Academic Musings

Academia is Not a Meritocracy

Academia is not a meritocracy.

 (And here’s a dirty little secret : Neither is any other professional field).

You would think that smart people – especially social scientists – would have internalized this rudimentary kernel of truth.  But we haven’t. Continue reading “Academia is Not a Meritocracy”

Life Musings

The Beauty of Abandonment


I spoke with my father today, for perhaps four and a half minutes. After a bit of courteous small talk that revolved around the weather and summer plans, he rushed to get off the phone.  I’m not sure why.  I didn’t ask.  Perhaps he had company, an appointment or something pressing on his mind.  He might have been in physical pain.  As a survivor of a traumatic accident, my father has multiple health challenges.  Walking is profoundly difficult. Even sitting isn’t easy for him.

I’m not sure what reason he had for getting off the phone so quickly, but I can’t say I was surprised.  Our last call – about six months ago – was similarly brief.  I felt so many things in those four and a half minutes. Concern about his health. Happiness at hearing the warm, deep tones of his southern drawl.  Guilt over waiting so long to call.  Anger that he hadn’t called either.  And all the while, an anxious awareness of the awkward space between us.  Continue reading “The Beauty of Abandonment”

Life Musings

Self Care

This, after a long day of teaching, writing and errands.


I managed to get in 8 hours of rest, started my day with meditation, a smoothie (peach, superfood greens and chia) and Mooji. Met my minimum daily writing goal (30 minutes), picked up groceries, did the laundry, made delicious tapas for dinner and prepped for a talk I’m giving tomorrow. Grateful for my TAs, whose dedication and competence allow me manage my time effectively. Thanks to their help and collaboration, I was able to make progress on my research between teaching and office hours — a monumental feat.

There were things I didn’t cross off my to do list. Many things. But the day is done. Sleep, now. Merciful sleep.

Academic Musings, Life Musings

3 Lessons We Can Learn from Overcommitment

MeThis semester, I’m learning quite a lot about over-commitment. Over the past month or so, I gave three talks across the country while trying to find time to teach, run the Race, Ethnicity and Inequality workshop at SBU, mentor undergrads and graduate students, fulfill treasurer duties for SREM, handle service obligations, write peer reviews and make progress on several papers and the book project. Oh, and then there’s also the writing group I’m part of, and, gosh, everything else. Finances. Self-care. Family. Social life. Romance. Unexpected crises. SLEEP. Or rather, insomnia. I got very, very little sleep during the entire months of February and March. When I started feeling the ill effects on my health, I realized it was time to take a step back and recommit to my well-being.

Continue reading “3 Lessons We Can Learn from Overcommitment”