How To Write A Research Question

First, figure out:

Topic: What is the general thing you want to talk about?

Problem: What issue will you research address?

Purpose: What will be the point of your research project and how does it connect to the problem?

Once you know those two things, then you can write your main research question. Some other things that you can do to figure out your first question:

  1. Get all of the thoughts out of your head. Take a brain dump, either writing, talking to someone, or recording yourself. You want to say or write everything that you are thinking in relation to your topic. This will help get clear and to focus down on your topic.
  2. Read existing literature. You have to know what has already been done regarding your topic. What have other people found? If there is nothing, what does that mean? WARNING: Please don’t get stuck here. Using reading as an excuse will hinder your progress. [CONNECT ARTICLE]
  3. What is your time frame and capacity with this project? How much time do you have? Is this a project that you can do alone or will you need others? There is more time to do more research projects, however, let’s get this one done first.

Need help writing your research question? Share it in the comments or email me at and I’ll give you feedback on it.

Naturally Surviving: TJ

Program: College Student Affairs Administration at UGA
Year In Program: 2nd
Where can people find you (website, social media, etc.): I am TerahJay on any and all social media where I want to be found haha! (Twitter, IG) and
Words of advice/helpful information:
It’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

My Institution Betrayed Me After My Boyfriend Attempted Suicide – Part 1

Trigger Warning: This post involves descriptions of emotional abuse, suicide attempts, and negative interactions with police and college administrators.

“In time, you will see that this was all some misunderstanding. The three of us will sit down and talk this out. We just need a mediation. You need to still do your job as you signed a contract and when he gets back to school, it will all work out.”

Friday Afternoon

It is the middle of May, a few weeks before the end of the spring term. I’m currently sitting in the Executive Director of Residence Life’s office. I asked her, moments before if I could leave my position as Resident Assistant (RA) early as I no longer felt safe at school.

I went to a small, private, liberal arts institution for my undergraduate work and was the typical student leader. Meaning: I was doing way too much and being tokenized way too often. Different story for another day.

Being an (RA) was one of my many positions I enjoyed my college experience. Looking back, there was also moments, like this one, where my body screamed from the inside and my mind did not have the language to express those feelings.

The Friday before this Monday morning conversation, I was working at one of my on-campus position as an Office Assistant. I received a call from my ex-boyfriend (let’s call him Frank); we ended things about three weeks prior. There is a longer version of this story, I will just begin at this point.

Please Come Over And Talk

Frank asked me to come to his apartment after work to talk with him about his future plans. Graduation was coming up for both of us and we were trying to figure out our next steps. Frank was prior military and was considering returning after graduation. He asked if I would come over and talk it through with him.

I asked him to meet me in a public place as I was somewhat uneasy about meeting him in his apartment. Frank made up some excuse as to why he couldn’t leave; something about waiting for the ‘cable guy’. I told him I would come but only for a few minutes.

I told two of my sorority sisters where I was going and if they did not see or hear from me in an hour, to come and get me from the apartment. We all did a nervous laugh (half joking/half serious) before parting ways. Five minutes later, I was knocking on Frank’s door.

The Talk

We had some small talk for the first ten minutes or so. We hadn’t spoken to each other in almost a month. Frank did vaguely talk about going back to the Army and what that would entail. He had a 2-year-old daughter and wanted to make sure he was doing the best thing for her.

About 45 minutes into the conversation, the energy shifted. Frank wanted to know why we broke up and why I no longer wanted to be with him. I tried to be direct and concise with my answers to avoid getting too emotional. I reminded him that I did not come to discuss our relationship and would have to leave if he continued.

Frank stated that I could leave after he showed me the gift that he got me. I told him he could show it to me another time and in a public place. I had this feeling in my stomach that this was no longer safe and that I had to get out immediately.

Shit Got Real

When I tried to leave, Frank blocked the door with his body while pushing me out of the way. It felt like a movie. Here I am in six-inch heels (it was undergrad/I was young) trying to run from the front door to the back door attempting to get out. I started to panic on the inside.

“Just let me show you what I got you and you can leave.”


Frank goes into his bedroom. (Side note: The doors locked from the inside with a key and he took the key with him. So I could not leave. I know what you’re thinking.)

He comes back out with a small white plastic bag with a small white box.

“Okay, thank you. Let me leave now.” I did not open any of this.

“I got you an engagement ring, don’t you want to see it?”


“I want to marry you! You don’t even care?”

“Nope, I just want to leave.” (If you know me, then you know it came out just like this.)

