Outfits Lately: July 1-15

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas right now, feeling like I should grade for my online summer class, but really just too distracted by my hopes that we will get the rental house we put in for yesterday. Moving is always a whirlwind and I never feel fully informed when making housing decisions, but here we go! While we wait, how about some mirror selfies?

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How I prepped for the academic job market

I am by no means an expert on academic jobs just because I now (miraculously?) have one. But I have been told that I am organized, and, yes, that is because being an anxious person sometimes means having a system for everything. So before I totally bury all memories of the academic job market, I thought I would put together a timeline of some of the things I did to get ready to search for academic jobs…

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Maintaining optimism in a demanding career–or, why happiness is not a waste of time in grad school

My mom is the happiest person I know, and I was always aware of it growing up. It made me proud, for a while. Then I became a teenager, and I started rolling my eyes. A lot. It was easy to make fun of my mom for being so cheery. Then I went off to college and I started to really appreciate her again. But then, I realized that not only was my mom super happy, she was also really smart about being happy–she made choices to make herself happy everyday. She sings in the grocery store. She laughs super loud while watching tv. She gets excited about everything from running into friends to hearing her favorite songs. And you know what? All of that takes work.

I really started to understand the work of being happy and that appreciation has only grown since I got to grad school, where it’s clear that I can either find a way to enjoy this life, or I can let my potentially demanding job choice swallow me whole. I definitely don’t make the more difficult choice every day, but I do try! So this week, I asked some wise grad school friends why happiness can seem so hard in academia. Here’s what we came up with…

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Last minute graduation dresses

Oh, graduation is next week and I haven’t looked for any commencement dress ideas for graduate students. Which means…I don’t really have “the dress” for my own graduation. I am probably just going to wear an old favorite (which I was also supposed to take to get hemmed, oops), but if you’re on the hunt for a grad school appropriate graduation dress that you can get fast, here are some options…

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How to be productive if you don’t like the Pomodoro Technique

Or, every tip that has helped me write my dissertation.

We are on day 8 of #100daysofdissertation, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Academeology on Instagram and she’ll get you filled in. I’ve been really enjoying talking to other grad students about what they do to get sh*t done this past week, so I’ve decided to write up what works for me here. I hope this list is helpful to you, whatever large project you might be up against, academic or non. The title is mostly a joke, but I don’t use the Pomodoro method, instead I do a bunch of other stuff, like….

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Teaching when it’s hot out, part 3

You know when you have to walk to campus because the university has disabled your bus pass because they are evil fee collectors, but when you get to your classroom it’s a little chilly?

Or perhaps you are opting to walk to campus all summer because all winter you put on a lot of stress weight?

My outfit solution to this is a sundress + blazer. I put the blazer in my bag or leave it (along with all my high heels, deodorant, dry shampoo, a desk sweater…) in my office to put on when i get to campus. Instant professionalism!

One more outfit idea to come, then maybe I’m joining the Summer 10×10 challenge! What are your go-to “it’s way too hot” outfit combos? I’ve been enjoying making these outfit plans in between studying for my Fall comprehensive exams.

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?