Traveling in Grad School: You Can Do It

It’s my favorite time of the year, summer! As a grad student, you tend to favor summers more than any other semester. 1) You won’t have to push through a ton of undergrads to get to your lab. 2) The gym is finally empty so you can workout in peace. And 3) it means your adviser is probably gone for a bit so you can take some time off. If you decide to take time off and go on vacation, I highly suggest doing it during the summer when things are a tad bit slower. Traveling in grad school during this time can be super great and a bit stressful. So today, I want to cover the topic of traveling in grad school and how you can do it without going insane lol.

traveling in grad school

Why You Need To Travel

Life is more than sitting at a computer and doing stupid work until 5 pm. Life is about going into the unknown, exploring what is there, and enjoying everything about this experience. You are more than a grad student, you are a human being. Life is quite a weird thing and you need to enjoy every bit of it. Traveling is one way of doing this. Now, in grad school, you are very limited on the type of traveling that you can do. Money constraints, work load constraints, and everything else in between. So, traveling to far away places might not be on your list of things to do. You can, however, explore the location in which you live. Traveling doesn’t always mean going somewhere far away. It can mean exploring the area where you live.

Traveling is important because you experience new things. You get to remove yourself from the day to day stresses that keep you up at night. Heck, you might just be traveling to see friends or family. This can be a huge stress reliever that adds years back to your life. If you decide to travel outside of the country you live in, you’re bound to be introduced to new lifestyles, cultural differences, and some pretty gosh darn good food. The best thing that you could possibly do is travel while in grad school. You learn so much about yourself and others this way.

traveling home in grad school

Traveling Home

Some of you are going to school pretty far away from where you grew up. For me, I only live about 2 hours away from home, so it is a quick and easy drive home for me. For others, you might be thousands of miles away. I know many students in my department that are from other countries. It’s not so easy being able to travel to see family, especially with plane tickets going up. If you are someone that has to travel a pretty far distance to go home, I have a bit of advice.

First, plan out your trip very far in advance. This serves many purposes. You will find better tickets for plan rides home for one. You can give plenty of heads up to your adviser. Remember, you still are doing research throughout summer. Planning out far in advance also allows you get enough work done so you are stressed about working when you get home. Spending time with family is important and you don’t want to be working the entire time.

traveling to a far away place in grad school

Traveling Somewhere Else

You may be taking time off to go and travel somewhere else and go on vacation. In this case, really plan this out to make sure that you are not working at all. Vacations are extremely important to take while in grad school. If you want to read more about why, check out my post about it (here). Also, if you would like to know some locations where you should visit, check out my post about those (here). I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel to amazing places that I think everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime.

Make sure to really plan out everything if you are traveling somewhere new. Make sure all tickets are bought, passports up to date, and hotels booked. Doing this far ahead will make the whole trip smooth and stress free. The point of traveling is to reduce stress and explore. You don’t want to be more stressed.

Traveling in Grad School on a Budget

I think the absolute best part about traveling in grad school is traveling on a budget. Yes, you are poor. If you aren’t, please send me some money lol. Anyway, if you are like most people in grad school, you’re pretty poor. This does not mean you can’t have the best trip of your life. It simply means that you have to put a bit of effort into making the most of it, on limited amounts of money. This makes trips very fun. I would love to have unlimited money and go everywhere, but that’s not realistic and I find limiting the amount of money spent on a trip is actually better. You may need to stay in a hostel if you are traveling abroad. This is actually my go to because you get to stay at some cool places, and meet amazing people. Most of the people going to hostels are the same age as you and trying to make the most of life. It is a great place to meet life long friends.

You also get to experience what it’s really like at that location. For example, I went to China right after graduating undergrad. I was on a very tight budget which didn’t allow me to get taxi rides everywhere or hop on planes each week to go to far away places. No, I had to walk everywhere and use the subway. BTW the subways in china are amazing and cheap. This forced me to completely immerse myself in everything there was in the city. I had to interact with the locals, find my way around a foreign place, and learn to handle being out of my comfort zone.

preparing to travel in grad school

How to Prepare

So here are a few things to consider when preparing to travel anywhere while in grad school. These are things that I personally do which have helped me a ton. Hopefully they work for you as well.

  1. Get plane tickets early
  2. Try and get a travel buddy if going out of the country. Traveling alone might be scary, especially if it’s your first time.
  3. Notify your adviser that you are taking time off and for how long. They will more than likely be Ok with you taking time off.
  4. Book hotels or hostels early. Try not to wait for the last minute, especially if you are traveling during the time of a major holiday. (trust me).
  5. Get most of your work done so you won’t have to worry about anything.
  6. Before leaving, pack for the weather. Wearing shorts in the middle of winter in Beijing is not advised…
  7. Make sure your pets are taken care of.
  8. Plan out a budget and give some wiggle room. If you stick to a budget that’s too tight, you won’t have as much fun.
  9. Do research on where you are going. If it’s home, you know what’s there. If it’s somewhere you’ve never been, find cool things about it and go do them.
  10. Make sure your passport is up to date.
  11. Plan out how to get to the airport. Uber can be expensive but friends can be bribed with food ;p
  12. Tell someone close about where you are going, for how long, and everything about what you are doing. Have them check in with you to make sure you are ok while away.
  13. When planning out things to do, don’t cram a million things into each day.
  14. Allow yourself to get excited.
traveling in grad school: you deserve it

Go On Vacation, You Deserve it.

