This term has been a roller-coaster. You’ll notice that this post is a little late, and that’s because of all the papers I’m writing. I’ve been considering posting them up online somewhere so you all can check out the work I’m doing, if you’re interested, but I’m not sure where to do that. (If you have any thoughts on a good platform for that, drop me a comment!) Anyway, I’ve been learning lots of stuff, and it’s been fascinating, but I really wish I had a time-turner—there’s so much I need to do, and not enough time!
(This month’s resolution review below the cut:)
- Practice self-care and express self-compassion
- Ask for support and use my resources
- Build discipline and be creatively strategic
Month in Review:
What worked? What didn’t?
1) I’ve stressed myself pretty severely this term, and I hit a breaking point last week. A professor asked how we were doing in class, another student expressed her frustrations (some of which I shared), and as I opened my mouth to say “I’m also feeling really frustrated,” I started to cry instead. Awkward… but it was in my McNair class, and everyone else in the cohort is so sweet and supportive of each other. It’s such a relief being around first-gen students and other students of color, because we can really understand the pressures to perform to a higher standard and support our families, and we can support each other through problems.
After hitting that massive point of stress and breaking down, I had the afternoon off (eye doc dilated my pupils for the annual exam—still no diabetes damage!). Ended up taking a nap, and decided to stop stressing myself out about not getting things done. I had asked a professor for an extension on work I had been struggling with, and even though he said no, I was less stressed out once I decided I would accept the hit to my grade for turning that work in late. I hate asking for support and extensions, and I was really upset that he said no, because I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t need it, which I told him. On the plus side, because I told him I would be turning that work in late, even though he would penalize me for it, I actually ended up being okay. I was holding myself to impossible standards; by acknowledging and expressing my limits, I have been able to reduce my stress.
I have been using the rice cooker and slow cooker to prep food in advance, which is helping with my stress levels. I missed a couple of days in my meditation practice, which I think is part of why the stress has been getting to me so much. I had some pretty serious anxiety-induced insomnia, and that certainly didn’t help. Hopefully things will get better now that I’m letting go of some unnecessary stress.
2) As I mentioned, I asked for an extension. It was denied, but I’m proud of myself for asking. I have also been making more of an effort to meet with my faculty mentors in the History and Black Studies departments, and asking for their feedback on research-related work I’m doing. I asked my bestie to read over my papers before I submitted them, and their feedback has been really valuable to me.
3) I went into disaster mode, but after I let myself relax and pushed past perfectionism, I did some good work. I’ve been practicing breaking big tasks into smaller chunks, and that’s been helping me push past resistance. I’ve also been working on spreading work out instead of waiting to the last second, setting check-in times for myself, and setting smaller deadlines along the way to combat my procrastination-perfectionism doom spiral. Mixed success so far, but I think it’ll be easier moving forward. My faculty mentor helped me realize I was over-thinking some aspects of my work, and that I have a lot of past reading and knowledge that I can apply to present projects, and I’m starting to feel like things aren’t as giant and terrifying as I’ve been making them in my head. I’ve also been practicing strategic skimming to get readings ‘done,’ and I’m getting better at it. So, overall, progress was made.
Planning the Next Month:
What am I working on going forward?
1) I need to get back to my meditation practice. I haven’t been fully present for it, and I missed a couple days entirely, and there’s a definite difference in my mood and coping when I’m doing it versus when I’m not. I also need to get back to my sleep schedule, which was working okay until last week, and has a huge impact on my health.
2) I’m going to ask for support with revision from folks in my classes and my bestie, and continue to keep in contact with my mentors. I might sit down and figure out who I can reach out to for help with stuff, not just school stuff, but general make-my-life-easier stuff, like rides to school. Study dates would be great, if I can fit them in my schedule, and I know a couple classmates who would be interested.
3) I need to put a calendar in my view at home, so I remember what to do when. I also need to figure out snacks and scheduling, and do a big push this weekend to get some stuff done. Skimming things is working, but I need to figure out how to take effective notes from skimming to write from. I know I can’t thoroughly read everything I need to, but when I go to write, I get anxious and end up reading all the way through things again, because I don’t feel prepared. It slows me way down, and is part of the perfectionism doom spiral roadblock situation. Big project to small chunks has been good, to break things down in my head. I need to figure out some good rewards, to help motivate me when I am struggling. I need to take some deliberate time off this weekend, get sleep back on track, do some chores, plan the next two weeks of work, and then move forward with my plan. I’m feeling optimistic.
Hope y’all are doing better than me, and that you have a good weekend. Take care!
See all of the Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.