How I became a person who writes every day

Up until six months ago, I was stuck in a writing pattern: avoid, avoid, avoid, SO MUCH GUILT WRITE FOR 4 HOURS, avoid, avoid, avoid… This boom and bust cycle sort of worked for me. Or it did until the rubber hit the road and I had a job offer contingent on finishing my (only half done!!!) dissertation in 3 months. That’s when I decided to change my habits….

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What’s it like to be a new professor? Plus week 1 and 2 outfits

I have survived the first two weeks of my new job! I think anyone in grad school has been told being a professor is different than being a grad student. But how? I certainly don’t have the big picture yet, but I do have the ability to ramble about how it’s felt so far. Featuring some week 1 and 2 outfit pictures, because, you know, blog theme.

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We tried the CEO Morning Routine in Grad School

Guest blogger alert! This post is by my friend Mackensie. 

I’ve always enjoyed treating my body like a pseudo guinea pig, and I am obsessed with any hippy, weird, out there, productivity-lifehack type of thing. I rarely stick with these habits, but I never lose hope despite all evidence to the contrary. In the tradition of treating my existence like one long experiment, I asked Rebecca if I could write about trying a CEO morning routine for a week. She obliged and I got to work researching.

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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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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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Bags for grad students

Thanks to @yikesbutmakeitfashion who asked for a bag round-up for grad school ❤ Here are my current favorite workhorse bags….

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Let’s start with what I’m currently using, the Everlane twill zip tote. This tote is $48, has a ZIPPER, and it has held up super well–no strap damage or loose stitching. Cons: It doesn’t have any shape so any bulges caused by throwing your whole life in there will show. Other options below.

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Back to school shopping: Grad student edition

One sad part about being an adult who is still in school is that I REALLY miss back to school shopping. Here is a mystery of my childhood: why did I think I needed an updated lunchbox every year? Why did my backpack, binder, and lunchbox have to match? Now, I don’t even use a lunchbox, instead I just pray that the tupperware in my backpack doesn’t explode on my way to school. But I still love new school year supplies–I just have an updated list of needs:

1) Good pens. I got a pack of Staples Opti-flow pens last year and somehow they all wandered off. I’m looking to re-up my supply (they dry INSTANTLY) but I’m also tempted to buy a set of Muji pens after reading the reviews.

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Q & A: Tech in grad school

Q: Hi Rebecca! What are your thoughts on tech for grad school (specifically tablets)? Is there anything that’s made your time in academia more efficient?

A: Hi! I don’t have a tablet but I really wish I did–I see people bring them to conference sessions, meetings, etc and they seem like a lighter, easier thing to travel with. Our dept appears split on having them or just bringing a regular laptop. 

In terms of other tech that has made my life way easier: Zotero (citation manager, get the Word plug in and YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO CITE BY HAND AGAIN) and Evernote (keeps all your notes in one app–I didn’t see the value at first but it’s far more searchable than going through all your word docs) have been my two favorite upgrades. Also, an hour tracker is a good way to keep yourself on track when you work (and to recognize that even when it feels like 60 hours of work a week it’s really not!). 

Lastly, not grad school specific: I’ve been using Cladwell to get dressed every day. It’s $40 per year (sign up on their website, not the app store), and it just makes getting ready totally brainless, in the best way possible.

I’m reblogging this to say I just bought Grammarly Premium as well–it is like spell check but way better, and says things to you like “you’ve said the word ‘communication’ a lot in this document, want to try a different one?” and “this sentence is wordy.” Seriously life changing. I had an out of body reading experience the other day while looking over some writing–I was like “wait did I really write this this well?” Thx Grammarly.