Monday, September 17, 2018

Grad School Reflections, Summer Semester

It's crazy that I'm already 1/3 of the way through my masters degree at the University of Georgia. Just typing that gave me chills!
grad school lessons

If you haven't read my "what's next" post that I published before I graduated, I am currently working towards earning a Master of Market Research degree at UGA. My program is a year long and is focused on preparing us to jump into the industry as soon as we graduate. I started in June, 3 weeks after graduating with my Bachelors (!!!!), and finished the first semester in July. My cohort took 10.5 credit hours in what ended up being about 6 weeks. I have never experienced a more hectic summer! I'm now a month into my fall semester and things are flying so I wanted to take the time to document my first semester.

// Change is HARD //

I experienced more changes in the course of a month than I had probably since moving to college four years ago, if not more. I moved, graduated (yes I moved before graduating), went home, came back, got settled, dealt with a whole host of apartment issues, and started school. While most people don't experience this much this quickly while transitioning to grad school, it's still a big change. I felt the most adult I ever had, but also like a scared freshman all over again. I'm "off the payroll" for the first time in my life and having to pay bills and manage finances, but I was (read as: still am) getting lost and turned around on campus. 

// Self care is ESSENTIAL // 

It's easy to get burned out in undergrad, but I experienced burn out so much faster during my first semester. Now this is in a large part due to the fact that I did not have much time to recover from the burnout of my last semester of undergrad, but no matter how long you have before starting, grad school is crazy demanding. There is always something you should be doing - reading, getting ahead, etc. I had to work really hard to prioritize taking care of myself, instead of trying to have it all together.

// It's OKAY to Ask for Help //

Asking for help has never, ever been something I have been good at. I'm fiercely independent and stubborn and hate looking weak or incompetent. What a combination right? 9 times out of 10 I will choose to suffer in silence just to prove to myself that I can. But that's not healthy or sustainable. This summer I hit a breaking point and finally asked for help. Whether it's in school or personal life, it's never easy. But it is so, so necessary. And I am very thankful that I got over myself in order to ask.

// Comparison Kills //

We've all heard that comparison is the thief of joy, but it's also a huge cause of unnecessary worry and stress. I have a very small cohort and everyone is brilliant and amazing. I very quickly fell down the rabbit hole of comparing myself to everyone else. So and so spent hours on this assignment and I didn't. I probably screwed it up and am going to get a bad grade. They present so well, I'm a terrible public speaker, this is going to be awful. They're also so qualified, I have no experience, what the heck am I doing here? These are a tiny sampling of the negative self talk I experienced this summer. In such a small group, comparison is a very easy trap to get into. I am still struggling with it, but have gotten a little better at realizing that I have my own strengths that others don't and they have strengths that I don't, and that's okay.

// Offer Assistance Whenever Possible //

This sort of builds on my last two points. Everyone needs help sometimes and we all have different strengths, so it's important to offer to help. I am very thankful for classmates who helped me before I realized I needed it and I have tried to return the favor for others. I am going into a very small industry, so the connections I form this year are going to be important for the rest of my career. Just as I want to be able to take help from others, I want to be able to offer it as well.

// Slow Mornings are Everything //

I got into a great morning routine over the summer, though I have fallen out of it some this fall. I would wake up and immediately open my Bible and devotional. It was such a great way to build my day on what is important. From there I would make my bed, make coffee and breakfast, and take my time getting ready. Starting off relaxed in the morning was so much better for me than when I was frantically running around like a crazy person during my last semester of undergrad.

These are a few things that I learned during my first semester of grad school, I hope you enjoyed reading them. I'm going to try to do a better job of keeping updates of grad school on here. Do you have any advice for surviving grad school or post grad? I'd love to hear it!

Friday, May 18, 2018

3 Years

Three years ago, I took a leap and did something I had been wanting to do for a long time. I launched this blog. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that I loved writing, found blogs fascinating, and there weren't many blogs that were realistic to the place I was at in life. All of that is still true. 

I've learned a lot along the way. Blogging is a lot more complicated than it looks. From graphic design, photography, website design, social media promotion, even just coming up with post ideas, there is a lot that goes into it. Honestly, all of that other stuff gets in my head and keeps me from doing what I originally set out to do - use my words to help other girls who didn't see someone that represented them online. 

A lot has changed in 3 years, I've been through the rest of my college career, figured out what I want to do, had some of the most trying times of my life, gotten into graduate school, graduated college, and so much more. My little corner of the internet has grown with me. It got a new look and has gotten close to 20,000 page views, which may be daily views for some people, but I find it really impressive. I have had the opportunity to work with some great brands and connected with other bloggers, like sweet Katie, who not only came to Clemson, but also became my sorority sister! 

