Intellectual Wellness: Life Lessons I Learned in Grad School

I read this article on LinkedIn the other day and it reminded me of a similar article that I wrote after I finished grad school. 2 years later and it all still rings true for me.

When people say the people that you meet in grad school are people that you will have in your life forever, they are right. But don’t be surprised if it is not people that are in your cohort. The people that I am most sad about leaving and saying goodbye are people that I have met through my GA.

Even though you are in grad school, keep your options open. I came to grad school thinking that my interests were completely centered in the “I” side and discovered that the “O” side is so much more interesting and compelling to me.

Even though you are grad school, stay involved on campus. I went through a couple leadership series my second year, and I have been able to network with an entire different group on campus and it has given more additional skills that I was not exposed to in the classroom. Especially in my field of study, this has given me that opportunity to start to practically apply the theories of leadership that I have learned in regards to leadership.

What you learn in the classroom will never compare to what you learn in a real world setting. That being said, grad school for me, was totally worth it. Because the lessons I learned in the real world were much more valuable for a number of reasons. 1.) I would have never had those opportunities had I not been in grad school. 2.) I was able to better analyze those lessons because of my additional education. 3.) Knowing theory is essentially for really being able to learn lessons and make changes.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance. I decided to move 700 miles away from home for grad school. But taking a chance could be in what you major in, where you go to school, what you research, etc. Just remember to have an open mind but guard yourself at the same time.

Having a support system may be the most underestimated factor in grad school. No where on the grad school application does it say anything about how strong is your support system. But trust me, I would have never made it through anything without my support system. Granted some of the things I went through during my time at grad school are not traditionally things that people go through, but I can guarantee you that every grad student has been stressed out.

Learn how to manage your time. If there is one thing I wish I would have learned before grad school, it is how to manage my time. I didn’t find a system that worked for me until my 2nd semester of my first year, but once I figured it out, my stress drastically decreased.

If you are moving far away for grad school, visit the place first. Before I accepted my offer to grad school, I went to all the grad schools that I was accepted to and did a campus visit. When I came to the university I am at now, it was at the bottom of my list. I thought that this was the last place I would go. It doesn’t seem that prestigious, it is not in a geographically great place…the other school seemed much better on paper. But when I visited both schools, I really realized that the “less prestigious” institution was definitely where I needed to be. The professors were amazing and so helpful just during that one campus visit.

Be willing to stand by decisions that you made or own up to a mistake you made. Don’t be a flake. (That’s really just a life lesson for everyone.)

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 8 Recap

Sunday:  10 miles, 8:46 pace (8:58/8:50/9:23/9:17/8:49/8:38/8:35/8:42/8:38/7:50) this is a run that will go down in my marathon training and life as one of the best runs I’ve ever had. I felt strong throughout the entire run. I felt like I pushed myself every inch but still had enough left in the tank to have an awesome kick at the end. The miles just ticked by. The weather was perfect. It was the most amazing run I have ever had.

Monday:  Arms workout (remembered my notebook, forgot a pen), speed workout (only got 1.5 miles in before the heat just killed me)

Tuesday:  Boom. Back started giving me major problems. I think probably because I tend to sit w/ my leg under me at work but at any rate by the end of the day on Tuesday, I was in major, major pain.

Wednesday: Let’s just say I’m an idiot. Because when you have back pain, do leg workouts is a brilliant idea, right? Pulled both hamstrings.

Thursday:  4-5 painful miles with run club

Friday:  I stuck to bench press. My back was feeling better, but my hamstrings were both still in a lot of pain and I was still walking funny.

Saturday:  60 minutes of tennis in intense humidity. I didn’t go sprinting after all balls and used this workout as just getting out there and being active after having back issues this week and pulling both hamstrings.

It was a painful week of training. And this is where the training gets painful and uncomfortable. I’m starting to get into uncharted territory but what’s really going to be painful is the weather. August in Kansas is hot, hot, hot, and humid, humid, humid. This is where I need to dig deep. Because come October, the heat breaks, the humidity breaks, and training hard in this heat pays off. The times are going to slow down but I need to stop making excuses and keep hitting my training.

