A Network of Scholars

How many of us can honestly say that we made it to where we are completely by ourselves? If you can, power to you. If you can’t, it’s ok, you’re not alone. Truth is, most of us acquired a little help along the way 😉.

By help, I’m speaking of people who have either pointed you in the right direction by serving as mentors or tutors. People who may have provided you with extra notes or invited you to a study session. Or even those who may have aided in the sharing of ideas that have cultivated knowledge and bettered your understanding of content. Yes, we all need a few of these people in our circle.


During my first semester in my Ph.D program, I was welcomed with a ton of weekly readings. Keep in mind that I was a full time student taking three courses at the time and EACH course had a reading list of about 5-8 chapters and articles PER WEEK 🙈. Exactly, by week three I was completely overwhelmed and after class that week I took a step that probably saved my sanity. I simply asked a few of my classmates how were they feeling about the course load? Upon expressing similar feelings, we decided to team up to tackle the weekly readings and we have been doing so ever since. They are indeed, my DREAM TEAM! 

Dream Team: n. A team of people perceived as the perfect combination for a particular purpose.

This Weeks Tip:

Do yourself a favor and establish a network of scholars, Your “DREAM TEAM.” Do so by identifying a group of allies who not only care about their own success but yours as well. While is it not their responsibility to make sure that you succeed, if you choose wisely, they will help keep you moving toward the direction of your goals. Within establishing these supportive networks make sure to identify a sole purpose of your collaboration to ensure accountability amongst all members.

Creating your Dream Team early on has multiple benefits. For one, it increases your sense of community, while it also ensures that you feel supported by others. Secondly, already having your preferred network of scholars allows for a better experience when selecting partners for conducting group projects for classes, collaborating on publications, preparing for qualifying exams, etc. Furthermore, doing so allows you to become familiar with how certain individuals operate, their productivity level, and allows you determine your compatibility with others. Trust me, all of this matters! 🔑 

Tips for Creating your Dream Team:

  1. Step outside of your comfort zone and network
  2. Identify individuals with varying skill sets and interests and invite them to join your team…Work within each other’s strengths and learn a few lessons from them along the way.
  3. Ensure that you don’t have any free riders…Make sure everyone understands that quality is required. We all have other obligations, but we are depending on each other, so no excuses!
  4. Establish a schedule and set deadlines in advance…Structure increases accountability and reduces stress and anxiety.
    1. Ex: For our weekly readings, we identified who would cover which readings at the beginning of the semester and set Sunday at 5pm as our deadline to post our weekly contributions/notes in our shared Dropbox. This allotted everyone adequate time to review the material at their convenience while preparing for classes.

Please be advised that the consolidation of notes suggested is to be used as a resource and is NOT to encourage bypassing weekly reading!!! Say this with me🗣: “this is a SUPPLEMENT not a SUBSTITUTE.” Personally, reading for me doesn’t take too long and honestly that’s where you’re permitted to learn for yourself. However, it’s the note taking process that takes me hours to complete. So only being obligated to take notes on one reading for each class per week saved me time, and allowed me more time to actually digest the content. Furthermore, having notes already prepared by trusted scholars on my Dream Team permitted me to have a quick review after my readings and granted me an opportunity to add my personal comments to their already existing notes when needed.

Keep in mind that the backstory example provided of the operations of my Dream Team is a depiction of what worked for us. Consult with members within your network to establish best practices for you all. 

Motivational Scripture

Proverbs 27:17- “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”





  1. Rev. Ector
    April 11, 2019 / 12:26 pm

    The only way I made it through my last two years of ministerial studies was by creating a dream team.

    • rachaeldmack
      April 24, 2019 / 1:50 pm

      Hi Rev. Ector,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is wonderful to see that creating a Dream Team was beneficial for you too. I hope all is well, and I thank you for your support.
      Much love,

  2. April 11, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    Beautifully written Racheal! I wish I had a dream team lol. I’m an online student so I don’t have the luxury. However, I do have a couple of good friends that encourage me and motivate me to keep pushing. Iron definitely sharpens iron. I don’t like to ask for help, but I am learning to trust others. You gave great tips and you wrote this post so eloquently. I am extremely proud of all of your success. Keep going. You got this girl!

    • rachaeldmack
      April 24, 2019 / 2:11 pm

      Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to read and to comment. If you are interested in potentially establishing a network amongst your online classmates, maybe consider emailing them and inviting them to a Skype session or a Google Hangout to develop rapport and a community online. Best wishes to you.

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