Why Are All The ____ Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?

Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?

Let me start off with the disclaimer that I read “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” by psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum so long ago that I don’t even remember reading it. Lol BUT I do know and understand what the book is about. After today’s observation though, I think it’s time for me to take it off the shelf and re-read this book about the development of racial identity.

This question, with a few slight changes to the demographic under examination, immediately popped into my mind today during lunch at orientation. (Side bar: Today was the first day of grad school orientation. Excitement! And yes it went extremely well. Thanks for asking! 🙂 ) By and large all the male members of my cohort were sitting together, all the female members of my cohort were sitting together, and all the international members of my cohort were grouped together.

As sociologists we study race, class, and gender and group processes but it doesn’t make us immune to re-creating these groups and categories amongst ourselves. Some may argue that in the 21st century the issue of color (class, gender, etc) ceases to exist or matters less but something as simple as where we sit or who we sit with at lunch illustrates that these issues aren’t so simple or extinct after all.

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Back to School Shopping (Part 1)

Tell me why I didn’t really think about the fact that I’ll need school supplies and books this fall. Smh. Sometimes my ability to overlook the obvious amazes me. I asked some friends who recently finished up their advanced degrees if I’d need like pens and notebooks, and can you believe they looked at me like I was crazy? I’m just saying. I haven’t been in school in a while and they might do something fancy in grad school. How am I supposed to know? Lol

So anyways I’m excited about back to school shopping because well it’s an excuse to shop and I’ve been on a no shopping diet since I’ve been in the midst of the big move cause as we know the cost of living is higher in the DMV. I’ve also been trying to solve the backpack quandary. Like back pack or satchel? Yes, I know that there are more pressing concerns in the universe but in my world this is uber important.

After consulting The Google about my school supply predicament here are the most recommended graduate school supplies:

  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Calendar/scheduler app
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drive
  • Dry erase board
  • Filing cabinet or a scanner so you can digitally store all that paperwork you were going to file
  • Digital recorder
  • Alcohol
  • Anti depressants

I’m not really a fan of popping pills so I guess alcohol it is for me. In related school supply searches look what I found.

OMG the cutest school bag ever!!!!! (had to stop myself from adding too many exclamation points) To say I want this bag is an understatement. Unfortunately this is so not in a graduate student’s budget. *sigh

I will be going school supply shopping very soon as school starts in less than 1 week. Eek!

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Pre. . .School

School doesn’t officially start for another 3 weeks but I’ve already been taking advantage of school related opportunities. A couple weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Add Health Conference. This two-day conference gave researchers using the Add Health data set a platform to present their findings and introduced new users to the study. Add Health, formally known as The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, is a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States during the 1994-95 school year. It is the largest study of its type, and the depth and breadth of the questions and data available is mind blowing. Throughout the years thousands of researchers have utilized the data resulting in over 1,000 research articles published in journals covering a variety of disciplines.

I’m not necessarily a quantitative person but you have to get excited about the magnitude of data and the possibilities for research. This study asked virtually every question you could ever imagine wanting data on ranging from personality traits and sexual behavior to parenting, neighborhood characteristics, sleep patterns and of course extensive demographic information.

Attending this conference gave me the opportunity to learn about this amazing study and see how researchers are using the data, meet other sociologists and academics from a range of disciplines, and observe different presentation styles.

Last week I attended Marry the Night: A Symposium on Queer Nightlife, a preconference to the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference. This was an especially fun conference as it was a bit more laid back than the Add Health Conference. In addition to more formal presentations of queer night world research ranging from the historical to contemporary, there was also dancing, drinking, and performances. Again I made some great contacts, experienced various presentation styles, and also saw a different approach to sociological research.

The plus side to being in the DMV is that there are so many resources. I’m definitely looking forward to attending more conferences and taking advantage of every opportunity available.

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The Statement of Intent

To help me remain calm in the hectic and nerve wrecking time between submitting graduate applications and waiting to hear a response, I would re-read my statement of intent. I felt like it was finally truly and wholly representative of me, that I had put my absolute best into this statement. I also knew that this would be my last time applying to grad school (for sociology at least), and I was 100% comfortable with that understanding because I knew I had put my best effort into my application package. If my best was not sufficient, then it meant it really was time to let go of my dream of becoming a sociologist. Believe me, it took a looonngg time for me to understand that just because I want something doesn’t mean it’s for me.

In years previous I had a laser-like focus on how I thought things should be or, rather, how I wanted them to be to the detriment of what could be. I had a very precise and narrow life planned out in my mind, but had my life only gone as planned I would have missed out on a level of depth, dimension, and experience that I never knew existed.

This time when I entered into the all too familiar waiting space between application deadline and the coveted acceptance letter I did so with a different mindset. Instead of being filled with dread and teetering on the edge of what would surely become neurosis, more than anything I was excited. Yes, self-doubt crept in from time to time, but for the majority of the waiting game I remained in and brought myself back to the exhilarating space of hope and uncertainty. See, I didn’t want to miss the unique experience of fully living in that particular moment. I knew I wouldn’t be able to completely enjoy whatever were to happen next if I didn’t completely “feel” what was happening right then.

My previous application to grad school was just a task on my checklist to happiness but I doubt I would’ve been happy at all. Happiness is in the moment-to-moment awareness.

So to stay focused on that moment in-between, that not knowing, I would re-read my statement. Happy in knowing that at that moment it was my best but that the best was still to come.

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Express Scribe

I’ve taught myself a lot of pretty un-useful stuff that seemed cool at the moment but teaching myself how to type has to be the best whim I’ve ever followed. But there’s a big difference between merely typing and transcribing. Transcribing is a distinct piece of evilness that only those who have tried it and fought with it can understand. But transcribing your own data is fulfilling. . .  in a rather sadistic way.

If you’re looking for a good transcription program I suggest Express Scribe. In the future there may be another transcription program recommendation but for now I really like Express Scribe. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share them below!

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