I have been really conflicted on whether I want to keep my blog going in this next season of life. Seeing all these big time bloggers who started their blogs after I started mine or even other college bloggers with large followings can be disheartening. However, that's all part of this comparison game we play. Other people's success is not my failure. Their social media perfection is a highlight reel, just like mine is. So I'm really excited to keep this website going and figure out the direction I want to take it as I transition into grad school then adult life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

What's Next?

I graduate college in less than one month.
I'm sorry WHAT?!?!?!! I have no idea where the time has gone. I was hoping this semester would slow down, but it has turned out to be the fastest one yet. 

Over the past few months (years really), I have gotten the same question more times than I can count, the question that every graduating senior dreads: so, what's next?
It seems like from the time that we start thinking about college, we're meant to have a plan. Well meaning friends and family want to know where you want to go to college, then what you want to do after that - grad school, job. People so easily forget that they were once 21 without a plan. Even still, that question is wrapped up with so much shame and fear. At least it is for me and a lot of people I know. I think to explain this well, I have to give a little background about myself.

I went to an amazing private high school were I received a fantastic education. Due to the high standard of excellence of the school, most graduates are interested in Ivy Leagues or prestigious liberal arts colleges. When I chose to go to Clemson, most people had not heard of it and had no idea how great of a school it is. I also chose to major in psychology, because I've always been fascinated by how people think and behave. From the second I said that people assumed one of two things about me: 1) I am not that smart and wanted to major in something "easy" in college, or 2) even if I did well at my degree, it is a useless degree and I would have to pursue higher education in order to make a halfway decent living. 

It is a terrifying thing to be told at 18 that your degree is not going to be worth much. I have always placed a high value on my intelligence and education. Being told that my degree was useless made me feel useless. In order to change people's minds about the first part, I made up my mind that I was going to go to med school to become a psychiatrist. But that wasn't me, never was. I realized that, but still had no idea what was the right path for me. 

Fall of my junior year, I started to find it. I chose a business minor because of its practicality the year before, but last fall I took my first marketing class. My eyes opened to a whole new field, an intersection of psychology and business. I was hooked. In the spring, I took consumer behavior and my fascination continued to grow. My professor introduced me to the idea of pursuing a graduate degree in marketing research. 

I was hesitant to go down a completely different path than I set out on at 18. I didn't want to confirm the uselessness of my degree, but I could not deny how much I love this field. I drug my feet while applying because I doubted my capability, a product of the doubt I received from others in the past. Eventually, I got it together and nervously pressed submit on my application.

With shock, amazement, and glory to God, I will be pursuing a Master's of Market Research at the University of Georgia starting in June! This is my dream program and I am so excited for the next year. 

But guess what? After I get my master's, I don't know what's next.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Staying Organized for Midterms

Hi friends!!
We are in that CRAZY time of the semester where there is so much going on and spring break seems to still be forever away. As midterms come, I feel myself going a little bit crazy. Tests in every class, papers, assignments, social life, whatever else, it all seems to be SO much!

Today, I'm going to share with you how I've been managing to keep myself sane with help from Kahootie Co. If you've never heard of Kahootie, they make the absolute cutest planners and stationary products to help keep life on track. They were nice enough to send me their Two Category To Do List and y'all, it is a game changer!

I've talked about it a ton before, but I swear by the Simplified Planner because it has a daily to do list. I love that I can write down a million things every day and never run out of room. The only problem I run into is that I don't have a big weekly overview of all of the things I need to get accomplished this week. Enter Kahootie's Double To Do list.


For the past couple weeks, I take some time at the start of the week to just brain dump every single thing I need to accomplish or turn in during the week. I use the first column of the Double To Do list to write down all of my assignments, chores, and other random tasks to do this week. I use the second column to detail out bigger projects. For example, this week, I am going to an academic conference to present research. So I used the second to do list last week to list all of the things I needed to do before the conference. This week, I used the second to do list as a packing list for the conference.

Being able to see two lists at once really helps me stay organized for the week. I'm able to reference my longer list in order to plan each day and see what I still need to do. Having this big to do list would also be helpful to write out what's coming up next week, separating work and school, work and chores/errands, or so many other combinations. It can be really be whatever you need it to be and you can change it from page to page, which I think is awesome.


Kahootie has helped me better manage the chaos of all I’ve got going on. What do you do to stay on top of everything during midterms?