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6 Books helping me survive my PhD

Today I want to share with you some books that are helping me survive my PhD. It was so hard to only pick six! So this list is not an exhaustive by any means. Rather, it gives you an insight into some of the books that are currently helping me within the first two years of my PhD.

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Feeling overwhelmed #gradschoolfeels

It’s the end of the semester and it’s safe to say that anyone in grad school is likely feeling overwhelmed right now. So I am not about to take up too much of your time with this post, just some quick tips on how to feel a little less overwhelmed during this busy season.

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Feeling like an Imposter #gradschoolfeels

If you haven’t like an imposter at some point, are you even in grad school? Imposter syndrome is a common experience for grad students. Personally, I have felt it on numerous occasions and with varying levels of intensity. This blog post breaks down imposter syndrome and some tips to help you through it.

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What’s in a PhD Students Backpack

As someone with a type A personality, I like to be prepared. This is evident if you have ever seen me with my backpack. If you need something, I likely will have it. Are you curious to find out what’s in a PhD students backpack? Just keep reading to find out… P.S if you know a student, these might just be some good holiday gift ideas.

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Why you should stop everything and go back up your files!

For those who follow me on Instagram (@ScholarCulture) you will know that two weeks ago I spilt water all over my laptop. Today, I will share with you the full story of what happened and why you should stop everything you are doing and go back up your files right now!

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Feeling Unmotivated #GradSchoolFeels

We are halfway through this semester which sometimes can bring up feelings of being unmotivated. At the start of this school year, I had so much on my plate I was so overwhelmed it was hard to even start certain tasks. Now, I am currently at a roadblock with my writing which is leading me to a place of procrastination. Needless to say, there are many reasons that can lead you to feel unmotivated. Whatever the reason you are feeling unmotivated, I am hoping the series below can help you start to feel a little bit more focused moving forward in your work.

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How running is helping my perfectionism

I am not a runner. When my elementary school had track and field days, I would pretend I was sick so that I could get out of it. When people ask me to sign up for half marathons for charity events, I laugh at them. When I go to the gym and I see someone running for longer than 10 minutes, I am truly amazed. Trust me, I am not a runner.

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10 personal reflections of a 1st year PhD student

After finishing the first year of my PhD program, I spent all summer trying to reflect on what the heck just happened. I was exhausted, depleted and thought I would bounce back to being myself after a 2-week break. When I couldn’t pinpoint these reflections in the first month, I was frustrated. When I couldn’t figure it out the week before I was heading into my 2nd year, I was even more infuriated! Until it hit me.  I wasn’t able to reflect on these learnings until I actually saw the changes in myself during the first week of my 2nd year. And as soon as I started to discuss with the incoming PhD students, I was able to articulate these reflections and learnings more clearly.

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The Fear of the Unknown #GradSchoolFeels

Welcome to a new school year scholars! I know we all have different schedules and you might not actually be entering a new school year, but I am officially entering in my 2nd year of my PhD. No matter where you are with your studies, the unknown, the next steps, the future… well it can easily sneak up on you. Sitting with the unknown often creates fear and can easily distract you from your work. If you want to learn a bit more about how you can cope with the fear of the unknown, keep reading to learn all about the new Scholar Scholar series #GradSchoolFeels.

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Tips when transitioning to a summer job

Many of us grad students are wearing several hats’, we are employees, students, parents, teachers, researchers… the list goes on.

A transition I am currently facing is moving from coursework to temporarily entering the workforce, for the summer, into my previous position as a ‘full-time working professional’.

Others might also be in a similar position as the summer term is currently upon us. While some might still be taking summer courses or attend a program year-round. Transitioning from these roles whether they are short or long stints can be difficult. I came to enjoy working in my PJ’s in the mornings with easy access to comfort items such as my yoga mat, lemon water, and coffee right at my fingertips. On the other hand, having evenings and weekends ‘free’, without harsh deadlines has felt nice too.

Here are some tips that are helping me transition from working as a student to working a ‘9-5’ for the summer.

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Rebooting: What to do when classes end

The time has come! I am finally finished the first year of my PhD (holy crap, can’t believe I can say that). I will write a reflection on my experience of the first year in an upcoming blog post – so stay posted! But for now, I am entering a two-week break before I start work full-time for the rest of the summer. These two weeks off feel like a dream however, I have this one little thing hanging over me – THE FUTURE!

I can’t stop thinking about all the things that I want/need to do in the summer: reflect on what I have learned, organize my documents, continue research projects, write articles, and think through goals for my second year. All of this being new to me comes with fears of the unknown. As a girl with high anxiety, my mind usually conjures up all the bad things that could possibly happen if these things don’t get done. But I know that if I continue with these overwhelming thoughts then I will end up creatively blocked, I will retreat and remain actionless. This is exactly what I want to avoid.

So here is my plan for the next two weeks;

1. Reflect

I plan on spending time reflecting on the top ten things I have learned this year, my top ten successes, as well as my top ten challenges.  This will give me a chance to digest what the heck just happened this past year and allow me to appreciate how much I really did accomplish.

2. Spring clean

I don’t know about you but when there is a cluttered space around me, my mind is more cluttered. As soon as I get back to Toronto, I am going to go through everything that we own in our 500 square foot apartment – declutter, donate and clean. My hope is that I will end up feeling lighter and it will leave more space to welcome in the new.

3. Do things that feel good

This past year has often been centered around getting things done for other people. But now I want to spend some time doing the things that I want to do. These are simple; I’ll listen to more music, cook, read fiction, get outside, do some more yoga and volunteer. If you are looking for a good at home yoga session, try this one out.

4. Set professional & personal goals

After I take some time for myself and reflect on the past year, I plan on setting professional and personal goals for the rest of the summer. I will be working, so I won’t have too much time but I will have some. My goals will be a mix of both personal goals, something creative and fun – I am thinking a photography course. As well as professional goals, I am planning on making a reading list of some articles/books I wanted to get to in the year but never had the time to.

5. Manifest future goals

Now I hope you don’t get scared off with this last one. Manifesting can be as simples as talking about your past year and future goals ahead with your friends and family. I want to get clear on what I have learned and my future goals ahead. Once I am clear on these goals, I will positively think about them, meditate on them and manifest them to become real in my future.



For those of you who are fortunate enough to get a break, what do you do on your time off?

I hope this post helps to support you in living your most authentic life!

Sending lots of love.

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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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.

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