He then tore open the bag, grabbing a small rusty razor blade and violently thrusting towards his wrist.

“Is this what you want? I’m prepared to kill myself.”

For what seemed like an eternity, I struggled with him trying to get the razor from him. Frank kept insisting that he need to cut himself since I no longer cared about him.

Attempting Suicide

I eventually stopped trying to stop him. I managed to grab my phone (remember flip phones) and pressed the call button. The phone automatically dialed the last number on my list, which was a sorority sister. I left the phone open as long as possible so that she could hear what was going on.

I also noticed that every time Frank attempted to cut himself, it did not work. The blade was too dull. He tried pushing harder and harder. As he pressed the blade into his skin, he gave me this burning look. “Is this what you want? You not gon try and stop me?”

To which I replied simply, “Nope. You want to kill yourself, go ahead and do it.”

The Escape – Institutional Betrayal #1

Somehow I was able to get out of the back door. I ran down three flights of stairs (yep, still in my 6-inch heels). He followed me until he saw that other people were outside.

I called 9-1-1 and told them what happen.

“Is this a joke? You seem really calm so I have to ask if this is for real?”

“What?! Yes, it is for real.”

“Someone will be there shortly. Oh, I think I hear the sirens. You should be okay now.”


A few minutes later, the police, fire trucks, and ambulance arrived. A police officer (appeared to be a young white man) came to me to ask me what happened.

Laughing, “He tried to cut himself with a razor but it was too dull?”

Other police officers went to get him and brought him out in cuffs.

My sorority sisters finally showed up.

The Aftermath – Institutional Betrayal #2

Frank was placed on a 5150, a 72-hour hold at the local hospital.

That was Friday.

On Monday, I asked to speak with the Executive Director of Residence Life.

She was well aware of the situation as she was briefed during the emergency meeting held over the weekend.

I explained to her that I no longer felt safe. That I was still in shock about the whole incident.

I did not think I would be able to focus on my classes or my Housing responsibilities.

I was scared and just wanted to go home.

I wasn’t crying.

I wasn’t yelling.

I probably appeared emotionless.

I didn’t show typical reactions to trauma.

She told me that I was fine.

“In time, you will see that this was all some misunderstanding. The three of us will sit down and talk this out. We just need a mediation. You need to still do your job as you signed a contract and when he gets back to school, it will all work out.”

That conversation did more damage to me than being trapped in the apartment.

I realized that there was nowhere safe to go.

No one I could trust.

I realized that no one believed me. That no one wanted to see what was happening. Two of their students needed help. It was not going to just blow over. Things were not going to be normal again.

There is a second part of this story. It involves a plan for a mass shooting, a police interrogation, and me having an additional year of classes. I will work on it for next time as this is already longer than I anticipated.

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading.

How To Feel Better In Your Relationships

The hard truth!

You do not have control over other people!

But Marvette, I don’t try to control others.

Let see…

If you are doing things, giving things, saying things to get other people to smile, to make them happy, you are trying to control them.

But is that bad?

Depends…why are you doing it?

Is it to seek the approval of others?

Is that the only way you can feel good about yourself?

What happens if you worked really hard trying to find the perfect gift for your boyfriend. You go to 10 different stores in 3 different shopping malls. When you finally find it, you have to stand in line for 3 hours. You go home and spend another hour wrapping it.

The big day comes for you to give him the gift, you’re so excited. He opens the gift, looks at you, kisses you on the cheek, and says a simple, “thank you.”

How would you feel?

Would it bother you?

Would you be angry, hurt, upset that it didn’t seem like he cared about how much time and effort you put into that gift?

Does he even appreciate you?

This can leave you feeling used and unappreciated.

What if this is something that happened all of the time in your relationship?

You may feel miserable and just feel like giving up doing anything for him or your relationship. No cleaning.

No cooking.

No sex.

No just thinking about you cards or gifts.

You may start to look for someone else who will appreciate you and your work.

You start to fight more and more with your boyfriend. Which may increase you wanting to find someone else.

At the core of it, you are just unhappy in your relationship; wondering why this man doesn’t care enough to put in ANY effort into this relationship.

Friend, it doesn’t matter what you do or say, there is NOTHING that can make a person do something or change but them deciding to do it.

There is no perfect thing that you can do or say that will change it.

So how do you feel better?

You have to first accept that you cannot control another person.

Take some time to think about what you do want.

Let’s say he did change, how would you know? What would he be doing? Is it bringing you flowers every day? Taking you on trips? Telling you he loves you more? What do you want him to do?