Social Wellness: Pushing Myself

I’m contemplating writing a series of how marathon training has helped with my wellness. If so, this is part 1, if not, this is a blog post.

It’s no secret that I’m not great with the whole…interacting with people thing …

But through my training, I have been pushing myself more than just physically. I have been forcing myself to wave and say good morning to everyone that I see. It’s not much because, well there aren’t a lot of people out at 5 am, but every person that I pass (within reason, there are a few sketchy neighborhoods that I run through). It’s not making me any more friends (but I have always been in the quality over quantity group), but it forces me to interact with people more, to build confidence.

Who knew that marathon training could boost ones social wellness?

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 7 Recap

Sunday:  9 miles at a 9:19 pace. Oh this run. The last 1.25 miles was in an absolute downpour but it was worth it and awesome. I loved it. I watched the storm roll in and it was amazing. The miles just clicked by. I heard my watch beep and I looked down and I was already 6 miles into the run.

Monday:  Bench press (4×45, 8×55, 6×65, 5×70, 4×75, 3×80), Tricep extensions (8×25, 8×30, 8×35), Bicep curls (8×15, 8×20, 1×25), and Shoulder press (8×15, 8×20, 1×25). Speed workout:  warm up 400, sprint 100 and jog 100 x6, sprint 100, jog 300, sprint 200, jog 200, sprint 300, jog 100, sprint 400, sprint 100 and jog 100 x 6, 400 cool down (total 3 miles)

Tuesday:  60 minutes of tennis

Wednesday:  I don’t have exact number because I forgot my notebook at home but I did squats this day

Thursday:  4 hilly miles (10:12 pace), 5 flat miles (9:16 pace)

Friday:  again, I forgot my notebook at home, but I did some ab/core work and leg work

Saturday:  rest day/walking/shopping for 2 hours


Occupational Wellness: My Tips

I had this idea for today’s blog post at work. I thought I would share my tips and my journey with my readers on how to navigate the ever changing path for securing your first job (or any job). Since the 2008 recession, the needs for employers have changed dramatically. I wish I would have known some of these tips before I started searching. But no one told me these things and I had to spend 2 years figuring these out the hard way. A bit of background on me, I graduated with my MS in May 2012. I started my job search in December 2011 and was hired on at my current job September 2012. I moved from Kentucky to Iowa in May 2012 after I graduated and then moved to Kansas for my job in September 2012. During my time in Iowa, I lived in my mom and stepdad’s basement and worked at a previous job while I was applying for jobs.

1.) Brand yourself. Create a website (I have one on a weebly platform that is free). Get business cards made up and carry them on you at all times. Put your website and contact information on the business cards. I suggest getting business cards that have a plain white back to them (no picture or additional information) so that you can write something down of importance to the person you are giving the business card too. It could be mapping out exactly where to find your portfolio on your website or details of how you met that way it will refresh their memory. But I like having the space to be able to add some on the spot customization to my business cards.

2.) Set up an excel document and track every. single. piece. of. correspondence. for job search stuff. If you jump into a twitter chat with a company and you are making connections with the rep who is running the chat, document that information and follow-up. Every resume you send out, follow-up. Every time you get a business card, follow-up. You can customize your excel doc however you would like but I would definitely recommend having a column that gives you the exact date when you should follow-up with someone. Figure out a tracking system that works for you and use it. Don’t let a single resume go without a follow-up if you can help it.

3.) Social media. Your call on this but if you are going to have your tweets/instagram/whatever else be unprotected, know that. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with having a personal twitter account and not having protected tweets. I like that I get to interact with people that don’t necessarily follow me and I think it’s got some value, but this is a personal decision.

