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:

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Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: July Check-In

I did not post for June, as you may have noticed, and that reflects how thoroughly overwhelmed I felt at the time. I was wrapping up classes and working on final essays, and really trying to finish up too many things at once, especially without meds. I did manage to finally refill my meds, but it happened just before finals, and I ended up scrambling to finish what I could. Not the best showing I’ve ever given for a term, to be honest. I did present my preliminary research findings in May, though, and you can see the poster I made for the Undergraduate Student Research Symposium here.

Now for the resolution review:

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Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: May Check-In

There’s been a whirlwind of activity here. I make frequent promises to myself that I will stop saying yes to every possible opportunity or commitment that comes my way, but I fail to uphold that more than I succeed. This is partially because I usually manage to pull things together, even if it’s stressful and difficult—and it usually is both. I feel deeply blessed to have spent another year on the Queer Students of Color Conference organizing committee, and I’m so grateful for the beauty and joy and connection of the weekend, and I’m really glad it’s over now. Juggling 17 credits’s worth of reading and writing, while helping plan a 3-day conference, conducting archival research, singing in a choir, and taking a sight-reading class was a lot to manage.

Classes proceed apace, with only a few hiccoughs, mostly based on a terrible insurance snafu leading to an indefinite delay in refilling my meds, combined with ongoing sleep schedule issues. I’m hoping to rally post-conference, and get back out in front of work.

Now for the resolution review:

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Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: April Check-In

I glutened myself this past weekend, so I’m in recovery/detox mode: joint aches, headaches, back pain, ultra fatigued… It’s the worst—I was in too much pain to fall asleep Saturday night, tossing and turning for hours, and struggled to sleep the next night as well. If last year is any indication, I’ll be recovering at least the rest of this week, and possibly longer, which is gonna make the start of term way harder that it would otherwise have been.

Yesterday was the first day of classes. So far, my classes look great, though I’m a bit worried about being able to balance the workload. I know I complain about it every year, but spring break is just not long enough! I really wish they would shift the spring term out a week and give us two weeks of break. The end of last term was hard, and I spent the break catching up on work that’s been left by the wayside during the term, and now I’m dealing with health issues from gluten. I’m already feeling a little burnt out, and the term has just started. I’d appreciate any well wishes or woo you want to send into the universe on my behalf, because I cannot afford to drop the ball this term: I’m running out of financial aid, and this is my second to last term.

I registered for graduation (they charge $30 to register, plus a $2 processing fee!), signed up for commencement, and ordered my regalia. I also signed up for the pre-commencement Lavender Graduation ceremony (through the Queer Resource Center) and the Multicultural Graduation (through the Multicultural Resource Centers and ethnic identity studies departments), so I can get the kente and rainbow stoles to wear to commencement. It feels a little silly, since I won’t actually have finished all my courses and graduated until end of summer, but I’ve been assured that several people will be quite grumpy with me if they don’t get the chance to cheer and take pictures of me walking, so I’m doing it. Trying not to stress too much about it—it’s not for a couple of months, anyway. For now, I’m just focusing on finishing these classes. Wish me luck!

This month’s resolution review is below the cut; reading it, you may notice that I spent a lot of money on tools to increase my chances of succeeding this term, along with the funds I spent on graduation and commencement stuff. Because I’m at the end of my financial aid, money’s tight this term; if you can, please donate to help me cover food and protect my health so I can finish up my bachelor’s degree and apply to graduate programs. I have a research stipend over the summer and I’ll be looking for a job after I finish up, but I need to focus on school and research now, so I can get into a strong, fully-funded program in my field. To help out, you can donate through https://cash.me/$tdudleypdx, or you can buy my poetry album. I really appreciate the support—thanks.

Now for the resolution review:

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Groundhog Day 2017 Resolutions: March Check-In

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:)

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Groundhog Day Resolutions 2017

Just like that, I blew right past Feb 2nd. Schoolwork and life balance got messy last week, and I got caught up in writing papers and reading for class and practicing for choir and planning my research and…

Well, better late than never, I suppose. This is my third year, and if this resolution system has taught me anything it’s that I can be flexible about post dates to prioritize my health and wellbeing. So, without further ado, the goals:

  1. Practice self-care and express self-compassion: always a priority, and too easy to neglect; maybe some day I won’t need to include it in my resolutions, but for this year, it stays. Activities associated with this are reading and writing poetry, building a meditation practice, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and cooking meals ahead to heat-and-eat when I’m busy or low energy. I’ve been using the Pacifica app and the Calm app for the last 3 weeks, and will be trying to keep up with that—so far, they’ve helped me reframe frustrations at home, give my body space for rest during the day, and get to sleep at night.
  2. Ask for support and use my resources: I tend to get wrapped up in my head and anxious about asking for help when I need it. I also struggle to remember that there are resources available to make things manageable for me, both accommodations I am entitled to through the Disability Resource Center on campus, and as a student of the university. This will be especially vital this year, because I am taking 15 credits this term, 17 next term, and then completing original history research and submitting an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal—lots of knowledge and new experiences coming my way! Things to focus on in this area include asking my faculty mentor for assistance and feedback, emailing professors and teaching fellows with my questions, utilizing faculty office hours, keep in contact with previous professors for research and grad school app support, and study and connect with other students in McNair and my classes.
  3. Build discipline and be creatively strategic: I experience a lot of resistance in completing my work, often starting with perfectionism, stalling from overwhelm, stressing myself into a corner, and then powering through to finish my work at the last second, sleep-deprived and panicky. This is not a healthy, happy, or effective system. I need to find ways to start early, sustain effort, squish my perfectionist urge, and produce work on time. I need to think creatively about problems when they first come up, and not give in to procrastination. Focus areas here are things like creating reward systems, finding or making accountability structures, setting reminders, breaking big things up into small doable chunks, tracking and managing sources/data, and streamlining workflows for timely completion. Lots of weird process stuff that will (hopefully) help prepare me for grad school and the life of an academic researcher.

So, those are my 2017 Resolutions! With luck (and discipline) this year looks to be an amazing and expansive one for me, and I hope these resolutions help me make the most of every opportunity. By the last review of the year, I will be done with my undergrad, have at least one published research article, and will be sending applications into grad schools across (and maybe beyond!) the US.

Some possible tools to help me stay on top of these goals: the 100 Days of Productivity challenge, the Unstuck app (which I still don’t use enough), Zotero, Trello, Evernote, Scrivener, GRE Prep, Dave Seah’s amazing productivity tools, Structured Procrastination, and the studyblr community on Tumblr.

Resolution Review posts should go up on 3 March, 4 April, 5 May, 6 June, 7 July, 8 August, 9 September, 10 October, 11 November, and 12 December, and will show up under the GHDR 2017 tag. If you want to see those as they come out, just click the button under Follow Blog via Email to subscribe!

 

Over to you: what are your resolutions for the year? Do any of mine speak to you? If you don’t formally set resolutions, what are you hoping to achieve this year?