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I’m a book-loving, word nerd, so, of course, I majored in English as an undergrad. I spent as little time as possible in the English department, however, because I didn’t really belong. It wasn’t because I didn’t look like anyone else there. Being the only black person in the room has been my experience since I was 10, so that didn’t bother me. I just didn’t fit. I wasn’t like the other students, the professors, the TAs, anyone. I felt different, thought differently, expressed my opinions differently. I was uncomfortable there and made everyone else uncomfortable, too.

But I loved the work. …

I was incensed when WSJ writer Joseph Epstein recommended Dr. Jill Biden drop “Doctor” as an honorific, but I could relate.

I don’t mind if people don’t call me doctor, but it bothers me when people refuse to do so. Once I was at a university new student orientation event and the host introduced everyone as “Dr. So-and-so,” until she got to me. She simply said, “That’s Roshaunda.”

Mr. Epstein’s recommendation resurrected this memory and solidified the necessity of my current passion project.

I’m asking black women with doctorates to write about their doctoral journeys to publish them in an online collection. This project is a way for black women to write ourselves through a probably traumatic experience, a platform to make our experiences known, and an opportunity to help other black women avoid pitfalls and feel the strength of our collective journeys. …

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What’s your story?

Everyone has stories, lots of them. Stories from your childhood, stories about your children, stories of love, stories of loss. The women of the world have so many stories, and I want to collect and share them.

I have a publication on Medium called LELA. Currently, it’s just me telling my stories, but I am opening it up so you can tell your stories, too. will be a platform for everyday women, like you and me, to tell the stories of our lives, education, literacy, and art & creativity.

For this initial installment, I’m looking for your stories about 2020. …

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My journey to my doctorate entailed racism, isolation, and despair. I also had joys and triumphs, but as I talk to other black women with doctorates, our stories resonate. I started thinking it would be great to have a collection of our stories, so I Googled it and couldn’t really find anything. I found some very interesting looking dissertations and a smattering of articles, but I was looking for an anthology and couldn’t find one.

So I wondered if anyone else was interested in reading such a work. Or contributing to such a work. My big idea is to start a Medium publication anthologizing stories of how black women experience and navigate doctoral programs. …

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Our brains work differently in the middle of the night. I don’t know the science behind it, but I know reading and writing in the middle of the night affects my psyche differently than any other time of the day.

So today’s message is brief.

Capitalize on your altered brain function during those hours of the day. If you’re awake, write and read. See where it takes you.

* * *

Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and creator. She offers life coaching and writing coaching to educators, as well as other opportunities for educators to practice self care through reading and writing. Check out her LELA House website to learn more about her services. Roshaunda lives in St. …


Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D.

I’m owner and life writing coach at LELA House; lover of music, dance, nature and art; and founder of Sistahs on the Doctoral Journey (

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