Month in Review + 1st Year PhD Thoughts | May 2019


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Happy June, friends! It's beginning to finally look like summer here in Madison and I'm so excited for all of the summer shenanigans to begin! This past month, my biggest achievement was finishing my first year of graduate school - whew!

The last couple weeks of the semester were a crazy time of working too much, burning out, and subsequent couch potato status but now I feel like I’m a little bit back to my old self! The warm weather doesn’t hurt either :) Since I’ve been through the academic ringer this past year, I thought I’d share a couple of my thoughts from my first year as a PhD student - at first I thought I’d write about “things I learned” but let’s be real, my brain is usually such a whirlwind of chaos that these are really just random thoughts on my first year :P

  • No one can quite prepare you for what it's like to pursue a PhD. Before starting my PhD, I was warned time and time again of the stress and work and pressure that comes with both a PhD and academic professions. I read every book I could get my hands on and interviewed every PhD student I knew to get a feel for whether this was something I truly wanted to pursue. Despite all of that prep work, there was still really nothing that could have prepared me for being a PhD student because there’s really nothing quite like it (in both the good and the bad). I wasn’t really prepared for how confused and frustrated I’d be throughout most of the year (since it is such an independent pursuit) and I truly didn’t understand how difficult it’d be to maintain some semblance of work-ilfe balance during the busier times of the semester : /

  • Anxiety is a real thing. I reeeeeaaaaally thought that I’d managed to train most of my social anxiety out of my system. I grew up a super shy kid and throughout high school and college, my social anxiety continued to decrease - so, naturally -I thought it would only keep decreasing as I got older. I was wrong. I honestly can’t quite pinpoint the exact reason why my anxiety has skyrocketed since beginning my PhD (likely a combination of many things) but I think it often stems from being told to do things that I have no idea how to do which brings up all kinds of feelings of incompetence.

  • Just because everyone else is working 24/7 doesn’t mean you also have to work 24/7. This is something I’m still trying to talk myself into! I’m one of those people who really can’t focus for more than 5-6 hours in a day. Even when I try to work more than that, the first 5 hours of my work day are about 100000x more productive. I’m a part of a very hard-working cohort and I often feel pressure to work later at night and all the time on weekends. I’m still working on reminding myself that I’m a human, not a robot :)

Anyhoo, if you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for listening to my PhD-related rambles :) Hope your May was absolutely wonderful and thanks as always for reading!

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Effortless Business Casual


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Top: Express / Jeans: American Eagle / Wallet: Michael Kohrs / Nails: Revon / Earrings: Target / Lipstick: Colour Pop

Top: Express / Jeans: American Eagle / Wallet: Michael Kohrs / Nails: Revon / Earrings: Target / Lipstick: Colour Pop

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As much as I try to forget my time in the corporate world of downtown Chicago, there is one thing that it did teach me - how to rock a business casual look while also still being as lazy as possible because that commute is rough! It's amazing how much your personal style is influenced by your workplace and the city in which you live. Since I couldn’t really function in heels, I lived in flats all through my time in Chicago. Now that I’m back in laid-back Madison, I live in boat shoes and flip flops! 

When I started working in downtown Chicago, I was a little intimidated by the thought of having to dress up more for work. I’ve been lucky enough to work for a lot of very chill startups with zero dress code so I didn’t have much experience with “business casual” attire! What I love about style is that it can change with you as your experiences shape the way you grow and the person you become. My time in a corporate big city world infused a little bit of business casual into my personal style but it definitely errs on the side of casual since it’s no longer a requirement! 

How has your personal style changed over time? How has it been influenced by your experiences and the places you’ve lived or visited? I’d love to hear your thoughts!