Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: October Check-In

Once again, I’ve missed posts—I didn’t post for August or September. A lot has happened in the last few months, most of it related to school and finishing up my degree. Being out of classes has thrown me off. I prefer to have routines and schedules, and without them I often get kind of depressed and lost. I tend to mostly stay in and do very little. As a result, my health has suffered: I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight since May, and my blood sugar has been quite bad. After I went to see my doctor a month ago, I’ve taken steps to get my blood sugar under control, and I’m feeling somewhat better already.

I finished my McNair final report last month. Now I just have to write a short paper to resolve an incomplete from spring term, and I’ll be done with my undergraduate work. I pushed my official graduation date to end of fall 2017 to give myself time, which was a good decision for me. I’m feeling anxious about being out of school, but it’s necessary to get to the next phase of my life.

And here’s some exciting news: I was chosen for Black Women Being, which is a no-strings gift of funds to Black women and femmes who do community work. They’re given out monthly, and I was among those picked for October. Black Women Being is given out by the creators of the Safety Pin Box, a brilliant project that helps white people learn to do better ally work in the quest for racial justice. I’m using funds from this gift to pay costs associated with my grad school applications (paying for the GRE, ordering GRE reports and transcripts, paying application fees, etc.). I’m looking to apply to 10 programs, and the costs add up.

Other than resolving my incomplete, I’m focusing on grad school apps right now. I’ve narrowed down my list of schools and I’m approaching potential recommenders right now. I just started the application accounts for each school, and now I’m working on writing essays and filling out the necessary information. I am super nervous, but hopeful, and would accept any woo/kind thoughts/wishes you have for me.

(Shameless plug: if you want to support me in completing applications and paying the necessary costs, I would welcome anything you can contribute, but especially funds. You can donate via Paypal.me or support me long-term via Patreon. The cost of a GRE score report is $27 per school, for instance, and while most of the schools waive the application fee for McNair scholars, not all of them do. I haven’t found a job yet, so money is really tight right now, and any help is much appreciated.)

The resolution review is below the cut:


Goals:

  1. Practice self-care and express self-compassion
  2. Ask for support and use my resources
  3. Build discipline and be creatively strategic

Month in Review:

What worked? What didn’t?
1) Practice self-care and express self-compassion
I’ve been working on meditating more. My watch reminds me to take breaks and breathe throughout the day, which helps. After 2 months spent mostly indoors to research and write for long hours, I’ve gained a bunch of weight, and have been feeling sluggish and unhappy. Last month, I had a doctor’s appointment that jarred me back out of my stupor. My A1C went from 6.2 to 8.3, which was a shock. Since seeing my doctor, I’ve been working on bringing my blood sugar back under control, eating more vegetables, being more mindful of my portion sizes, and watching the ratio of protein to carbs. I’ve also started exercising in the evenings again, which has contributed the most to feeling better in the last week or so, I think. I have a couple things I want to get out of storage to help with that, but it’s been going well so far.

  • Things that have been good: pushing out my grad date, reading books for leisure, bonding time with my bestie, getting regular movement back into my day.
  • Things that have not been good: control of my blood sugar, eating well.

2) Ask for support and use my resources
I have been psyching myself up to ask the professors I want recommendations from for my grad apps. I hate asking for help, and have been procrastinating on this. My goal is to get it done this week, though, because time is getting short. I have been dithering over the document I want to send along with my asks, with my GPA and program choices and essay drafts for the apps. I don’t want to send too much information, but I want folks to feel like they can give me good recs and be informed about my academic career thus far. I’m almost certainly overthinking it.

  • Things that have been good: asking for edits on my McNair report, finalizing my list of schools.
  • Things that have not been good: contacting recommenders.

3) Build discipline and be creatively strategic
I’ve made a large calendar/timeline and pinned it to the wall above my bed to track my progress on grad school applications. This is helping me track time a little better, though I’m still struggling a bit. I’m a little behind my deadlines, but I still have time to catch up.

  • Things that have been good: playing phone games and using apps to study.
  • Things that have not been good: wonky sleep schedule.

Planning the Next Month:

What am I working on going forward?
1) Need to keep monitoring my sugars and moving around more.

2) I need to get the doc done and make asks to the professors I want recommendations from. I need to send essay drafts to folks who’ve agreed to help me revise them.

3) I need to get back on GRE studying and language learning. I definitely need to work on keeping to my timeline, and get things done for grad apps: my all in date is November 15, which is coming up fast.

 

Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions about grad school apps, I’m all ears!

See all of the Groundhog Day Resolutions posts here.

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