Please, please, please, go travel somewhere this summer, or fall (if you are reading this in the fall). You deserve a break from academia every once in a while. It is healthy for you to leave the work and go enjoy life. Work will always be there. in fact, leave it there and never come back lol. Man, sometimes I wish I could.

Don’t feel like you need to spend all of your time working on your doctorate. In fact, doing so is actually hurting you. The benefits of taking time off and doing literally anything but work outweigh staying in the office and doing one more thing.

Final Thoughts

For those traveling this summer, let me know in the comments where you are going. I am heading to the Florida Keys in July to go fishing for a week. My family does this each year and it really is needed in my life lol. It will be the last vacation I take before I buckle down for the long write (thesis writing). My defense is coming up quickly so I want to make sure everything is ready. I will need this vacation to rejuvenate myself before I write each day for like 10-12 hours and prepare my dissertation.

I hope you guys get to travel somewhere cool and I also hope that you are having an awesome day! Thank you for reading my post and I hope to see you in the next one. Peace!

Surround Yourself With Success

I have met a ton of people in my life. I have made friendships and have ended friendships. And if you are anything like me, or like literally every other person, you have probably done the same. For me, I have gotten to a stage in my life where I am focusing on quality over quantity. As you get older, your friend group tends to shrink. You will have many acquaintances, but very little close friends. Of course, there are always exceptions, but for the most part, your friend group will shrink. This is why finding quality friends and being able to surround yourself with success is optimal, especially when pursuing an advanced degree.

Grad School

Grad school will introduce you to some brilliant individuals. You will meet a ton of like minded individuals as well as many people who may have differing views. Grad school is also a great time to surround yourself with people that will help with your success. The 2 to 8 years in grad school will fly by so quickly that you might not have too much time to prepare for what comes afterwards. This is why it is so important to start early by finding people that will help you along the journey and help you achieve your goals.

surround yourself with success

Surround Yourself With Successful People

If you want to achieve your goals, surround yourself with people that will help you along the way. These people will provide you will the support and care that you need. Grad school is hard. Being alone for most of the day and working on stuff that you know very little about is hard. This is why a really good support system is need to keep you going. I have gotten to the point where the people in my life are there for a reason. They are all really great friends to have with qualities that make them really stand out. I have friends that encourage my blog posts, friends that help keep me in shape, heck, I have friends that just talk fishing with me. Each one has changed me as an individual and made me a much better person.

It is important to surround yourself with people that will help you but it equally as important to help them. For example, many of my friends are grad students and have similar problems that I have. They trust me enough to come to me and talk through these problems. I provide a great service, even if it is just me listening. Just simple acts like this can benefit their life and make you an overall exceptional contribution to their lives.

successful people

Here are a few things that help you surround yourself with success:

1) Find individuals that have similar passions or goals.

This is great because then you can bounce off each other and achieve your goals together. One example for grad students is writing. Make friends with the people that also need to write. You can keep each other accountable, and next thing you know, you both have written your dissertation in a reasonable amount of time. This is a great example of surrounding yourself with success and also being that “successful person” that the other person needs in their life.

2) Just talk with people and see if they have something that benefits your life.

I do not mean just use them to benefit your own life, I mean find good qualities in their life that will help to benefit yours. They can just be a really positive person and that can give you the boost to see the good in life. The person may just love to cook or something and you love to cook. It gives you something to bond over and hone your skills together. Everyone can offer something. Of course many people have different things to offer such as being a partier or maybe they do illegal things. It might be wise to not surround yourself with people like them.

3) Put yourself out there and see who you attract.

This might be a good way of understanding the type of person people see you as. You may think you are a positive person 100% of the time and then attract a lot of negative people. It might actually be good to see this and maybe reevaluate your goals and the type of person you are. Put good out in the world and you will receive good.

4) Go to events that help you succeed.

You will meet a ton of people that want to be successful at events such as conventions, workshops, anything professional related, stuff like that. Of course you can meet a ton of these people elsewhere, but this is a location where it’s pretty dense with possibly like minded and beneficial friends. I go to grad events to meet other grads because I want to surround myself with similar individual. This helps my success. Going to bars, you may find these people but they are harder to find.

5) Lastly, understand that it takes time.

It may take you the whole 2 to 8 years of grad school to find the right people to surround yourself with. This is totally ok. It is not a race to see how many friends you have. It’s about finding quality and that takes time sometimes. I was fortunate to find very helpful and just plain fun individuals to spend my time with. Some people may take longer to find their niche, but it will happen.

Final Thoughts

Surround yourself with success! Everyone wants to grow as individuals and this is a sure-fire way to do just that. This blog post turned out to almost be an appreciation post to my friends. This is also an appreciation post to my audience as well. I have surrounded myself with writers and blogs, and dare I say it, friends. Those in my life and those on the internet have molded me into who I am today. Without everyone’s love, support, and guidance, I wouldn’t be as fortunate as I am today. Thank you all.

