In academia, you focus so much on being a scholar that you may neglect other parts of yourself. Beyond it, you are someone’s friend, relative, mentor, you might also be an athlete, artist, parent, baker, etc. In addition to doing well academically, spending time on yourself holistically will improve your overall success. In my first 3 ½ years of graduate school, I was so concerned with becoming a professor after I graduated that I routinely turned down invitations to spend time with friends, family, and colleagues so I could work on a manuscript or some other project. I regret doing so. The academy will always be there but if you do not cultivate your relationships, build your hobbies, and foster your growth holistically, you will be unbalanced and likely unhappy. What is the point of reaching your academic goals if no one is there to celebrate with you? Or what if you spend all your time working dreaming of a break when you finally get one you do not know how to spend your time because you’re not used to it? Do not make the same mistake I made and put the academy before the rest of your life. Though there has been some progress, at its core, academia is still an oppressive space that takes more much from BIPOC students and scholars than it gives back. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not give all of yourself and time in academia to institutions that will not reciprocate.

Nelson O. O. Zounlome, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

NASEM- Ford Foundation Fellow

Herman B. Wells  Fellow