Why Do I Do This?

I saw that secret in my first year of grad school.

It shook me to my core. It’s one of those I could at and say: “What if that’s me?” It could easily become my secret in 10 years if I let it.

I found that it was easy to get overwhelmed by the endless reading, writing, and thinking. It was exhausting to feel like I wasn’t making progress. But my life is so much more than a PhD.

I want an incredible life, too, and I don’t want to wait 10 years for it.

And so I live now. I make the conscious choice to enjoy every single day. To do fun things. To step out of my comfort zone.

Since starting my PhD program, I have:

  • started playing ukulele
  • joined a competitive ballroom dance team
  • lived in Rwanda and India
  • learned to use a DSLR
  • begun learning Spanish and French

How do I do this?

Since I don’t intend to do cool stuff at the expense of my academic training, I have to be incredibly purposeful about the way I structure my life.

I create systems to enhance my productivity without driving myself insane.

I don’t complain about how difficult my work is.   This is my challenge, and I embrace it.

No matter what your specific grad program is like, we all have five tasks in common:

  • Idea Generation
  • Idea Organization
  • Idea Presentation
  • Self-Promotion
  • Self-Funding
I’ve learned quite a bit about these five tasks over my past two years as a graduate student at Cornell. Most of the things I learned I had to figure out on my own. Now I am going to share what I know and what I discover.

I am here to encourage you.

Grad school is difficult and misunderstood. How many times did people question your decision to go to grad school? Or poke fun at you? Or tell you that you’ll always be poor and overworked?

How many of your peers endlessly bemoan the amount of work they have to do?  Every day, they work and work but they never seem to feel better!

There is a better way. Optimize the Five Tasks. Work hard on stuff that matters. Then stop and go play for a bit.

I will show you ways to work smarter so you can live the life you want now.

Thanks for reading along!


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