How to Start Each Morning

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Mornings can be really rough for a ton of people. Grad students are no exception. In fact, I’d say most of them have rough mornings since they know they have to get up and work lol. I am one of the lucky ones who is a morning person. This was also solidified when I got a cat (cat owners know what I am talking about). Mornings are a great time to get most of the stuff done for the day so you can relax/ not work as hard the rest of the day. Here are ways to start each morning.

I found that a routine has helped to boost my productivity in the morning as well as set the mood for the entire day. Starting your day off right can really put you in a good mood, and when you’re in a good mood, every one wins! Here are a few things that I do that really help to start the day off on a positive note.

Black Android Smartphones on Brown Wooden Surface

1) Do not check your phone as soon as you wake up

When you wake up, make sure you do not immediately get on your phone and start scrolling through social media. There’s a great post about how social media in the morning is terrible for your mental state (link here). I personally try and stay off social media because I know I will start my day with either bad news or some form of jealousy. Everyone online is posting their achievements which causes one to feel like they aren’t “living their best life”. You are living an amazing life, but it is hard to realize this if you are on social media. Start your day on a positive note and stay off social media.

Cheerful elderly man listening to music in headphones

2) Set your alarm to a fun tune

Now I recommend doing this often and do not set your alarm to a song you really enjoy. If you like a song, making it an alarm tune can cause you to overhear it as well as associate it with waking up. This may cause you to absolutely hate it later. I suggest having an upbeat song that gets you ready for the day. It doesn’t have to make you want to dance, but it should make you want to get up and not fall back to sleep. Upbeat music is always a great way to start the day.

Person Writing on White Paper

3) Do a bit of journaling

Write every day! Journaling is a great way to start the day because you can write about anything ad get those creative juices going! Personally, I spend my mornings writing blog posts. This has helped significantly because I can write awesome blogs, get the ball rolling for writing later, and also share my little world with the rest of you. If you are into dreams and remembering the dreams you had last night, journaling is the way to go. Immediately write down as much as you can remember as soon as you wake.

From above of round marble textured table with tea set placed near newspaper and eyeglasses in retro style cafe

4) Only read positive news articles

Nothing ruins your day faster then reading bad news. Go to websites like onlygoodnewsdaily or today for really good news. This will make your day sooooo much better. Reading about war, famine, COVID, death, destruction, and everything else the media puts out there can cause unwanted stress and anxiety. That is why I start my day with positive news.

Orange Tabby Cat Beside Fawn Short-coated Puppy

5) Play with your furry friend

Your pets are extremely important. Thanks to quarantine, staying home with your furry friends has been a common thing. I truly think people are a bit happier because of it. Taking the time to play with them in the morning is so good because they need love and positivity too. I always play with my cat in the morning because I know I won’t see him for most of the day. I always feel so happy seeing my buddy casing after the string or climbing the shelves that I have for him. It is a great way to start the day.

Person Performing Coffee Art

6) Drink a nice cup of coffee

Some people are down right mean until they get coffee. Some magical substance in coffee just makes people way happier in the morning (definitely caffeine). If you aren’t a coffee drinker, I suggest tea. Sometimes these are essential in order to start the day. For me, this is 100% true. I have quite a few blogs about my coffee addiction as well as my favorite types of coffee (link here). Go check them out.

Woman in Red Dress Standing Beside Woman in Green Blazer

7) Count your blessings

This is something I have started doing. I feel like I take advantage of all of the thigs I have in my life. I always seem to want more, more, more. Instead of that, focus on the things you have, like health, a roof over your head, people that love you, coffee, this blog, your pets, energy to wake up, and most importantly that you are alive. I take advantage of all of these things but I know take time to realize how lucky I am to be given this amazing opportunity at life. No amount of money or status will be better than being appreciative of what I do have.

Woman Practicing Yoga

8) Meditate

This is a wonderful thing to do, but only after you actually got up. Meditation in the morning can be tricky because you could potentially fall back to sleep. I still recommend doing it in the morning after waking up because you will feel amazing. Your mind will be clear, you’ll be more alert, and overall in a great mood. Try it out and see if it works for you. If you want to learn how, check out my blog post on meditation (link here). Those blogs have some great advice on getting started.

Two 2 Kg. Blue Hex Dumbbells on White Surface

9) Exercise

I used to go to the gym at 6 am and would highly recommend it! I felt more alive afterwards than I had ever felt. Something about getting sweaty in the morning really changes your whole day. I think knowing that I got something challenging out of the way first thing in the morning made me realize that the hard part is done. Also, I was more alert and highly productive. I will try again to start working out in the mornings.

Boy in Gray Jacket Reading Book

10) Read a book

Just read anything that isn’t social media. Reading books in the morning will help to boost creativity and is also just an awesome way to start your day. If you don’t like to read, try and Audible book. I have a list of my all time favorite books that I listened too (link here). Getting involved in a good story is an amazing way to turn a morning into an amazing day.

