Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. (http://www.susanodohertyauthor.com/) is a writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in the creative process. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Mama, Ph.D. She is the author of Getting Unstuck without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity (Seal, 2007). Her popular advice column for writers, "The Doctor is In," appears each Friday on Buzz, Balls & Hype.

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December 13, 2009
Last week, Public Agenda released a report exploring the reasons why only 20 percent of young adults at two-year institutions finish within three years, and only 40 percent at four-year colleges finish within six years. The study compares backgrounds and experiences of students who dropped out of school with those who have finished. The entire report is worth reading, but here are two excerpts that seemed particularly relevant for readers of this blog:
December 6, 2009
Our family spent the Thanksgiving break in Dublin. I thought about the discussions here while on a tour of Trinity College, when our guide pointed out a statue of the Reverend George Salmon, the college’s provost from 1888 to 1904. Salmon was infamous, he told us, for having announced that women would be let into the college “over my dead body.”
November 29, 2009
--My son, who turned 15 over the summer, is a great person, someone I would want to know even if we weren’t related. --Despite the difficult economic climate, my degree has enabled me to build a deeply satisfying practice, to work at a job that engages me and uses all of my skills and resources, and to do meaningful pro bono work with a very disadvantaged population. --I’m still friends with a number of people I went through graduate school with, and it’s a joy to see their careers and their children flourish.
November 22, 2009
As usual, I was fascinated by the responses to last week’s column. I am still looking for the place where I wrote, as “Anonymous” charges, that I “didn't like and continue not to like the fact that [my] alma mater went mixed.” I actually had no desire to attend a women’s college—that was my parents’ idea. I had a brother and no sisters, and two out of my four closest friends in high school were smart, decent, kindhearted boys. I enjoyed male energy, as I continue to do (fortunately, since I live with two men).
November 15, 2009
The undergraduate institution I attended went co-ed the year I matriculated. It had previously been an all-women’s college, the sister school to a nearby men’s university that began admitting women the same year.
November 8, 2009
Scott has a fascinating article in this week’s Inside Higher Ed News, about a proposed inquiry by the US Commission on Civil Rights into the admissions policies of private liberal arts colleges. The concern is that, in an effort to correct gender imbalances, these colleges favor applications by men. Such an inquiry sounds reasonable, but the proposed solution seems insane:
November 1, 2009
I was moved by a number of the responses to last week’s column. I find it really helpful when people share their stories, humanizing what is otherwise cold (though interesting) data and speculation. I felt, though, that several writers fell into traps which, because they’re all too common, I’d like to address here.
October 25, 2009
In this week’s Chronicle, Mary Ann Mason discusses reasons why relatively few students, especially women, opt to have children during the graduate school years. The entire essay is worth reading, but I was struck by one of the comments: “There's also the problem of isolation. Having a baby can be (not always -- but can be) very isolating, and so can graduate school.”
October 18, 2009
One of my clients has written a book that is about to be published. It is an excellent book -- beautifully written, with interwtined themes that reverberate long after the narrative ends. The book was recently reviewed in a distinguished publication with an online presence, and my client sent me a link to the review. It was outstandingly positive, the sort of review that makes you want to run out and buy the book, and I congratulated her heartily.
October 11, 2009
Reader Tekbek sent this article from ASEE Prism describing a study that examined students’ reactions to stereotypically “male” and “female” self-presentations. The authors found that male engineering students were less tolerant than other students of what are described as “female-typical speech styles,” in which the speaker admitted to difficulties or mistakes:

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