Tell him what you want him to do.

Tell him what you like because no one can read your mind. Don’t have an attitude, just tell him exactly what you want. Try not to say things like, “I just want you to show me more love.” Instead, say things like, “I want you to take me out at least once a week.” “I like when you bring me flowers.” This is clear instruction of what you want. There is no guessing involved.

Give it some time and be patient.

You have been stewing in your feelings for a while. Your boyfriend just found out that you were unhappy and what you need. You have to be patient and give it some time to change.

In the meantime, satisfy your own needs.

Take yourself out. Buy yourself some flowers. Enjoy a movie. Buy yourself some lingerie. Treat yourself how you want others to take care of you.

Your boyfriend will notice. It will send a clear message of what you expect and need. You’re not waiting for him to give it to you. He will have to work at this relationship if he wants to keep you.

*Side Note: If you taking care of yourself makes him upset or lash out, this is too helpful information. It’s understandable that you may have money to do some things. However, it is not a crime to do things for yourself. Especially, if it doesn’t cost money. Taking a long bath or watching a movie alone is not a crime. You are allowed to give to yourself. If he cannot support that, you may have to consider if this is the right relationship for you.

Where you will get stuck…

You don’t want to do the things someone else should be doing. This is a limiting belief. You are waiting for someone else to come and save you and make you happy. Why are you giving your power away?!

You can only control yourself and you have the power to make yourself happy.

Want more information? Click here to join my challenge.

How To Be Happy Being Single

My good friend, Joan, talks about how she learned how to be happy being single. Joan talks about the importance of taking the time to learn about yourself and loving yourself before anyone else can do it. She took the time to do just that and now Joan is in a happy and healthy relationship with a great, loving man.

Got Boundaries? 5 Signs You Need Boundaries

So many times, I hear:

boundaries-2 Why does this keep happening to me?
Why do I have so bad luck in relationships?
Why is it so hard to find someone to love and for them to love me?

If you have repeated this in your life (over and over again), then you need to take a look at your boundaries within your relationship.

Boundaries are simply the border or the lines that separate you from another person that you are in a relationship with.

Boundaries communicate to other people about what you like, what you don’t like, what you tolerate, and what you absolutely will not take.

Simply, boundaries let other people know how to treat you.

Do you know how you like to be treated?

Boundaries do not mean that you are being mean or trying to control another person. You are simply letting people know how you operate and what kind of person is worthy of being in your life.

Yes! You are worth it! boundaries

You have the right and get to decide who is good enough to be in your life.

You are the best person to take care of you. And at the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for your well-being.

Still not convinced?

Here are some signs that you may need (better) boundaries:

You have the constant need to fix something or someone
You stay in relationships or situations that you are not happy or unsatisfied with
You are constantly worried about the future
You feel obligated to help other people out
You are indecisive about relationships
You apologize constantly if you are unable to do something for another person
You feel jealous if your friends or partners have outside relationships
You always need to be around another person

Are any of these signs showing up in your life? Let me know in the comments!



“Her Hob Is Not to Make Herself Likeable”: Adichie’s Powerful Essay on Raising a Feminist Daughter by Ishita Sengupta

“Her job is not to make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people…Please do not ever put this pressure on your daughter. We teach girls to be likeable, to be nice, to be false. And we do not teach boys the same. This is dangerous. Many sexual predators have capitalized on this. Many girls remain silent when abused because they want to be nice. Many girls spend too much time trying to be ‘nice’ to people who do them harm. Many girls think of the ‘feelings’ of those who are hurting them. This is the catastrophic consequence of likeability.” (DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS)


Read the full article here.

“I Thought It Was Over!”: 5 Things No One Tells You About Being Raped

The assault has happened.

The initial shock has come and gone.
You are attempting to regain some sense of normalcy. But, it is difficult.
Even impossible.
Or maybe years have passed.
Like in my case, the violence happened in my childhood.
Family and friends may not understand.
They may have gone back to their normal lives.
Unaware of how difficult things are for you.

What do you mean by sexual violence?

Side note, I will mostly talk about childhood sexual abuse. However, I want to be clear that the things I will describe can apply to all victims of sexual violence.

The American Psychological Association defines sexual abuse as “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.”