Mornings can be a bit hectic sometimes, especially if you love sleep. I highly suggest, in this case, taking it easy and just trying one or two of these things that are mentioned above. You will start to notice that your days seem a lot better. Let me know what your morning routine is. I would love to update this blog post with even more suggestions.

Hobbies in Grad School to Try

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Grad school is an amazing experience that many people will go through. Yes, it is tough and you may experience some dark times, but that is part of the journey. I mean, look back at every adventure movie that you’ve seen. There is always a moment where the protagonist is having a very rough time. Think of grad school as an adventure. I often pretend like I am in Lord of the Rings and each hardship is just one step closer to getting to Mordor. With these journeys, you will need helpful tools to keep you motivated. Hobbies can help. Here are a few hobbies to do in grad school.

Unless you really love your research and school, you probably won’t be spending your whole existence doing grad assignments and work. You need other things to preoccupy your time as well as spark joy in your life. Hobbies are the answer. Everyone has a hobby, whether they know it or not. Some people really enjoy cooking ( I am included in this). Other’s may love to do sports related activities. Hobbies can be anything that brings enjoyment.

Why Pick up Hobbies in Grad School?

It is essential to pick up hobbies while in grad school, heck, even just in life, period. It brings a ton of joy and allows you time to relax, which is extremely important. I want to share a list of hobbies that you can take up in grad school which I believe are extremely beneficial to keeping you sane, as well as spark happiness in your life since these are pretty dark times for all of us.

Which Hobbies to Pick Up in Grad School?

Today, I want to list out 6 different hobbies in grad school that I truly believe are amazing to pick up. I do most of these and can assure you that they are amazing stress relievers as well as just fun. As I said above, these can be dark and stressful times. you need something to help keep your mind off of negatives and something to really make you want to get up in the morning. I hope you are able to pick up a few of these.

1. Cooking

Woman In The Kitchen Preparing To Cook

Everyone by now understands the importance of eating healthy foods. It is extremely important for your overall well being to eat stuff other than pizza. Cooking allows you to make those things as well as learn a very valuable skill. I find cooking to be quite therapeutic as well, as long as you aren’t in a restaurant or on Iron Chef lol. It gives you about an hour out of your busy day to just focus on one task. Also, cooking is a great way to impress your friends as well as a date!

2. Wood Carving

Gray and White Penguin Decoration

This hobby is one of my favorites that I took up when Covid first started. I make small figurines just from a piece of wood and a knife. It is a fairly cheap hobby to take up and you will spend hours and hours creating some really cook figurines. All you need to get started are a few tools which I will link to here. If you are interested in this hobby, I highly suggest watching Doug Linker. Here is a link to his YouTube channel. He makes some of the coolest figures ever and shows you how to, step-by-step.

3.Weight Lifting

Man Carrying Barbel

If you know me, you know I absolutely love orking out. I do stadium workouts, gym workouts, and I walk everywhere. Check out those links to my other blog posts. Exercise is just like cooking and eating healthy, it allows you to take time out of your day and focus on your mid and body. You need to get moving to stay healthy, mentally and physically. This hobby is pretty easy to take up because you only need to workout an hour a day. I suggest going in the morning because it will wake you up, you’ll feel amazing afterwards, and you can start the day on a good note. Also, going to the gym after a day in the office is very difficult and it’s often crowded.

4.Learning a new language

Dictionary Text in Bokeh Effect

Being bilingual has so many benefits. Learning more than two languages will get you a career literally anywhere. Learning a new language is fairly tricky and needs a ton of work, but the benefits are amazing. This is a hobby that I just recently took up. I want to learn French because my adviser knows French and it would be cool to talk to him in his native language. I highly suggest taking up some new language such as French or Spanish. You neve know when it will come in handy.

5. Take up a sport

Man Dunking the Ball

Take up a sport while you are in school. This can include club sports, intramural sports, heck, I joined an adult kickball league. Talk about making a ton of friends, and fast. It’s great exercise and you can talk to people outside of your department. If you are not super athletic then I suggest joining intramural sports. They are a bit less competitive and you don’t have to worry about being the best. I did flag football with a ton of grad students right before Covid ruined everything. We never won a game but had the best time of our lives. I made a ton of friends and lasting memories. Currently, I play co-ed kickball. We start our next season in a month so I am excited to play again.

6. Blog

Person Holding Turned-on Silver Laptop Computer

Blogging has become my newest, and most favorite, hobby. I am starting to see how my blogging is helping others, not just in the US, but all around the world. Blogging is extremely therapeutic, see my post about it here, and has been so helpful in my journey to cope with anxiety. Blogging is a great way to just lay out all of your thoughts from the day and let them go. If you are interested in blogging as a hobby or as a way to earn a side income, I highly suggest watching Income School on YouTube, here’s a link to their channel. You may be very specialized in a field, and by blogging, you can help thousands of people with their problems. I help with mental health in grad school. Other people help by putting up reviews for campers. Both are valid blog niches lol.

Final Thoughts

These are 6 hobbies that I truly believe are helpful in grad school. What types of hobbies do you do? I am always looking for things to try and I know people reading these blogs are also looking for hobby ideas. Post them in the comments!

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog posts. You guys are just amazing and supportive. Until the next one, peace!!!

