Everlane pieces I’m thinking about using my tax return on

Does anyone else get excited about filing taxes? As a grad student, my comedic level of income leads to the govt saying “oh wow, you are really poor” and giving me a lot of money back. Money that I should have gotten in the first place by changing my paycheck withholding rate, but those are always a mystery to me, and I kind of like the surprise money that comes around in the spring. Considering tax refunds a “surprise” is not very adult of me. Anyway. I’m saving most of my refund this year, but am thinking of getting one investment piece for teaching/the job market. Here are a few of my ideas. Help!

Everlane cashmere crew sweater: Cashmere just screams “I AM A RESPONSIBLE ADULT WITH A SWEATER SHAVER” to me. I know that $100 is a good price for cashmere, but it still hurts. This is the only time of year I have that much $$ lying around, so maybe now is the time. Now, to decide on a color…

Relaxed silk shirt: Listen, I watched The Fall, and am now convinced that Gillian Anderson is a bad ass feminist detective mostly because she is herself but also because she owns like 20 white silk shirts. Because I am not at put-together as her, I’m thinking blue or black to hide the inevitable coffee spills. Cost: $88.

Sleeveless: A slightly cheaper option. Would look great under sweaters. Extremely useful if your classroom is as hot as mine. $65

Cocoon coat: The biggest splurge, but coats always end up being great investment pieces for me. I left Phoenix at age 18 and haven’t lived anywhere warm since 😦 Cost: $265. Also looking at a cheaper option from Land’s End because the quality is great and they make tall sizes. 

Bonus sensible pumps in a fun light blue color. What investment pieces are you eyeing? 

How to avoid looking like an undergrad in grad school

 

Is this a common grad school anxiety? I think it is. If you’ve come straight out of your undergrad, you probably want to look older so that you don’t get hit on by some guy in the dining hall line who asks, “so, are you a freshman?” (#truestory). Some ideas:

-Messenger bag or tote>backpack. Some suggestions.

-Mix one business casual piece in with your casual wear (in this case, oxfords).

-Sweat pants/workout clothes are awesome and you have every right to wear them but they may increase the risk of the aforementioned junior-guy-hits-on-you scenario.

-Glasses have been shown to boost your perceived credibility.

You could also just decide you don’t care if someone mistakes you for an undergrad! But on days when you do care, the above can be helpful.

Conferences vs. taking care of yourself

Hi all. I just got back from a conference and I am just…so wiped out. Every time I go to a conference I feel such a weird mix of happiness/extroversion and simultaneous extreme discouragement/imposter syndrome/”oh my god all these grad students are better than me.” I also feel like conferences expose this big academic lie that we are all disembodied brains…by which I mean, conferences totally wreck my body. Today I want to take a break from fashion to talk about how much that sucks and how I try to deal with it, and if anyone else has ideas I would really love to hear them…

Here are some things that fall apart on me at conferences: my feet, my brain, my skin, my health…and here’s how I try to deal with them:

1) Feet. I always bring cute shoes, and usually find out around hour four of wearing them that these shoes are traitors and have started acting like a cheese grater on my ankle. Solutions: moleskin (in pre-cut sizes because otherwise you’ll find yourself trying to cut it with a nail clipper in your hotel room..doesn’t work), fast flats (life changing. not real shoes. people at conferences compliment me on them all the time). 

2). Health. I hand sanitize and try not to think about antibiotic resistance. I pack Advil. I pack Tums. I’ve made many friends at conferences administering these things. Also, for prevention, I recommend bringing a probiotic. Oh, and because the food at conferences can be scarce, I research the hotel location ahead of time to decide if I should pack snacks (fruit, protein bars, and pre-packaged oatmeal cups are all excellent choices, especially if the hotel only has one Starbucks and you and 2000 of your closest conference friends are gonna have to fight over it in the morning). 

3) Skin. I don’t have a great solution to this one yet, the unhealthy food/stress combos really make me break out, but my hatred of checking bags makes it hard to bring all the products I need. I did just switch to micellar water (rather than using tap water on my face), which seems to take some of the unpredictability out of traveling, even if it does make me feel really high maintenance. And I book a facial when I return. Other ideas?

All of these solutions frustrate me, though, because they’re all so reactive. How do I prevent myself from falling apart during 72 hours of conferencing? How can I return home feeling revitalized by academic ideas and without a cold/2000 blisters? My only idea on this so far is to take a break from conferencing and change my expectations of how much I can conference. Here are my new self care rules:

1) Take an afternoon to appreciate the host city. Outdoor adventures are really nice when you’ve been inside a hotel for two days. This conference, my friends and I went to an aviary and seeing all the pretty birds was really soothing. 

2) Reset my rules about networking. Networking makes me feel very anxious because it feels fake to me. My new idea (told to me by a prof) is that if I meet and make a connection with one new person, I have done my job. Rather than trying to meet everyone at the conference, I now try to arrange coffee with one person whose research I enjoy. If I do that, I’ve done my job. Pure relief from networking anxiety! And so much more relaxing than stalking people at panels and mixers.  

Anyway, my exhaustion has made me feel introspective about the things we do to ourselves at academic conferences. What other ideas do you all have for taking care of yourself at these stressful events?