How are you challenging yourself?

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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10 mindfulness tips for motivation

10 mindfulness tips for motivation

With only one month left in the first year of my PhD, the “summer break” is very near and very distracting. I find myself getting easily distracted by plans in the summer (and by plans I mean more work and reading). I am needing extra help to stay focused and motivated to finish up my first year.

But most importantly, I don’t want to rush through this last month and let it pass me by either. I truly love the work that I do, I just am figuring out how to better manage it all. I want this last month to be useful, enjoyable, mindful and reflective. So, I have been incorporating more mindfulness practices in order to help me enjoy my last month in my first year. I hope you can find some motivation from these tips as well.

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Is grad school taking a toll on your confidence?

Is grad school taking a toll on your confidence?

I remember starting my undergraduate degree with a strong (and naïve) sense of confidence. It has slowly decreased from that day but once I entered into my PhD, it skyrocketed downhill. There are so many things that can interfere with our confidence – imposter syndrome, funding rejections, grades, discussions in class, setbacks in research, stress, lack of sleep…. the list goes on. With that said, I do have those days that make me feel like I still ‘belong’ here. But a PhD is a roller coaster ride and if I am being honest, I often feel at the bottom of the coaster… heck, sometimes I’m not even on the ride.

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How to write research field notes

How to write research field notes

Recently I went on a research trip where we used a research method called ethnography for the study.

Essentially, ethnography is the study of people and cultures, where researchers observe from the point of view of the subject. During this research trip, I was asked to write field notes on my observations. I had never participated in an ethnography study before, nor have written field notes, so I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. Through conversations, I had a sense of what I needed to include but I purposefully didn’t ask my supervisor exactly what she wanted, as I was curious to see what sort of style I naturally gravitated to.

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With that said, I do suggest you find your own style but if you are wanting some pointers to help you get started or to prepare you before you research trip, here are a few of mine:

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Tips for understanding difficult material

Tips for understanding difficult material

This semester has been challenging for me in many ways but mainly in terms of my coursework and readings. The level of comprehension is one step further than what I have been attuned to in the past, both in my Bachelors and Masters degree. The two courses I am currently taking are Ethical Foundations and Political Economy. This means that I am reading authors like Marx, Smith, Richardo, Hegel, de Beauvoir, Benhabib, Aristotle, Kant, Levinas … and the list goes on.

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How to create grad school learning goals

How to create grad school learning goals

I am a goal setting, type A personality, through and through. But when I found out that I had to create learning goals for my PhD, it felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders. I barely knew what a PhD entailed, so how could I begin to make goals to achieve it? Breaking down the goals into categories helped me create the learning goals from scratch. And more importantly, when a new opportunity presents itself, I can revisit these goals and helps me stick to what I am really trying to achieve, without veering off course.

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Creative Money Saving Tips for Students

Creative Money Saving Tips for Students

Along with the stress of achieving good grades, balancing tight deadlines, experiencing imposter syndrome and endless amounts of guilt, we students also have to deal with the constant anguish around finances. Now if you are lucky enough to receive sufficient funding through scholarships for your degree, then congratulations! But if you are like the majority of grad students (including me), then you are most likely living paycheque to paycheque, taking on extra side gigs, precarious work, and underemployment.

In order to ease this burden in academia then proposal writing will become your middle name. However, this post isn’t about how to get more money, instead, it’s about how to save the money you do have, for longer.

Here are my five creative money saving tips that I use to help draw out my dollar while pursuing my dreams as a student!

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More about me, Christine

More about me, Christine

Well, you asked for it; the other day I asked your opinions on upcoming blog posts. I received an outstanding number of ideas which I am excited to write about in the coming weeks. But before I dive into these topics, you also asked to hear more about me, my research and my story. I figured this week is a good place to start and I am excited to share it with you all.   I hope I will be able to shed some light onto what has brought me where I am today, what my day-to-day currently looks like with my school and projects, as well as where I want to head in my future. So here it goes, a glimpse into the past, present, and future of Christine.

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How to take a mini vacation from grad school  

How to take a mini vacation from grad school  

Over this past weekend, I traveled to Jamaica for a friend’s destination wedding. Without a doubt, I was excited to enjoy the warm weather and salty ocean but unfortunately, my anxiety about my workload was outweighing my enjoyment. This semester is shaping up to be an extremely busy one and I still am figuring out how to manage it. My anxiety kept taking over during the hours leading up to my flight. My thoughts persisted: How am I going to get everything done for next week? And the week after? What if I don’t do these things to the best of my ability? Should I do work while I am on vacation? How much work should I do? But what is the point of me going all this way and not enjoying some time off?

These questions in my mind wouldn’t stop spiraling.

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