Outside of psychology, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a pretty big fan of Latin dance. I’ve done salsa for the last 5 or so years, and I’ve also had the opportunity to dance in clubs and bars across the country and around the world. Prior to the pandemic, I was looking forward to starting a hip-hop dance class. I’ll be signing up for one of those as soon as it’s safe to do so! That’ll be a little newer to me, but it’ll definitely be a lot of fun. Aside from dance, I’m a breakfast enthusiast, so I love finding new spots for brunch on the weekend. I also spend my weekends doing some recreational writing, so I try and save some of my mental energy for that after a long week of grad school stuff.
What period in the academic year do you enjoy or look forward to the most?
I’ll be honest with you: I like the summer because nobody is on campus, haha. More generally though, there’s just a sense of limitless possibilities that I get once the academic year is over. As a PhD student, it means you survived. It means you have the summer to recharge, get some sunshine, and regroup for the next academic year. Maybe it’s the little kid in me, but there will always be something special about the academic year ending and the summer beginning.
How has your identity affected your career?
Ha! A lot. I think one of the big reasons I tend to gravitate towards identity related research questions is because my identity, as a Nigerian American immigrant, has been a huge part of my lived experiences. That’s true for my journey in America in general as well as in the academy in particular. So, what’s really cool about this profession (to me), is that it gives me a formalized, rigorous way of testing my curiosity and intuitions about the world. I was puzzling over a lot of these questions long before I knew what a PhD was, which I think is true for a lot of people. I was curious about my experiences, and the experiences of those like me.
What do you want to grow in next?
I think this is a profession marked by a great deal of uncertainty. You work really hard on studies, grant proposals, journal submissions, etc., and sometimes you have very little, if anything, to show for the work that you put in. It just comes with the territory, although it can be a bit hard to adjust to early on. So, I definitely say that’s something I’m seeking to grow in as I progress deeper into my career. I don’t really think it gets easier, per se, you just develop a higher tolerance for it.
What is the best book you’ve read or TV show or movie you’ve watched recently?
Prior to the pandemic, I didn’t really watch many shows, BUT, I watched the first season of Never Have I Ever (it’s a new show, so there’s only one season out currently), and it was soooo stinkin’ good!! Mindy Kaling is an exceptionally talented artist and writer, and she tells the story of her life as an awkward, Indian-American high school girl growing up in California. That show gives me all the feels. We’re the same person, basically. She’s a little bit prettier though.