In The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, they provide the following examples of sexual violence:
• Fondled, kissed, or held for sexual gratification
• Forced to perform oral sex  courage
• Raped or otherwise penetrated
• Made to watch sexual acts
• Subjected to excessive talk about sex
• Fondled or hurt genitally while being bathed
• Subjected to unnecessary medical treatments that satisfied an adult’s sexual needs
• Shown sexual moves or other pornography
• Made to pose for seductive or sexual photographs
• Forced into child prostitution or pornography
• Forced to take part in ritualized abuse in which you were physically, psychologically, or sexually tortured

This can be difficult to wrap your mind around at first.
If the abuse is a new discovery for you, it may be even tougher.
It is an important first step in acknowledging what has happened.
Only after acknowledging can move on to healing.
I too thought I could skip this step.
After all, I had no problems saying out loud that was sexually abused as a child.
However, my problem was being able to allow myself to feel the emotions that came with the realization of being molested.
I did not know how it affected me until I begin to do more reading and counseling.


There are many symptoms or consequences that stem from sexual abuse.
Even if you do not remember it happening or you do not think it has had an effect on you, like I did, there are still some common signs to watch out for.


Simply put, shame is the belief that “I’m not good enough.” If people knew the real you, they would leave you. It’s being overly critical of everything and everyone, most of all being critical of you. You blame yourself for what happened to you. “If only I ______”, repeats in your mind constantly. You pick fights with people. You want to end it before they can leave you. You may believe that you don’t deserve anything good happening in your life. If a relationship or work is going well, it’s hard to believe it. You may even unconsciously sabotage it in order to avoid the pain in the future.


Shame also includes perfectionism. Your ultimate fear is making a mistake and being called out for it. You can never screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-6-35-12-pmbe or do anything that is wrong or that would make others look at you negatively. There may be a constant obsession over projects, replaying conversations in your mind, wondering if you said the right thing? Did someone not like what you said or how you said it? You work really hard to look the right way or say the right things. You often feel that the people around you don’t know you or understand you. There are no real close relationships in your life.


Shame also leads to codependent behavior and relationships. You will sacrifice your codependencyneeds in order to help someone else. It may be difficult to trust yourself. You have trouble knowing your personal strengths, interests, dreams, or emotions. However, it is easy to understand and identify those things in others. You often are unaware or ignore your body (hunger, tiredness, fear, pain). However, you do whatever it takes to meet those same needs in other people. For you, it’s more about being a good person who supports and cares for others. It doesn’t seem like a bad thing.


There is a lot of time where you isolate yourself. You rather spend time alone and away from other people. You get a break from thinking and obsessing when you are alone. There is no one there to please but you. You often have a hard time feeling good, like everything is going to be okay. It is difficult to get motivated or stick to anything. You may even hurt yourself, like cutting, to feel alive. You feel disconnected, dead inside. Your only emotions are really sadness, anxiety, fear, and rage. There are panic attacks and nightmares that sneak up on you. Everyone just tells you to snap out of it and be more grateful.your-fault

Repeating Abuse

Your (subconscious) mind is constant reliving the trauma, trying to understand it and fix it. This may cause you to place yourself in dangerous situations, trying to accomplish accidental suicide. Your relationships are abusive in some way, subconsciously hoping you can fix it, change it, or that you deserve it. You may struggle with addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, eating disorders, and accomplishments (perfectionism). You may never have any sexual desires or you may overly engage in sexual activity. You may even begin to abuse others in some way. It’s a way to feel less powerless.


These things and more consume your life on a daily basis.

Some people are able to hide it better than others.
It’s not your fault.
It doesn’t have to stay the same.
It can change.
What are your reactions? Let me know in the comments

Rape Culture is Endemic

What is rape?rape-culture-is-endemic2

What does it mean?

How do you know it has happened?

The other day, I was watching a YouTube video of a “famous” YouTube star explaining why she had broken up with her boyfriend again.

In the midst of this explanation, she talked about hanging out with friends at her house after a night out. Because she had consumed alcohol, she blacked out for the whole night.

In the morning, she felt off. One of her friends explained that he and her “hooked up”. As she did not feel comfortable with this, she said nothing to the friend or to no one else.

As she explained this story, she was very apologetic and blamed herself for the incident. Her boyfriend also broke up with her because of this.

Watching this video made me uncomfortable and angry. I screamed at the laptop screen, YOU WERE RAPED!

It’s unfortunate that because of how endemic rape culture is, this young woman did not know what happened to her should not have happened. The reason that she felt uncomfortable was because she did not make the decision to “hook up”.

If you don’t give permission,

If you are not conscious,

You were raped.

It doesn’t matter what you had to drink

What you wore that day

How flirty you were acting

If you had sex before

If you did not give consent or could not give consent, it was not your choice.

You were raped!