The Fear of the Unknown #GradSchoolFeels

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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Rebooting: What to do when classes end

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.

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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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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Prioritizing Reflection: Scholar Sunday’s

Prioritizing Reflection: Scholar Sunday’s

With only one month left of the school semester, my to-do list seems endless. It’s crunch time with final papers, exams, grading and copious amounts of readings. Reflection at this point is not a priority and in most cases nonexistent. I get it. But today I will try and convince you otherwise. Scholar Culture has created “#ScholarSunday” to help you prioritize reflection and focus on positive affirmations, here’s why:

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Lunch ideas for class

Lunch ideas for class

Finding healthy food options on campus have always been difficult for me. With a little resourcefulness and creativity, I can usually find something but I don’t like to rely on it. The best way to ensure I am eating healthy, satisfying and delicious food – that also agrees with my body – is taking time to prepare it myself.
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What to do after losing motivation in grad school?

What to do after losing motivation in grad school?

Whether it be two months into grad school, one year or almost done your thesis, we all reach a point where we lose motivation.

Looking back at how wide-eyed and excited I was at the beginning of September (almost as if I have never experienced grad school or school for that matter), I realize I am not at that place anymore. I’m tired, there is not enough time in a day and find myself getting distracted more easily (cough – wedding planning). I am left wondering, how can I get myself back to that place of motivation, inspiration, and zeal after experiencing tireless days of reading, assignments, stress, and anxiety and those days that still await?

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5 Ingredient Brain-Boosting Smoothie

5 Ingredient Brain-Boosting Smoothie

It’s safe to say that I am on board the smoothie train. When I was working full-time, I would start every morning with a smoothie. Now that I am in school and at home more often, I have the luxury of listening to my body and responding to it as soon as it speaks to me!

I want to share with you my go-to smoothie that re-energizes my body and brain, allowing me to slay my day!

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Back to School Backpack

Back to School Backpack

It doesn’t matter if you are starting kindergarten or your Ph.D., back to school shopping is a must!

The biggest purchase I needed to make was a backpack.

In Toronto, you’ll see young professionals walking around with beautiful Louis Vuitton purses or attractive totes but even if I could afford one, unfortunately, a Louis Vuitton won’t hold all my textbooks ergonomically. And if I put everything in a tote, my back, hips, and knees will hate me (wow am I getting old or what?)

Then I found myself stuck in another dilemma. I wanted something that looked professional but not a classic backpack (you know those ones where it looks you’re about to go hiking).

I needed to prioritize comfort and practicality but I still wanted it to look good.

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