How are you challenging yourself?

Grad students fall on either side of what I am calling the “challenge yo-self spectrum”. They find themselves pushing their limits so often that anxiety is getting in the way. Or they are on the other end of the spectrum – feeling stuck in their work and sometimes even bored.

Finding a balance between the two is the sweet spot – challenging yourself enough to feel uncomfortable but not so much that it will set you back.

Sure you are in grad school so of course, you are challenging yourself in one way or another. But how are you really challenging yourself? Are you facing fears? Putting yourself out there? Or are you just busy?

Now that we have established that challenging yourself is a good thing, and doesn’t necessarily mean simply attending grad school. Here are some tips for grad students who are on either end of the “challenge yo-self spectrum” in order to help challenge yourself in a healthy way.

Feeling anxious? 

If you are feeling anxious because you are pushing yourself too much, first and foremost make sure that you are not mistaking this challenge for just “being busy”. Take time to reflect on the things that you are putting lots of time into and ask yourself if these things are challenging yourself to align with your future goals.

Once you get real on your challenges, remind yourself why you are challenging yourself in the first place:


  • Perfectionism will become a thing of the past
  • You’ll come that much closer to a life you love
  • Possibilities you never thought were possible, will arise
  • You’ll learn, grow and redefine yourself

It’s okay to be uncomfortable, fearful and insecure in these situations. You are using that to push yourself to something new. Of course, it will anxiety provoking because it is unknown.

So don’t let your fears get in the way.

Don’t let yourself get in your way.

Stop stopping yourself.

And do it anyway.


Feeling stuck?

If you are feeling stuck in your comfort zone and not feeling challenged in your work, then try some of these tips and options for growth:

  • Reach out and seek advice from a supervisor/ role-model
  • Say yes to opportunities that arise – until you need to say no
  • Set a new goal. Sign up for something new – for instance, our school as a three-minute thesis challenge, does your school have anything similar?
  • Unplug – sometimes spending time off the computer and phone can clearly show you what you are avoiding. Spending some time meditating and get real on the things you are avoiding.
  • Obviously what you currently are doing isn’t work for you. So ask yourself important questions; what am I currently doing and what should I be doing differently?


Remember that you are in charge of your own learning. Take responsibility for your own growth and incorporate challenge into your own studies.


If you are comfortable, growth doesn’t happen.


How are you challenging yourself this month?


Until next time,

Christine xo




P.S Don’t forget to use #ScholarCulture #ScholarSquad #ScholarSunday to keep me updated on your experiences as grad students.

P.P.S Applying to grad school for the 2019/20 school year? Check out this FREE eBook on 5 steps to a successful grad school application. Are you in grad school and struggling to find easy lunches to bring to campus? Check out three FREE recipes and full nutritional information here.



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