Category: Career

Overly Ambitious: Lessons from Doing Too Much

photo of overwhelmed woman

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). Read More

How I Manage Anxiety in Grad School

how to 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.

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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.

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How I Manage My Time: Organization for the Naturally Disorganized

Time Management

gGetting organized was the thing I heard, in some variation, before the start of every school year. Our trips to the store to get school supplies seemed to convey that, the handing out of agendas in class every September seemed to convey that, my Dad telling me that the key to being successful in life was to “be organized and start early,” and yet, somehow, I missed the message.

My desk at school was always a mess, my homework was often late, I was often late, and my parents affectionately called me “Space Cadet” because I was so scatterbrained. I generally felt that I was always running behind my life and trying to catch up with it. Didn’t everybody?

The first time I truly “got” getting organized was in my second year of undergrad, and organization played a big part in my getting my first year of straight As.

One of the most valuable things getting organized taught me was that I can have control over my time.

Thanks to my Dad’s great tips, I’m rediscovering time management lately, and here’s what’s been working for me.

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On Feeling Intimidated By My Own Dreams

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

 

Quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, First Female President of Liberia (read her Harvard ’11 speech here) | Images via YoutubeKateOGroup – Etsy

It seems I’ve been surrounded by achievements lately. The Forbes 30 under 30 list came out; Issa Rae (creator of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Instagram and Youtube are full of people who are living seemingly glamorous lives by pursuing their passions, like Shirley B. Eniang, Shameless Maya, and Patricia Bright. My favourite bloggers, like Style Domination, are blowing up. I love to see them all. Seeing people accomplishing their dreams makes me happy and leaves me feeling inspired.

Sometimes, fortunately or unfortunately, I’m also prompted to feel that I need to hurry up with achieving my own dreams. As I approach being two years out of undergrad, my 24th birthday, and not being where I want to be yet, I’ve been wondering lately whether I’m wasting time.

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