How to Deal With Anxiety Caused by Covid: My Grad School Experience

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We are in the worst pandemic that probably any of us will see in our lifetime. It has been a year and a half since states started to shut down and that’s so crazy to realize. Honestly, the beginning of quarantine was amazing. People started actually spending time with their families. We had Tiger King to binge watch. Bread making was at an all-time high, and toilet paper production was at an all-time low. Those were simpler times. After a while, though, isolation started to take its toll on our mental health. I remember talking to my therapist and she asked how Covid affected my mental state. I hadn’t even considered that was a major issue until she asked. She then told me something that really surprised me. Most of her clients were coming to her because of anxiety from covid due to isolation and just constant worry.

Woman in Black Tank Top and Black Shorts Sitting on Brown Rock

It’s a stressful time

We are all struggling with something in our lives. Now having a deadly virus, mutating, and causing hospitals to hit max capacity just adds even more anxiety to our lives. The media does not help at all. In fact, one of the best things to do is turn off your TV during this time. Just a helpful tip. But seriously, these past months have been some of the darkest for many people. People that had never experienced severe anxiety and depression are not having panic attacks because of quarantine. Grad students, especially me, are being faced with extreme uncertainty about when they will graduate or even if they will. Children are seeing their parents stress which is leading to the child to experience emotions that they shouldn’t at their age. These times are hard.

There is help

I want to urge you to get help if you are feeling any form of anxiety or depression from Covid. Getting help and understanding the main causes as well as gaining the skills to cope will help you significantly. We will see many more individuals experience mental health issues because of Covid. That’s a fact that we are starting to see. The CDC even has a page on learning how to cope with stress from Covid. Some of their recommendations, which I will share here, are as follows: Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, Meditate, Eat Healthy Food, Get Sleep, Get Vaccinated, Connect With Other (Therapy), and Help Others Cope.

Help others

I want to expound upon that last point “Help Others Cope.” We are all facing these hardships. You are not suffering alone and there are thousand, even millions, possibly billions of people that are not doing well mentally. If you have a method of coping, share that with the world. Share those methods with your neighbor who just lost their wife or husband to Covid. Share your coping methods with the child whose friends are all sick because they were forced back to school. Share these coping methods with one of your classmates who is so scared to go back to school but has to in order to graduate. Helping others is what we need to be doing. We need to share love and compassion, rather than hate.

Person Sitting on Bench Under Tree

Don’t go alone

There are so many different ways that we can get help. We need help during this time. Don’t be stubborn and think you can handle it alone. That’s when mental problems occur the most. I hope that you, the reader and my friend, will look out for yourself and others during these pretty dark times. Mental issues will be on the rise in the next few years but we can reduce the chance that will occur to us or a loved one by finding methods of coping. I started this blog to help bring peace to grad student’s anxious minds but I also want to help others who may just need a way to deal with mental pain. Please, if you are having a time, seek therapy. I can’t express this enough. Getting the help you need is such a priority. Please take care of yourselves. I love you all.

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues or anxiety from covid, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

Top 7 Phone Apps That All Grad Students Need Right Now

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We are a society that is obsessed with our phones. Everyday I walk across campus to my office and every single person I see is on their phone, doing something that seems to be the most important thing in their lives. (Probably just texting someone or scrolling through TikTok) It is almost sad to see but that is life now. So, if you can’t fight it, join it, right? Here is a list of 7 phone apps that have helped me through grad school These are apps that I will probably delete after graduation, but some I will probably keep on for as long as I have a smart phone. I recommend getting google rewards first. Many of these apps have premium versions that you can pay for by taking quick surveys on Rewards. That is how I pay for most of the premium services on my phone. This This post will have pictures too!!! HURRAYYY. I am learning to make blogs better 🙂

1. Headspace

Headspace: Meditation & Sleep - Apps on Google Play

This is a mediation app that has helped so much. I have blogged about it before and I will blog about it again lol. Trust me when I say, this is the best mediation app that is out there. You do have to pay for most of the features but it is discounted if you are a student. I believe it was around $5-$6 a year for students. Take advantage of this please.

2. Audible

Amazon.com: Audible for Fire TV: Appstore for Android

You will have a ton of time where you are waiting on experiments to finish up, data to be ran through different simulations, or even time where you should be writing but instead you would rather do anything else in the world. This is a good time to pop in your headphones and listen to a good book. I wrote about my favorite audible books here. It is $14.99 a month with membership and you get one book. I suggest going for longer books because you will definitely get your money’s worth.

3. MyRadar

How many times have you been stuck inside because of rain? Here in Florida, it happens daily so I need a good weather app to tell me when I can leave my office and not get drenched. This is my favorite weather app of all time. It has everything that you wanted and more. I use it to see when it will be the hottest during the day so I can stay inside and I also use it to see where hurricanes are moving towards so I don’t die lol.

4.Spotify with Hulu

As a student, you get many discounts and perks. One that you definitely need to jump on is the Spotify discount. I believe I pay $6 a month and I get Spotify premium as well as Hulu. You get two amazing services for really cheap and it’s totally worth it. I listen to Spotify at the gym and watch Hulu during the 30 minute time frame where my experiments are going on. This is a great deal for sure and I am glad I got it.

