Ph.D. Itch…

I have been out of my grad program for a total of 94 days and I am already yearning to climb back into academia.  This realization hit me the other day when I was driving back from Sonoma State on 101S.  Suddenly, like a quick shower in the middle of a hot, humid summer day, I realized that something was missing in my life.  I was not sure what it was, but there was a void.  Normally, someone would tend to fill this emptiness with a hobby.  Well for me over the past two years, my only hobbies have been reading about student development theory, writing papers, and doing class assignments.

Knowing that I will have lots of free time on my hands now, I am worried that the chasm will only increase.  I have been trying to fill the gap with television and movies that I have missed out on since being in graduate school.  I have tried to supplement the vast darkness with eating at new and interesting places in San Francisco.  I even considered season tickets to the Oakland Raiders.  Yes, those Oakland Raiders, one of the worst franchises in the NFL over the past decade.  However, my shows on USA will soon be ending, it is expensive to eat in SF, and I value my life too much to travel to Oakland to watch the Raiders suck.

My only solution, in my mind, has been to continue my studies.  I will not start this year, but I am going to start looking at programs on the West Coast and see what piques my interest.  I am not looking to leave my current job for at least three years so a part-time distance learning program is probably the route I would need to go.  Also, I am pretty sure my GRE scores are about to expire so the sooner I apply the better.

I have been thinking about what am I passionate enough to start another educational journey.  My answer has been a combination of functional area and student development.  I am interested in seeing if joining a traditionally White fraternity or sorority stunts White Racial Identity development in White individuals.  I was thinking about this lately while reading Guyland by Michael Kimmel and thinking about my own personal White Racial Identity development.  I struggled with my journey and did not really understand power and privilege.  It was through RA training programs and LeaderShape that I was better able to understand these concepts.  After college, I read Helms book and my eyes were really opened.

I feel that many White students who join traditionally White fraternities or sororities are kept stagnant in their White-identity development because these organizations are so homogeneous.  Even individuals who are from other races may identify as being “White” within these organizations.  If it was not for other experiences outside of my fraternal organization, I may not have progressed in my White development.

I feel this research could really help fraternity and sorority professionals in assisting these these students to talk about power and privilege and to promote their White-identity development.  Instead of a generation of White students who struggle with these concepts, we could develop new means to engage them in conversations about the importance of developing this identity, even though it is something almost all White people never thing about on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I will try to scratch my itch through other means.  I joined a wine club not too long ago, and I could afford to spend some time working out.  If the start of my Ph.D. does not work out for next year, well there is always wine business classes at Sonoma State I could take.  Thank you CSU for tuition remission!! 🙂

Until next time…



About Justin Sipes

Learner Input Strategic Achiever Analytical
This entry was posted in F/S Life, Ph.D., Student Affairs, Student Development. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ph.D. Itch…

  1. Kelly Jo says:

    Okay, I haven’t finished reading yet, but I HAD to comment on this– the RAIDERS? At least go with the 49ers. Both are a semblance of a hot mess right now, but at leas the 49ers seem to have a direction. I realize that this is not the point of this post. But I couldn’t let it pass without comment.

  2. Kelly Jo says:

    Now that I have finished reading, I’d say– give it time. You’re students haven’t even come back yet. You might find your motivation down a bit in the craziness of October or the dregs of February. Or if you’re me, the PhD program seems like such a good idea in theory, until it becomes time to write your personal statement. Mine has been sitting at “My current research interests are…” for literally two months. Though, I do love your thoughts on White Racial Identity. That could be some seriously interesting research.

  3. Tracey Rollins says:


    I am also planning on going back to school for my EdD – considering research on F/S at Canadian Schools.
    I am considering University of Calgary as their program is distance ed – I cannot afford to not be working.
    Let me know what schools you are considering.


    • jusip001 says:

      Thanks for the comment Tracey. I will have to look into the program at Calgary. I am still really in the beginning stages of the process and would love to share any information that I come across. I am in the same boat as you. I wish I could go full-time, once it is time, but bills will not allow me. 😦

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