4.) Create a master resume that has absolutely everything you have ever done (and those of you that aren’t job searching, create one anyway and keep it updated. Makes it much easier when you do need a resume if you have been keeping your master resume updated the entire time.) Create a master cover letter that has all the information you could ever want to say in a cover letter. These two documents can be as long and detailed as you want.

5.) Create a resume template and a cover letter template

6.) When you go to apply for a job combine 4 and 5 and send out customized application materials that don’t make you want to poke your eyeballs out and that will get you noticed. Put time into reading the job description and researching the company. It’s about the quality of your application materials, not the quantity.

7.) Network. Oh dear god, grab your business cards and network. I hate this more than anything but networking…is actually good. View networking though as not only how someone can help you but how you can help someone. So I networked with a couple about a year ago in hopes of getting a new job in wellness and part of that was that I offered my services to do freelance consulting for their company. I never got a wellness job but I have established a strong network with this couple and I’m still doing work for them. We both get something out of the deal.

8.) If you have a goal in mind, you need to stay true to that goal. As long as it is a realistic goal. I graduated from grad school and I wanted to work in wellness at a college/university recreation center so bad. It was my guiding light of what I wanted to do. After an absolutely heart breaking rejection from a university for their wellness coordinator position I thought to myself, “if I can get a job at a university, then at least I have my foot in the door for moving towards the wellness job.” And against the complaining I heard daily from people in my life that I didn’t have a job yet, I pursued this. And then I got a job at a university. Which is going to lead me into…

9.) Take an opportunity that may not be the dream but is a place that you can grow. This is what I did and I didn’t always realize it at the time. But what spurred this blog post on was as I was working today and the hours were just clicking by…I realized that I wasn’t sitting at my desk willing the clock to say 5 so I could go home. I was actually engaging in a number of projects that were interesting to me and that I actually…liked my job and the work I was doing. It didn’t start out that way. But I knew that I wanted to work at a university. So I took an opportunity. And in the interview it was very clear to me that the job I was interviewing for flexible to change. I started out as a glorified secretary (which was a very, very difficult pride pill to swallow after busting my ass for years) to now being an analyst and working on meaningful projects. The path to “success” isn’t always clear and there are ups and downs and heartbreaks, but if there is a good opportunity, take it.

10.) PUT MONEY IN THE BANK. Especially if you are looking to move away for a job. Not all companies will pay for your travel or reimburse you for your travel. Not all have a moving allocation to help you get to the job. If you aren’t working while you are job searching, you still have bills to pay and need to buy food and gas and whatnot. Save money, put money aside, do whatever you have to do so that if you get to the point where you are job searching and no longer employed, you aren’t struggling.

I have more tips, so if this is something that you enjoy, let me know and I can do a part 2 of this or make a series or something.

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Recap Week 6

Sunday:  8 miles (9:25 pace) this run was everything that I needed, especially after last weeks 7 miler that was a mess of dehydration. I chose to get off the trails that I run with run club and go back to my “roots” of this town and hit up some of my old trails and it was great. Plus this route has a lot of bike lanes that I can run in to save my knees, there are some good hilly areas so it’s not just flat, and there are lots of things to look at…it’s just a really nice route that I’m really enjoying right now.

Monday:  Arms circuit (shoulder press, burpees, bicep curls, pushups, tricep extensions) and 2 miles speed work – I do track workouts for this and sprint the straight and jog the curve. I like this speed work but I hate doing it after work because heat, humidity, and general hotness.

Tuesday:  60 minutes of tennis

Wednesday:  REST DAY! First rest day since I got back from Michigan (so about 10 days or so).

Thursday:  ~6 miles run w/ run club. My watch took FOREVER to get satellite and we weren’t going to wait around for it. I was probably about 2 miles in before I got my location and then we stopped when we turned around b/c I needed to pop my back and I paused my watch and never restarted until we were almost back…so somewhere around 6 miles.

Friday:  Bench press, lunges, and decline abs and HOLY COW THE DOMS WERE REAL…I never to lunges but for some reason I have not been wanting to squat so I have been doing lunges and good grief…the DOMS.

