SOC309 – PhD’s Guide to Relationships


It’s almost the most romantic day of the year – good ol’ V-Day. While the gang has looked at family and romantic relationships from a sociological perspective, we’re taking an inner deep dive into ourselves this week with a PhD’s Guide to Relationships! Graduate school is a weirdly autonomous yet lonely time, so this week we discuss our experiences with managing romantic and platonic relationships while balancing a full course load, TA/GAships, and of course, writing a dissertation. Tune in to see how we do it and remember, you’re not alone!


Relationships, romance, friendship, graduate school


Here are the tips we covered this episode that we’ve found particularly helpful in our own lives. Hope they are for you, too!

  1. Find a person that is equally busy and tired. No explanation needed– you’re both tired and just happy to grab a bite to eat together every now and then.
  2. Communicate how busy you are! Explain to loved ones that you’re crazy busy, and give them actual concrete examples, like, “Sorry I’d love to, but I have 2 books to read, one response and a bunch of grading to complete by Monday.” Just saying, “I’m busy, I can’t,” can make it seem like you’re using school as an excuse to avoid them, rather than it being a real issue that’s getting in the way of you spending time with them.
  3. Purposefully make time for them. REAL ASS TIME, QUALITY TIME– not time where you’re staring into the screen of your phone or computer 50% of the time. Try not to be distracted and enjoy your time with your fam, BFF, or significant other. Another tip to this is to schedule a routine time for that person.
  4. Talk to them about your research! Don’t bore them or use them as a test audience for your next conference presentation, but try to include them in what your brain is consumed with right now. Plus they might make some poignant observations that you can use! 
  5. Invite them to your grad student events. In Hawaii, we have beach days and BBQs where we gather, eat, drink, gossip, and play with our dogs. Bring your partner, friend, parent, sibling, or whoever! This will give them a glimpse into and appreciation for your grad school existence.
  6. Understand that every relationship requires work. It’s a two-way street baby, and you both need to give, so you can take. So, do your part and make sure your other half is doing theirs. Hold each other accountable!

Quick breaks:

SOC210 – PhD’s Guide to Research Ethics


This week, we’re bringing the PhD’s Guide series back to cover research ethics! Nowadays, researchers must carefully balance the potential knowledge a study can collect with the potential harm they may cause to the people participating in studies. But that definitely hasn’t always been the case! The treatment of Henrietta Lacks and studies like The Tearoom Trade are perfect examples of research ethics gone wrong. Tune in to learn more, and check out our website ( to read about the various studies we discussed in the episode.


  1. What do we mean by research ethics?
    • Ethics is concerned with issues of right and wrong, the choices that people make, and how they justify them. Research ethics is a balance of potential knowledge – the goal is to increase knowledge – and potential harm – the goal is to minimize or eliminate harm. (Paraphrased from George Ritzer’s textbook, Introduction to Sociology)
  2. The American Sociological Association’s blurb about ethics in sociology
  3. A relevant earlier episode that has to do with ethics is our PhD’s Guide to Research Methodology, which you can listen to here!
  4. We discussed how living in poverty can change a person’s brain, which is discussed really well in this article by Tara Garcia Mathewson in The Atlantic titled, “How Poverty Changes the Brain
  5. We talk about the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) on our “Obedience, Whaddup?” episode, which you can find here:
  6. Some informative sources on the Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiment
  7. “On the Run” by Alice Goffman-which Ellen and Omar are fans of regardless of da haters!
  8. Critiques of Goffman’s book, which are worth a read:
  9. We also mentioned lack of privacy and consent in the Laud Humphrey’s study The Tearoom Trade
  10. “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
  11. Trump serving Clemson athletes fast food at the White House
  12. “Massive Fornite Security Breach Allowed Hackers to Take Over Accounts” from WTHR published Jan 17, 2019.