5.ColorNote or some other notepad app

Get yourself a note pad app. I use ColorNote because it got the best reviews, but honestly, any of them will be fine. You will have thoughts that just pop in your head all of a sudden that can help your research or maybe you just need to write something down. Do it in the note pad app. It saved my butt so many times. I walk a ton and on the walks ideas tend to just pop in my head. The app is filled with these ideas because I just write them down.

6. Alarm Clock

PSA: Oreo is causing Google Alarm Clock app to fail for some - GSMArena.com  news

This one is self explanatory. Having a good alarm clock can save your butt. I also have an Echo Dot that I tell to wake me up but having an alarm on my phone is just as helpful.

7.YouTube Vanced

I hate ads when I am watching YouTube videos. This is why I downloaded YouTube Vanced. Trust me when I say, this is the best app on this list. Ads are gone and you can listen to videos in the background. If you have unlimited internet on your phone, you can watch videos anywhere without worrying about ads. Check this one out for sure.

Final Thought

I hope you consider getting some or all of these phone apps. They truly make my life easier and I know that they will make yours easier too. If you happen to have any more suggestions, please comment them. In a few weeks, I am going to update all of my blog posts to include stuff that people have commented. I hope your day is awesome and I hope your week is even better. See you in the next one.

Moving While in Grad School: The Art of Not Going Insane

I have had to move every single year that I have been in grad school. Most of the time it was not my choice but due to some outside factor. This year is the exact same thing. Yesterday was my final day at one of the coolest places that I have lived. To say that I will miss living there is an understatement. Moving is not fun at all and can be quite stressful, especially for those in graduate school that might not be able to take time off work to move out.

This blog is for those people/students that are required to move out while doing experiments or continuously work through the process. I am under the experiment category as well as the “my qualifying exam is next week” category. If you are unfamiliar with what a qualifying exam is, it is basically an oral presentation and written exam to qualify to be a PhD candidate. It is also referred to as a candidacy exam. So moving out is not the best thing to do right now. Oh well, that’s life and I am trying to enjoy it the whole way through. But, if you find yourself in a situation like mine, here are a few tips that can help with the move out.

  1. Plan ahead. Start cleaning up and boxing up things way in advance so you are not scrambling at the last minute. This will reduce stress and probably save you hours of valuable experimentation time. I promise you, start early.
  2. When looking at your stuff, purge the things you don’t use. This will help with overall stress and anxiety, plus getting rid of stuff is really good for your mental health. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it. By get rid of it, either sell or donate the items. Someone probably needs it more than you.
  3. Ask for help. My roommates helped a ton and so did my friends. DO not do the move alone. This can be pretty bad plus it is not as fun as moving with the help of someone else. Always make sure to feed them and maybe pay them some money, though. Moving is difficult and their help is quite valuable. Pizza is always a good option!!
  4. Buy a ton of cleaning products. You will need to clean, and clean a lot. Make sure to get paper towels and good cleaning sprays. Do not mix them!!!!! I got bleach for the bathroom and then fabuloso for the kitchen and bedroom. You need to clean everything pretty well because you want that security deposit back $$$.
  5. Take time to relax too. Moving is super stressful and quite exhausting, mentally and physically. Make sure to take breaks and take them often. You need the energy and mental focus to be able to finish the job before the landlord comes and kicks you out.
  6. While working, play some good music. I tend to put on fast paced music which really gets me moving. Moving stuff is almost like going to the gym. You’ll be lifting stuff, running around, grunting, swearing, and sweating like a pig. Yep, practically a gym workout.
  7. Pack everything into boxes and label them. This is so important because you will lose items in the process of moving. Get organized and use boxes to stay organized. When you unpack, you’ll know exactly what is where and that will cause less stress later.
  8. If you are going to get a storage unit or U-Haul, book them early. My roommate made this mistake and waited until 3 days before moveout to see if there were storage units available or U-hauls. NOPE. All gone. Luckily our landlord is letting him keep his stuff at the current house until he moves to the next house. Some landlords are just awesome.
  9. Make sure to cancel the utilities. You don’t want to have to keep paying even after you are gone. Trust me, it’s not fun getting extra bills.
  10. Make sure to save up money prior to moving. It can get expensive for sure. Save money from your last few paychecks specifically for moving out. It is a must.

Bonus: Have Fun! I can’t stress this enough. Have fun with moving. You will associate moving with a good time later down when you have to do it again and it will make things way easier for you. Honestly, have fun with everything you do in life. Being stressed out all of the time is terrible and you don’t need that in your life.

Anyway, I hope that your move-out is easy and stress free. Mine was easy because I did exactly what I wrote about. If it worked for me, it will work for you. See ya next time.

Moving During Grad School

This post about moving during grad school may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

Moving during grad school can be annoying. I have had to move every single year that I have been in grad school. Most of the time it was not my choice but due to some outside factor. This year is the exact same thing. Yesterday was my final day at one of the coolest places that I have lived. To say that I will miss living there is an understatement. Moving is not fun at all and can be quite stressful, especially for those in graduate school that might not be able to take time off work to move out.

