Office Hours: Michael J. Seaberry
Michael J. Seaberry
Curriculum Studies Ph.D. Student at Louisiana State University
What inspired you to attend grad school?
I was a medical school student in Rochester, New York. About seven months into medical school, I realized that I was not happy. The weather was crazy, the work was not as intriguing as I thought it would be, and I began to hit a depression that was not healthy. Suddenly, things became more evident than ever and I noticed most of my classmates, both white and people of color, were extremely racist, sexist, discriminatory, etc. with the patients that we saw. I decided that it would be best for me to leave this field and go to education where I can reach people before they become like those classmates.
Tell me about your proudest grad school moment. Why was it special for you?
This is difficult! I would say that my proudest moment was when I won the Charles Harrington Graduate Student Award. All of my professors of color sitting in a room congratulating me felt amazing. They are who I look up to and they noticed my work.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten while in grad school?
THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY. Take it as slowly as you need to. Learn what you want to and make this experience unique to you.
If you had to describe your Black grad experience with one song, which one would it be, and why?
"If You Dare" by Jazmine Sullivan
The entire song is about a person who doesn't see how amazing they are. She just wants them to sip a glass of wine, realize their potential, and fly! My Black grad experience has been just that. Friends have pushed me past what I thought my potential was to greater heights. They pushed me to publish two books, multiple journal articles, etc.
My favorite part is
"You're amazing, so am I
Let's dress us fancy and drink wine
Let's go crazy, don't be scared
Cause we can conquer the world, we can conquer the world
If you dare"
What has been your biggest obstacle in grad school? What strategies have you used to try to overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is definitely feeling adequate enough to sit with professors, scholars, researchers, etc.
I have sat with people who are literal EXPERTS at a particular topic.
I have to keep encouraging myself and telling myself that I, too, know this material and that I will one day get there.
Self motivation AND self care has gotten me through these moments.
What has this experience (pursuing a graduate degree) taught you about yourself?
That I am human. Honestly, it sounds weird, but I have been a perfectionist for so long that I never really had good feedback on my work. Grad school taught me that feedback is necessary and that my work will not be perfect. It hurt at first, but the notes are necessary for growth.
If you could go back to the first day of grad school, what advice would you give to yourself?
Like just calm down and take your time.
How do you think your identities have informed your graduate experience?
Whew! Being a gay Black male from Southern Louisiana has informed my worldview and, in turn, gave me the idea for my dissertation. I will be examining masculinity perceptions of high school Black males in urban school districts in Louisiana.
How do you intend to use your degree in the future?
My ultimate goal would be to travel and work with teachers and students on allowing various expressions of masculinity to flourish in the classroom. I don't see myself teaching in a classroom everyday or being a principal forever. I really just want to be free and teach others how to be free.
What’s something that you would tell someone who is interested in pursuing a similar path?
Do your research. Learn your craft. Take your time. Love yourself through it all. It's as 'simple' as that.
Feel free to reach out to Michael: email@example.com
Instagram: @the.social.exodus, @ExodusThePoet, and Facebook: Michael J. Seaberry