Monday Motivation #98 (4/11/22)
One day when I was 11, I ran up the stairs to my room, dug into the chaos under my bed, and retrieved my diary to write: “My Mom is having a BABY!!!!!!!”
I can still envision my curvy, overly-round, middle school handwriting, complete with little hearts to dot the i’s (that was popular in the 80s!). I wrote for a whole page about how awesome it was that I’d be a big sister (somehow skipping over the fact that I was already the oldest of 3), and the enthusiasm carried all the way through the first year of baby brother’s life, carefully documented in my diary.
Two years later, at the advanced age of 13, I was decidedly less impressed when my parents announced child #5 was on the way. Somehow I was sure this would ruin my high school experience (it didn’t), and that my parents were too old (they weren’t), and that *nobody* had a family as big as ours (which was ridiculous, as I knew several families with more kids growing up!). My diary patiently captured all of this teenage angst, and the brighter perspective I found once the sweet, newest baby brother arrived.
I kept a diary off and on through high school, and tried again during grad school when it was recommended to me as a writing exercise that would (somehow) make it easier to finish my dissertation. Documenting my day-to-day life wasn’t very interesting, though, and while I didn’t keep that up for very long I do find it helpful to periodically keep a “gratitude journal” to remind me of all the good things in life.
In a sense, I have been “journaling” for the last 98+ weeks as I share stories and ideas in these emails/blogs. While that’s a more public exercise than most diaries, it does give me the opportunity to reflect on and learn from past experiences as I make future choices.
This week, I’m sharing some ideas and resources for your own journeys of reflection — including some shared with me by one of your graduate student colleagues, who has found journaling to be a helpful tool as they move through their program.
Three Things to Try This Week
Pick a Theme — one of the members of our graduate community has found success in the ‘Themed” approach to journaling, which they use to set goals for each semester. During the day, they use the journal to track to-do items, record ideas, and note how they’ve been grateful that day. Goal tracking pages towards the end help this student develop and maintain habits like staying hydrated, reading research literature, and getting enough sleep. If you want to learn more, they recommend this video.
Make a Plan — April often feels like a sprint in the middle of a semester-long marathon, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with exams and assignments and looming deadlines. Take a deep breath, and try to focus on just one next step. This article has some ideas for how to wrap up semesters where you’re taking (or teaching) classes, while this approach may be helpful for semesters that are filled with writing.
Stretch Yourself — literally. Most of us spend a LOT of time looking at screens, and that’s hard on your body. Try these gentle stretches to help loosen up your neck and shoulders, and remember to take short, frequent breaks throughout your workday!
- Still need RCR hours before graduation? There’s one more Grad School workshop (April 26) and a few workshops and webinars offered by CSTAT that might be appropriate (but double check these with your advisor first!).
- Celebrate spring in greater Lansing and check out these local events and venues.
- Enrollment for Fall 2022 is available starting April 11; check student.msu.edu for your specific enrollment appointment, and find helpful guides and information on how to use the new system here.