Moving during grad school can be exciting, though, and often we tend to look at the negative sides and not the positive aspects of it. I want to go over the many different ways to prepare for the move out day during grad school to mae sure that things go smoothly and efficiently.

This blog is for those people/students that are required to move out while doing experiments or continuously work through the process. I am under the experiment category as well as the “my qualifying exam is next week” category. If you are unfamiliar with what a qualifying exam is, it is basically an oral presentation and written exam to qualify to be a PhD candidate. It is also referred to as a candidacy exam. So moving out is not the best thing to do right now. Oh well, that’s life and I am trying to enjoy it the whole way through. But, if you find yourself in a situation like mine, here are a few tips that can help with the move out.

Tips on moving during grad school

1) Plan ahead.

Start cleaning up and boxing up things way in advance so you are not scrambling at the last minute. This will reduce stress and probably save you hours of valuable experimentation time. I promise you, start early. Make a list of things that need to be set aside and also a list of things you probably don’t need anymore. Look around your room and decide what will come and what is going in the trash.

2) When looking at your stuff, purge the things you don’t use.

This will help with overall stress and anxiety, plus getting rid of stuff is really good for your mental health. If you haven’t used it in the last year, get rid of it. By get rid of it, either sell or donate the items. Someone probably needs it more than you. I like going to the Good Will down the street. If you are going to do this, I’d suggest doing it very early into the moving season. Many people drop stuff off there and they do hit a limit eventually. You don’t want to pack everything up, drive there, and find out they won’t take your stuff. Sometimes, larger items such as beds and furniture can stay in the current residence. Ask your landlord if this is ok which will make the move way easier since you don’t have to lug around any heavy items.

3) Ask for help.

My roommates helped a ton and so did my friends. Do not do the move alone! Moving alone is awful and can be dangerous at some times. This is why, when moving in grad school, always ask for a little assistance. Your neighbors might help, the friends you have will definitely help, and se if your parents or relatives can join. Make a whole party. Moving really isn’t fun without the help of someone else. Always make sure to feed them and maybe pay them some money, though. Moving is difficult and their help is quite valuable. Pizza is always a good option!! Oh, and make sure there is plenty of water. You will be working hard and you’ll need it.

4) Buy a ton of cleaning products.

You will need to clean, and clean a lot. Make sure to get paper towels and good cleaning sprays. Do not mix them!!!!! I got bleach for the bathroom and then fabuloso for the kitchen and bedroom. You need to clean everything pretty well because you want that security deposit back $$$. It is also nice to just deep clean the place anyway. Some places haven’t been thoroughly cleaned in years and it is time.

Make sure to vacuum all of the nooks and crannies and make sure the whole place sparkles. You do not want your landlord to hold on to that security deposit because there was trash in a corner of the house. If you have roommates, make sure they are cleaning as well. Put on some music, get on clothes that you won’t mind cleaning in, and get to town. Honestly, this is one of the biggest pains in the neck when it comes to moving in grad school, but it is essential.

5) Take time to relax too.

Moving is super stressful and quite exhausting, mentally and physically. Make sure to take breaks and take them often. You need the energy and mental focus to be able to finish the job before the landlord comes and kicks you out. Always take breaks. In fact, make sure that you schedule breaks into your cleaning and moving schedule. This comes with the “plan ahead” part. You will be surprised how much effort it takes to move during grad school. You’ll be exhausted by the end of the day and that’s why relaxing is so important. Make sure to schedule some time, like 10 minutes every hour, to just sit and have some water.

6) While working, play some good music.

I tend to put on fast paced music which really gets me moving. Moving stuff is almost like going to the gym. You’ll be lifting stuff, running around, grunting, swearing, and sweating like a pig. Yep, practically a gym workout. Makes sure to play music that everyone in the place loves. This will make sure that everyone is efficiently working and aren’t thrown off by some music they don’t like. Bust out your stereo and crank up the volume. Just try and do this during the day, lol. you don’t want your neighbors calling the cops.

7) Pack everything into boxes and label them.

This is so important because you will lose items in the process of moving. Get organized and use boxes to stay organized. When you unpack, you’ll know exactly what is where and that will cause less stress later. This is huge! The most frustrating thing that you can have happen is trying to find something important at your next place, but not being able to because it’s hidden away in an unknown box. Make suure to label the boxes and keep them pretty categorized. Put pots and pans in one box and maybe desk stuff in another. This will make unpacking a piece of cake and you won’t lose any items in the process.

8) If you are going to get a storage unit or U-Haul, book them early.

My roommate made this mistake and waited until 3 days before moveout to see if there were storage units available or U-hauls. NOPE. All gone. Luckily our landlord is letting him keep his stuff at the current house until he moves to the next house. Some landlords are just awesome.

Since you live in a college town, U-hauls will be seen as essential. People are constantly moving from place to place in college. This si why booking one early basically secures your chance of having an easy transition to your new place. Storage units can fill up quickly too. Book them at least a month ahead of move-out. You may have to search since people have already booked them, but you’ll find something. If you are looking a week prior to move-out, good luck.

9) Make sure to cancel the utilities.

