DEMA for short.

This past Wednesday I attended a Fall Reception hosted by DEMA in IU Art Museum, and it was PHENOMENAL! It was great to be surrounded by such a diverse group of scholars (students, faculty and staff). It also helped that they served delicious foods and beverages all for free. I was able to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. Conveniently I also ran into a former emissary, and the FREE TIP OF THE DAY  comes from her. Check out the video below…


Only a month late…

So obviously the school year is off and running. Briefly let me tell y’all what’s going on in my life AND give you a FREE TIP OF THE DAY about grad school survival.

This first month of school has been very crazy. For the Higher Education and Student Affairs PhD program you have to take courses outside your major. Being the adventurous person that I am I decided to take a Religious Studies class, and it is a very demanding course. Just to give you an idea of how demanding the course is, I have spent about 14 hours over the past two days reading and reflecting on the text for the class (see picture below).

This brings me to my FREE TIP OF THE DAY: do not blindly take any course, ever. This is what I did. Over the summer during registration I thought to myself, “hmm… this course looks interesting I’ll sign up for it.” If you ever have that inclination, raise your hand then slap yourself in the face. As soon as you recover talk to people in your department both faculty and classmates. At the very least, you should email the professor teaching the course to make sure it will provide you with what you are looking for academically

The same principle applies when you are looking at grad schools. This month is our annual event called Getting You into IU (GUI2IU). That event gives you the opportunity to check out IU, and see if this is a great place for you. So come and check us out!

Books for the semester

Light reading on a Sunday afternoon =)


BGSA Kickoff Event*

Hello blogosphere! I’m back with a quick post. This year I am serving as President of the Black Graduate Student Association, an organization focused on the social, educational, and political uplift of Black students (and allies) at Indiana University. We had our kick off event a couple weeks ago and I wanted to share a few photos from the event. Enjoy!


PS – FREE TIP OF THE DAY is take a deep breath… relax… and have fun! You only live once =)

*This entry has been back dated. The first post was the entry titled “Only a month late”