Grad School, Tips

4.5 Ways to “Keep Calm And __[incert anything]”

How to manage grad school, a part-time job (or jobS), a relationship (or a family) and not to go crazy? If you’ve been to grad school for over 6 month you have probably figured out that it’s a rhetorical question. However, we c

an always brainstorm strategies to “Keep calm and ______”.

The next question is HOW do we keep calm?

1. Put it in perspective

We might be constantly broke, criticized for our life choices or academic performance, etc., etc., etc BUT most of us have a roof above our head, we are not starving, not terminally ill… Hence, we can’t complain TOO much.

Of course there are tons of things that we can complain about such as problems within academia, complicated family dynamics, other less-than-perfect living arrangements, and we continue this list forever. However, it’s OUR choice which list we’ll focus on: the list of complaints, or the list of blessings.

2. Focus on the list of blessings instead on the list of complaints

Of course, a good complaint session might be therapeutic once in a while, however, it’s in our best interest to focus on the list of our blessings and make it as lengthy as possible.

Think your life sucks? Watch The Theory of Everything (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUayjO_KgsQ), or Leviath ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpawdA34HNk )

 still think your life sucks as much as the main characters’?

3. Life is more than just grad school

That’s the hardest one to keep in mind at times. We get so immersed in our research or just everyday motions and routines of reading, going to seminars, keeping up with employment, etc, that it is difficult to forget that our personalities are not confined within our theses.  Have you ever had a hobby? Who did you want to become as a kid? What did you friend and relatives think you’ll become? Where is your favorite spot in the city? When was the last time you tasted your favorite ice cream?  Our personalities are somplex and we have so many roles (students, children of our parents, partners, parents, etc).  It is true that we might have chosen the role of a ‘graduate student’ to be the main one at this time, but it is TEMPORARY.

Grad school is not a permanent state of being (although most of the time it feels like one), and if things become unbearable, it’s a great point to keep in mind.

4. Grad school is TEMPORARY, but this fact should not be a panic-trigger

Most of us are worried about employment after obtaining our degree, and we should definitely work towards obtaining experience and keeping our ears and eyes open for relevant possibilities. However, even if you are not 100% sure what kind of employment you wish to take up after graduation, it should not trigger a panic-attack while you are still working on your thesis.

Imagine that you went for a hike up a mountain. The higher you are getting, the more you can see.  Similarly, with your graduate studies: the more you know and the more experience you get, the better is your ‘view’ of other possibilities. You are NOT a horse. You don’t have to wear blinkers or follow a stricter-than-necessary route.

4.5 But really, what all of us need at times to keep calm is a nice friendly hug, so walk over to the nearest human and exchange hugs (if socially acceptable, of course 😉 )

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Grad School, Tips

Assorted Stereotypes About Grads

Some people perceive millennials as a generation of spoiled coffee-drinking infantile youngsters with hyper-extended childhood who take about 30 years to ‘find themselves’ only to find themselves working as baristas while pretending to be engaged in ‘vaguely creative activities’.   Misconceptions about graduate students, especially the ones in humanities go even further.

Just for laughs – here are some stereotypes about graduate students that my fellow grad-school mates and I have heard:

Graduate students ___

  • are trying to extend their childhood into their 30’s
  • are not ready to face the ‘real world’
  • use light illegal substances on regular basis
  • are trying to put away major life decision out of emotional immaturity
  • are incapable of creating serious relationships
  • are selfish by definition (as in “you would not go to grad school if you cared about anything else)
  • stay unemployed into their 30’s
  • drink way too much coffee
  • are either vegans, OR junk-food monsters (or even vegan-junk-food monsters)
  • are antisocial OR too social, to the determent of their academic careers
  • are too promiscuous OR celibate (with nothing in-between these extremes)

… the list can go on, but let’s look at some assumptions that are sometimes made about women in graduate school:

Women in graduate school ________

  • are all tomboys (with a negative connotation)
  • have low chances of getting into long-term relationships
  • don’t care about creating families
  • have hard time socially adjusting in male-dominated academic departments

… again, the list can go on

BUT as millennials, we are also resilient, ambitions and determined to succeed in whatever that is we do :).

So instead of taking offence at any of the listed stereotypes that may linger in our society – as some young people do – we can either debunk those myths, or laugh at ourselves for consciously or unconsciously reinforcing them.  Grad-school is a lifestyle that some of us chose to lead for 1-7 years (depending on your program), so, let’s not take ourselves too seriously, embrace our life-style choice and discuss things like creativity, relationships, and other relevant topics (but – in the next posts :))

What kind of stereotypes about graduate students have you heard?

Cut-Mix-Heat Recipes, Lifestyle

Cut-Mix-Heat Slow-Cooker Apple Spice Chicken

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If I had to summarize my cooking strategy, it would fit into 3 words: Cut-Mix-Heat (where the last step is optional).

I’m a graduate student working at a couple of jobs. I don’t have time or energy to dedicate to complicated recipes. But I love eating at home, and the comfort of having a fridge full of yummy stuff.

I’m going to share some of my favorite Cut-Mix-Heat recipes. Please let me know if you try them out!

Cut-Mix-Heat Slow Cooker Apple Spice Chicken

Continue reading “Cut-Mix-Heat Slow-Cooker Apple Spice Chicken”

Math, Outreach

Math Snippet: Graphs, Instagram, Internet

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I’m taking an online course on graph theory now and the lecturer is so good that listening to him is like watching an engaging movie.  His language is simple enough and he does not assume any previous knowledge of higher level math (just high school knowledge). For now, here are some very basic snippets about graphs:

Imagine we have a classroom full of desks that can seat two people.  We could represent people as dots (vertices) and connect these dots with lines (or edges).  We have created a graph that provides us with information about the pairs of students, the ways they are paired up.  More formally, graphs are structures that describe pairwise relationships between objects.

Continue reading “Math Snippet: Graphs, Instagram, Internet”