black woman posing for graduation photo

Accidental Academic: My Experience In Grad School

IIf you saw the comment thread on my May Goals post, you would know that I’m getting a master’s in higher education. Plot twist: I’m not a teacher.

Here’s what I think about my (almost) year in grad school so far.

This is part two of my post on grad school. Kelli, the talented writer over at Unkajed Thoughts had some questions about what my experience in grad school has been like, so I thought that deserved a post of its own. You can read part one here. Continue reading “Accidental Academic: My Experience In Grad School”

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two black women in graduation clothes

Accidental Academic: How I Got to Grad School

TThe inspiration for this post came from a conversation I had with Ali of As Told By Ali, when I got all excited about her post about wanting to start grad school. You can read her post here.

I speak often about being a grad student because it’s an experience that’s influencing my whole life. My future, because I’m grateful to be in grad school after being underemployed. My finances, because I’m hella broke. My time, because it takes up so much of it. And my identity, because being in grad school is like a job and there are all these social/cultural aspects to it that are shaping who I am. I won’t come out the same as I went in, which sounds tragic, but is actually A-OK with me.

Even though I talk about being a grad student fairly often, I realize I haven’t talked about how I actually got to grad school. I’m hoping that it’ll help someone else, and if it doesn’t…well, at least there’s a post this week.

Cheers!

This is a two-part post. Kelli from Unkajed Thoughts had some questions about what my experience in grad school has been like, so I thought that deserved a post of its own. You can read part two here. Continue reading “Accidental Academic: How I Got to Grad School”

photo of overwhelmed woman

Overly Ambitious: Lessons from Doing Too Much

HHello! I’m officially back from my hiatus! Thanks for your patience with me. If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that I was dealing with I-took-on-way-too-much-itis. Symptoms include stress-eating, tears, procrastination, and the urge to curse people out. Treatment is getting ish done.

Now that I’m finished with the craziness that was March and had some time to reflect, I have some thoughts about why I took on too much in the first place and how I’m going to avoid that in the future. Let’s talk about FOMO (fear of missing out), unrealistic expectations, and the dreaded P-word: priorities (dun, dun, dun). Continue reading “Overly Ambitious: Lessons from Doing Too Much”

how to manage anxiety in grad school

How I Manage Anxiety in Grad School

Image via STIL through Unsplash

gGrad school is a different beast to undergrad. The stakes are higher, because now, I find myself doing work that can launch a career. And the margin for error is smaller. It doesn’t take much to fail, and if I do, there is often an impact on people other than me. The combined workload of my courses, thesis, and research work is a lot heavier than undergrad, and at this point, I’m also starting to get a very scratchy itch to see what life is like outside of school (I’ve been a student for nearly 20 years!).

If anxiety sets in, I start to feel like I’m in a pressure cooker, and I get a sinking, helpless feeling in my gut when I realize how much I have to do. This is when I tend to procrastinate, which provides a very temporary escape, but in the end, only worsens the way I feel.

I know I’m not alone in this (and if you can relate, neither are you!). Other grad students (see here too) experience anxiety, and it’s something that can be managed. I know that immobilizing nervous feeling all too well, and while I’m far from perfect, I have some strategies for keeping my anxiety under control. I don’t always follow them, but when I do, they help me a lot.

However, I’m not a professional, so don’t substitute this for professional advice. If you’re in need of help, you can go to your local student wellness office. If you’re in a crisis, you can call your local emergency number.

Continue reading “How I Manage Anxiety in Grad School”

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

ivory prom dress

THE Dress (on a model who looks suspiciously like Rory Gilmore). Image Via Zeleb

some years ago, about a year before prom, I started thinking about prom dresses. I looked around a little bit and saw THE dress. I just knew I was supposed to wear it–I had a gut feeling. Plus, it would look fabulous on me, and every guy I had ever liked in high school would drool over me in it. So I saved the link to that bad gyal, saved the pictures, and began thinking about my grand entrance to prom.

And do you know what I did after that? I decided to keep looking. It was still early, and what if there was something even better out there? It couldn’t hurt. I ended up spending months obsessing over dresses, trying to find the most statement-making piece until finally, a close friend pulled me aside and told me how tacky my dress choices had become. Oops.

In the end, I didn’t get the dress I originally wanted, or even the dress that prompted an intervention. In fact, I didn’t even go to prom at all, partly because of how much I stressed over the thing. This is what perfectionism does to me–it blows things up to epic proportions and gives reasonably ordinary things massive weight, causing an inability to move on with life or make decisions.

*Raises hand* My name is C and I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Continue reading “Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist”