Sometimes, you have to know when to throw in the towel for the day. Wave your white flag and give yourself permission to step away from your work. There are times when it’s just plain necessary. For me, this is one of those times.
The past few weeks have been pretty rough. I don’t want to go into details but this past weekend was bleak and took me out of town. Not only was it a difficult time for me and my loved ones, it was also a time when I had a Thesis To Do List a mile long. I worked a fairly ridiculous number of hours last week so I could take the weekend off then came back to work all day today before sending in a draft to my supervisor. I’m short on sleep and short of my goals for the draft. Lots of stuff had to be half-done or left for later this week. You know what? That’s ok.
Life happens. Some things are just more important than a thesis and they can be pretty draining. That’s why I gave myself permission to send in a draft before I did everything I needed to and to spend the rest of the day watching a movie before going to bed early. You have to recognize your limits and your priorities, then do your best with everything else and call it a day. My work will still be there for me tomorrow when I’m rested and better prepared to tackle it.
Just in time for the 20sb Recipe Index, I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of new recipes. I recently saw this one on Pinterest but, given my low-dairy diet and cooking-for-one lifestyle, I had to refashion it to suit my tastes and my food. The result? Delish!
- 3 oz chicken
- 3/4 cup cooked pasta
- 2 tsbp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/6 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
- 1/3 cup pasta sauce
- 3/4 cups spinach
- Bake chicken at 350 F for 25 mins.
- Set pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the box. Set aside when done.
- In a frying pan, heat olive oil at medium heat. Once oil is hot, add garlic and tomatoes and cook for a few mins.
- Turn down heat to low in the pan before adding pasta sauce. I recommend using any plain or mild flavoured sauce – I used a tomato and basil sauce. Stir it all up and cook for 5-7 min, stirring occasionally.
- Stir spinach into the sauce. It may look like a ton of spinach but it cooks down a lot.
- Once spinach has cooked down, add pasta and chopped chicken. Serve hot.
Yields one serving. Everything can be done in the time it takes to cook the chicken, so you can pop the chicken in, set the water to boil, and make the sauce while waiting for everything else. My oven and stove top are insanely hot so I typically wait about 5 minutes before starting on the pasta. Bon appetit!
Working on my MA thesis in the area of economic history has made me realize just how hard it can be to get data. I’d never had too many issues before, as the majority of my work has been in development economics and data is often available through a variety of transnational organizations. Data on late 19th century Scottish migration? Not so much. I do have some data but it’s harder to find.
My recent data dilemmas have gotten me thinking about grad students in other fields who have even less access to data than I do. In particular, I’m sure it must be difficult for those who have to rely on finding participants to fill out surveys, perform certain tasks, or get checked out in a lab. That’s why I’ve been making a bigger effort to help out my fellow students. I’ve signed up for two studies this week and I’m looking forward to contributing. Even something as simply as filling out and sharing online research surveys can make a big difference in someone’s research.
If you or someone you know has a research-related online survey, please post in the comments below! Let’s spread some good academic karma.
Recipe: Egg muffins
Source: Kalyn’s Kitchen
Time: roughly 45 mins
Ease: super easy!
Cost: roughly $0.27/serving
Starting out the day with some protein is great but it can get a little time consuming. Enter egg muffins, which you can keep in the fridge or freezer and just reheat! I recommend serving two with toast and yogurt. Note that my time and cost may be a bit off – it took me extra time because I was chopping up sundried tomatoes and I might have overestimated the cost of the cheese.
Photo credit: Kalyn’s Kitchen
Thanks to a lack of student jobs and a love of shopping, I held a variety of retail positions throughout high school and undergrad. The list includes two clothing stores, a beauty store/salon, and a fine jewelry store. These experiences not only helped pay for tuition, but they also taught me a lot about shopping and style.
One thing I learned was the idea of cost per wear. It’s a simple calculation: cost of the item divided by the number of times you’ll wear it. I think that cost per wear is most important for wardrobe staples and sale items. A wardrobe staple, like classic black trousers or a flattering cocktail dress, will get a lot of use. It’s worth paying a bit more up front for fit and quality because you’ll be wearing them often for a long time, so cost per wear is low. Sale items may not seem like pieces where cost per wear matters but if you’re buying an ok item just because it’s on sale, you’ll wear it a few times and the cost per wear will be high. Like with any item, you should only buy sale pieces you love.
Of course, cost per wear doesn’t work for everything so you have to use your discretion. A relatively low cost per wear for a purse, for example, doesn’t always justify an overly expensive purchase. Let’s say you’re deciding between two purses. One is $40 and the other is $80. Assuming you use the purse roughly 4 times per week for two years, that’s about $0.10 per use or $0.19 per use, respectively. Really not a big difference between the two but you’re paying double up front when you probably don’t need to. So long as the first purse is well-made, you may want to buy that one then save the rest for groceries.
Do you use cost per wear as a rule of thumb? When has it worked or not worked for you?
Let’s face it – grad school can sometimes foster a negative attitude. You’re stressed and overtired while facing a huge list of demands. Long, endless hours working out complicated proofs, for example, isn’t your cup of tea but you have to get comfy at your desk and do it anyway. Then there’s the added stress of money, family, etc etc. It can really turn people into downers.
I had a big issue with this after last semester. I was unhappy with my program and the work I was doing so I took on a negative outlook. This semester, I decided that it had to stop. After surfing through some blogs, I determined that my first step would be to become more grateful. There are so many things in my life to be thankful for! Every night this semester, I thought about three things from the day that I was grateful for. The catch was that I couldn’t repeat anything on another day (or at least I really had to try not to).
The results? Awesome. Seriously! My mind is much quicker to find the positive because I’m used to doing it every day. Maybe I didn’t ace that midterm, but I’m proud of how hard I worked and lucky to be in grad school at all. I might have missed the bus but it’s a good opportunity to get some exercise by walking to school on a nice day. Now that I’ve got an attitude of gratitude, I’m a much happier person and am much better able to handle the rough patches. I highly recommend trying this technique for a solid month to get yourself into the habit.
How do you keep yourself positive with everything grad school throws at you?