Saturday:  about 30 minutes of tennis. Eric and I went out to do more but we both were just in pissy moods and so we decided to call it quits and not get more pissy. Sometimes you just have to stop doing something that is frustrating you. Sometimes you have to work through it. But this day, I needed to stop playing tennis because it was just getting frustrating and I was already in a bad mood so I did a little mental health TLC.

Follow me on my Instagram or Twitter for updates on my marathon training and life.

Intellectual Wellness: Bearable News?

One of my goals for this year was to stay up-to-date with the news. A lofty goal if you ask me, especially with 24/7 news coverage, I feel like there is constantly a new story breaking. And who has time to keep up with all of that? I discovered theSkimm through Cupcakes and Cashmere and have to say…if you want to know what is going on in the world in 5 minutes, go check out theSkimm. They send out (I get mine around 5 am) emails every week day and in bullet form give you a run down of what is going on in the world. I honestly feel like their writing is amazing and relatable. I feel like I keep up-to-date with not only the huge major stories, but also sporting events, and other news items. They partner with brands and do giveaways and their social media is hilarious.

If you want to check out their newsletter, you can sign up here. If you signup, let me know in the comments below and let me know how you like their content! I have been subscribed to theSkimm for well over 6 months now and I read every single one of their newsletters. theSkimm is also how I found LearnVest. I highly recommend it!

Physical Wellness: Marathon Training Week 5 Training Recap

Sunday:  7 miles (8:56 pace) – this was brutal. I was extremely dehydrated from well, not drinking enough water while on vacation.

Monday: Arms circuit (shoulder press, burpees, biceps curls, pushups, tricep extensions), speed work (1.5 miles)

Tuesday:  Tony Horton Yoga (oh this felt so good…my body was so sore and this workout helped out tremendously)

Wednesday:  Agility ladder work and mini hurdles, tennis

Thursday:  2 trail miles

Friday:  Park workout

Saturday:  tennis (40 minutes) – I snapped/pulled a tendon in my wrist. It happens every once in awhile and it’s really painful but the pain goes away after awhile.

This was an ok week. I need to start increasing my weekly mileage. I will also need to switch out my Monday night workout (speedwork) because soon my legs won’t be able to handle long run back to back with speedwork.

Mental Wellness: Growing Up

I have these random “aha” moments in my life when I realize, yup, I’m an adult. Today’s came when I went to the dentist to get my very first cavity filled. I hadn’t been to the dentist since I got my braces off at 18 (I’m 26 now) and so I was terrified of going. I saw Scrinina (blog, twitter and instagram – if you don’t know her, you will. She’s amazing! I adore her!) went to the dentist back in May for the first time in almost a decade and that coupled with Eric saying “you will never go” (I love nothing more than proving people wrong and he knows it) made me muster up the courage to make a dentist appointment. My first in 8 years and my first since picking up bulimic tendencies for a couple of years.

I was terrified. Just terrified. I thought for sure my teeth were all cavities and that the dentist was going to be utterly disgusted by my teeth but I emerged from the chair with stern warnings about flossing and using a soft toothbrush but overall praise on my teeth. I had one tiny cavity that was fixed today (I was in and out of the dentist in less than 30 minutes) and I was on my way. As I was walking out after paying my co-pay (nothing makes you feel like more of an adult than paying your co-pay amirite?), I realized that I’m an adult now. As I was getting ready for bed and remembering that I am due to change my contacts tomorrow and realized that I have only slept in my contacts once since going to the eye doctor at the beginning of May, that I have flossed every day since going to the dentist…that I am working on taking care of myself. First in small ways because as anyone who has ever done consulting with me knows, I love small wins. Ah, now we get to the point of this blog (about time Newton!). Small wins. When you graduate from wherever that lands you in the real world with adult responsibilities, one thing that helps me keep on track are small wins. Small wins with my health, small wins with my fitness, small wins with life. They give you that sense of accomplishment.

So what small wins will you accomplish this week?