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Terp Writer's Corner - AJ Cade '17 and 'Your New Journey'

Terp Writer's Corner - AJ Cade '17 and 'Your New Journey'

AJ Cade '17 and his new book 'Your New Journey'

By Noor Qureshi '25

AJ Cade ‘17, author of “Your New Journey: How to Thrive in Graduate School as a Person of Color”, was inspired by his son to write this book and show him and other aspiring graduate school attendees that not only is it possible to attend, but that it is possible to thrive and succeed. He also wanted to be able to serve as a resource for all things grad school for those who might not have access to those resources themselves. Read on to learn about AJ Cade, his book, and more!

Describe your book.

'Your New Journey' is a how-to guide for people from any of the underrepresented communities of academia. It details nearly everything you need to know so you can thrive.

Who or What has been your inspiration?

My children. My eldest told me he wanted to complete a doctorate one day, but he was concerned because nobody in our family had one and he did not personally know a Black person with a Ph.D. Simply telling him about a few notable Black people with PhDs was not enough for him, and he started to waver on his goals almost as soon as he spoke about them. Shortly after our conversation, I began applying for Ph.D. programs to demonstrate to him that Black men can and do earn them. Whenever I doubt myself I think of what it will teach my kids and push forward with more tenacity. Thus, my first book was born out of the idea of what information I want to pass on to children like my own who want to pursue a graduate degree but do not know anyone with one who can help them.

What is the #1 item you want people to take away from your story?

I mention this a bit in my book, 'Your New Journey', and that is you need a strong support network. Whether that be family, friends, pets, or people you communicate with solely online. You need to find people who support you throughout your life. With a strong support network, you can accomplish almost anything.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Do not be afraid of a blank page. Sometimes you have to start writing a bunch of nonsense just to get things out of your head, and you can always go back and delete it all later. Just write and see where the process takes you.

What book is on your nightstand right now?

Michael Harriot’s, “Black AF History”. I just started reading it, and I plan to let my eldest read it once I am finished.

What is your favorite book?

I have too many to name just one. Even genre-specific I could only give a top ten that are all tied with one another in most genres. However, if I had to name just one, I would say my forthcoming book tentatively titled “Death or Victory: The Louisiana Native Guards and the Transformation of New Orleans’ Black Society during the Civil War”. I picked that one as I know it will change the Civil War historiography once published.

What do you do in your non-writing free time?

I spend time with my family, namely my four children. I dedicate everything I do to them.

What is your favorite alumni event or experience?

Having a professor like Mike Ross take time out of his schedule to help me finish my doctorate was wonderful. I am thankful for him and everyone in the history department who was willing to help me along on my journey.

As a student, what was your favorite spot on campus?

The gym. As a retired Marine, the gym at UMD was the best place to rehabilitate and exercise which kept my head clear throughout my studies there.

What's your Fearless Idea?

I started a business and declared myself “America’s Historian.” If you go to my webpage you will see what I mean. My Fearless Idea is to make that declaration a reality, long before I retire.


Publication of this article does not imply an endorsement by the Alumni Association.


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