When A “Mentor” Doesn’t Actually Give A S#!7 About You: A Black Woman’s Experience

This blog post is so powerful! As a brown woman in graduate school, I identify so much with this author! Please read!


I have held on to this blog post for 7 months. I wanted to publish it in May, but I’ve received several complaints and concerns about what posting would mean for me, my career, and my colleagues. And while I do care about my future, in the words and spirit of my spiritual mother Audre Lorde, my silence won’t protect or save me. My silence is complicit.I don’t respect fear and I should speak about what I’ve experienced. Additionally, the current climate at my institution and the climate of higher education around the U.S. has motivated and encouraged me.

Writing is cathartic. It is freeing. I wanted to write this several times and never found the words. I worried about my writing being too long or too boring. I worried about stepping on toes. I worried about everything except how writing has always been a way for me to cope…

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New Years Goals Update

  1. Find a better job.

I haven’t found a permanent job in my career field yet, but to be honest, I haven’t been searching all that hard recently. Not because there aren’t jobs available that I want to apply for, but because I had trouble finding time to apply to them. With my sister’s wedding coming fast at the end of this month, I’m purposefully putting this goal aside for now to concentrate more on helping her out. I’m hoping to restart the job search process in August.


I did get a temporary job in July as a Program Assistant for Duke TIP in FLORIDA. (Yay traveling!) I know what you’re thinking, “Becky, your last summer job at Duke was a struggle. What are you doing!?” I don’t know what this position holds for me. I want to come in positive and hopeful, but it’s difficult to keep negative experiences I had with Summer Session in the past. This is an entirely different department and set of programs; there are new people involved and I think that will make the difference. I’m also holding a position that does not have as many overwhelming responsibilities. I know this position will have its own challenges, but it’s nice to be working for an established program instead of a startup. We’ll see what happens.

So, goal 1 is not entirely accomplished, but I did find a better store to work at. I don’t know if I mentioned before how awful my first Starbucks store was. I do not work well in environments with hovering, micro-managing supervisors and my previous manager was a textbook case. Three months into the job, I was still learning and getting accustomed to everything being a barista entailed. I wasn’t making progress fast enough for my manager. She decided that I wasn’t working out and cut my hours accordingly. It was at her suggestion that I first thought about transferring stores and, boy, am I glad I did. My new store is the complete opposite of my previous store. There’s no atmosphere of “We’re watching you because you may or may not be doing something wrong.” There’s no harmful gossip or whistleblowing. In fact, I genuinely like the people I’m working with every day, including my managers, and some of them are becoming real friends to me. So I may still be a barista, but I do have a better job in a sense now that I’m at the best Starbucks in Raleigh.

Last week, we had a cookout for everyone at work and many partners showed up and brought food. We sang a lot of group karaoke together and got a little too tipsy. Then we played Cards Against Humanity and called it a night. It was a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.

My First “Grown-Up” Job

I’m writing from my dorm room on Duke University’s campus! I’m finally here starting my position as Dean of Residence Life for the Summer Session program. The past two weeks, I’ve been frantically trying to get a head start on some of the preparation. It’s amazing just how much planning needs to happen before the staff arrive, let alone the students. I still need to finish planning staff training, complete the training binders, and most importantly assign housing! I’ve never had to assign rooms to students before and it’s quite a daunting task. I’m really glad I have a friend from last year helping me as Resident Hall Director. I really like the other admin team members as well. I came into the office all last week and am beginning to get to know everyone. They are all really great and interesting people. We seem to be communicating well so far; hopefully, we keep that up!

It’s so weird having a “grown up” job. I have so much freedom to make decisions and use my own judgment. While that is liberating, since it is my first experience as a Dean of Res Life, I’m using every opportunity I can to ask for feedback from my peers. That’s another thing; I’m the youngest admin on the team, even some of my RAs older than I am, but people don’t seem to be holding that against me. I can honestly say that I’m being treated as a peer. I feel that for the first time in my life, I’m being treated as an adult, and I really like it. Although there is a lingering sense of I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing panic, I think that may be part of being an adult too, not being afraid to say you don’t know and asking for help. I really look forward to this summer because I know I’m going to grow a lot as a person and a professional. I will also get to work with friends from last year and Elon. Oh, by the way, did I mention I’m going to CHINA? Yeah, that’s happening.

Wish me luck,


Tatted Up

Readers, I forgot to mention that I got a tattoo last week! My sisters and I wanted to do something together that signified our commitment to each other. We may have been brought together by family, but we are choosing to stay together because we love each other.

Being apart from my eldest sister this past year has been really difficult for all of us. We had to get to know one another all over again during the past two weeks, but ultimately we are stronger in our relationship because of the challenges we faced together.

It took us forever to come to a consensus about what we wanted, how it would look, and where to place it. All of us had to compromise, but it was important that we all got the same thing. We decided on a lotus blossom for a number of reasons: (1) it’s the national flower of India, (2) it’s a symbol for purity, beauty, and flexibility, and (3) it’s really pretty. :)


We went to a place called Tattoo Bills in Charlotte, NC. They were really nice and accommodating. I highly recommend them! We decided to go in age order, so I went last. Before my experience, a lot of people told me that getting a tattoo doesn’t hurt all that much. A lot of people are liers! It hurt SO MUCH. It was like getting deeply scratched by a cat with really long nails. The memory of that pain will haunt me. Luckily, it didn’t take more than 10 minutes. It’s strange that permanently altering your appearance should take that little time and be such an easy process…you know, besides the excruciating pain.

I’m kind of a badass now, cause I’m tatted up. ;)