You don’t want to have to keep paying even after you are gone. Trust me, it’s not fun getting extra bills. So make sure that you cancel prior to leaving. This is as easy as a phone call or just going online and cancelling. I am pretty sure you can set the date to when they turn off utilities. Sometimes, your landlord may say to keep them on. In this case, follow their instructions but make it clear that you don’t pay for anything after your move-out date. Don’t get conned into paying for something that you’re not using.

10) Make sure to save up money prior to moving.

It can get expensive for sure. Save money from your last few paychecks specifically for moving out. It is a must. If you know that you are going to move out, then start saving now. Security deposits, pet fees, and your first month’s rent can really break the bank. You do not want to be living in a place and not being able to eat because you spent all of your money on the rent and fees. Start saving as soon as you can and set aside this money as “moving money”. You’ll also need some for the pizza you are buying everyone for helping you move lol.

Bonus:

Have Fun! I can’t stress this enough. Have fun with moving. You will associate moving with a good time later down when you have to do it again and it will make things way easier for you. Honestly, have fun with everything you do in life. Being stressed out all of the time is terrible and you don’t need that in your life.

Final Thought

Moving while in grad school doesn’t have to be terrible. With the right amount of planning ahead, it can actually be quite fun. Sometimes, outside factors make it hard to stay in one place so you have to move. If this is the case, follow my step by step approach and your move out will be easy and successful.

Anyway, I hope that your move-out is easy and stress free. Mine was easy because I did exactly what I wrote about. If it worked for me, it will work for you. See ya next time.

Am I Doing the Right Thing? Feeling Lost in Grad School

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information see disclosure at bottom of home page

Hey everyone! Today’s post is going to be a little shorter than usual, I think. I just wanted to write about something that I have been dealing with a lot and one method to help calm my overactive mind. Grad school has me lost. I honestly don’t know what I want to do after graduation, and you know what? I am totally alright with that. I realized that life is constantly changing and it is totally ok not to know what to do next.

One thing that really has me a bit concerned, well not now, but at first, was seeing all of my friends getting jobs, making good money. I make enough to feed my cat, and that’s good enough for me lol. But I did notice that they weren’t that happy. I was quite perplexed until i heard about a little activity you can do to kind of see if maybe you are doing what you love, or close to it. The exercise is imagining you are talking with your 10 year old self. Describe what you do for a living to them. See how your 10 year old self reacts. Are they proud of you? Are they concerned? Do they look angry? Just try and picture this.

I did this exercise and realized that what I do now, I truly believe 10 year old Ben would have thought was the coolest thing ever. I do science, math, workout, all of that. 10 year old Ben loved all of those things. This really helped me realize that I am not lost at all, I am right where I need to be at the this time in my life.

Life is constantly changing and so are you. You will find your place eventually, then one day, what you thought was the right thing for you will change and you’ll find another road to take. I find this to be the most exciting part of life, the change. I wonder what 40 year old Ben will be like!

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

Congratulations, You Made a Mistake

Do you like making mistakes? I sure don’t, but we all do. We all make mistakes in our lives and that makes us human, that makes us amazing! I wrote about the two bad bricks in the wall. The monk cared so much about the mistakes he made that he forgot all of the good that he did. I made a mistake tonight that honestly had about 10 people calling me names and telling me how terrible I was. I was an umpire at a kickball game. I made a terrible call against the team that won and was called multiple names, cussed at, and I honestly thought one kid was going to hit me. That last one might have been a stretch, but maybe lol. You don’t understand that when you call someone names, especially those that you don’t even know, that hurts them… sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but it hurts.

What would you have done in my situation? Would you yell back at them and tell them and told that they are terrible? Would you tear up and just take it? Or would you laugh about it, because you made a mistake and that means you are human? I chose to laugh about it.

When you make mistakes, they can always be looked at as learning experiences. My experience tonight was child’s play compared to literally any other mistake, but it hurt to be called names. I learned and laughed and tried to have a decent time after that experience, though I paid closer attention :p.

The way you handle these situations is everything. If you let it get to you emotionally then it will drag you down and keep you in a low area. My advice is to be kind to yourself, admit it was a mistake, laugh about it, and learn. Also, in probably a few days, you will forget it even happened. Please do not let a small, insignificant occurrence cause your suffering. When you have anxiety, any little thing can turn into a completely blown out of proportion event. But by changing the way you perceive it and have a little fun, you can make any mistake into a funny story or learning experience.

I admitted that I made a mistake to the team that won. I apologized and they weren’t even mad afterwards, in fact, they were so happy about going to the championship game that they didn’t even care about the call. It was insignificant and I have moved on.

Also, be kind to people, because they will make mistakes. You never know what that individual battles with each day. They may have lost a loved one, haven’t slept in days, battling a mental illness, or literally anything else. Everyone is dealing with someone and by being mean to that person because of a mistake just makes you a pretty bad individual. No one is perfect, and actually perfection is straight garbage. I want to see people make mistakes because that gives them character. Flaws are not flaws at all, they are FEATURES!. Same with mistakes.

Be kind, because this is a wild journey called life, and no one really knows what they’re doing. Have a good night everyone. I love you all.