Hello! It’s been a bit since I really sat down to give a mini life update. Work over at Lululemon for the holiday season has definitely been keeping me busy, as well as I am slowly starting to upload more content over on my youtube!
Not much to update on in regards to my graduate school journey; still some back and forth on final paperwork and deposits so I can get my certificate of enrollment to then FINALLY be able to apply for my Australian Student Visa. A lot of stuff with the process is just a stepping stone to then have another thing to do and check off the list. Also, there’s still hope I can move to Aussie in Jan/Feb but not getting my hopes up as that’s SO CLOSE!
My recent vlogs over on my youtube are pretty accurate representations of my life lately. I’ll put them here for you!
How’s everyone doing prepping for the holidays? do we feel good? are we stressed?
As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read this!
I was graciously able to get both of my “pre-pandemic” jobs back (background to that here) and it sure has been an adjustment.
Taylor Swift’s new, surprise album has been my saving grace.
I’ve been wanting to post on here but haven’t felt like anything going on in my life has been “worth” posting about. I obviously haven’y been able to travel much at all due to the pandemic but I have been able to check out some new, more local coffee spots near me.
Maybe my next post will be about that, or even a monthly favorites – I still have to figure out where to go from here.
The possibilities are endless.
I’ve been overthinking so much – as typically, I like to keep my Instagram more coffee/day-to-day based and this blog more educational & travel-based. This whole pandemic thing is clearly still a thing so I’m in the process of determining where to take this from here.
New content will be coming soon. As I’ve talked about over on my Instagram stories, the last week or so I’ve been overwhelmed with the kinds of content I could post & which ones are my priority.
I haven’t done a life update since this, where I went into a lot of detail with my future graduate school plans in Australia.
So if you haven’t read that, or haven’t been keeping up with me over on my instagram, then head here to get more of a back story on what I’m about to get into.
Gold star to those who have been keeping up with me and my life.
Before we get into the exciting graduate school update,
What have I been up to the last month?
I live in New Jersey in the States and we have been one of the worst states with virus cases due to the close proximity to New York City. So I have been on lockdown since March 16th I think… super close to THREE MONTHS!
There have been some positives to all of this mess, I’ve gotten to spend a lot more time with my cat, my parents and my brother (I go into this a lot more here). I’ve also gotten the time to really reflect on myself and my values and how I want to be a better friend to myself. Increasing my self awareness has really helped with that!
Has quarantine given you a lot of time to self reflect?
Besides family time & self reflection I really haven’t done a terrible amount. I have been working on this blog a lot over on pinterest and also trying to keep up with all my content over on my instagram. There’s been some baking here and there, ooo and some Chloe Ting workouts!!!! fun stuff!!
Okay, now for the exciting part.
My Masters Degree Plan
As I’m sure so many of you can relate, the virus has altered my future and left a lot of unknowns.
Last I spoke to you guys over here I mentioned that the original plan (as of early March 2020) was to move to Tasmania, Australia this coming July to start my two years masters program by research. Of course with the current state of the world and the endless border closures/travel restrictions, there is a slight hold on all of it.
soooo how is the virus altering plans exciting you might ask?
Well, it’s not. The exciting part is that with all of the extra time I’ve had, I’ve been able to finalize my research proposal and officially SUBMIT IT to the university in Australia. This research proposal was the FINAL step to submitting my application.
This application process was super weird to me where I technically got accepted to the university in Australia last year where I was told I qualified for this degree program. But once you qualify, the next step is teaming up with a professor to be your research supervisor. Once doing that, the student (that’s me!) comes up with the research plan from scratch! My proposed supervisor, of course, helped me but it was all on me to decide what specifically I wanted to research.
If you’re familiar with the scientific research world at all, it is very rare for a student who is fresh out of their undergraduate to get to specifically propose the research they want to carry out. Typically, especially with masters programs here in the States, the student will just tag along with an already existing project that the supervisor has already planned out.
So, for example, my back up plan was to work with a professor out at a university out in California and create a masters thesis with a data set that was already predetermined. It would have been a great opportunity, and a full ride scholarship, but at the end of the day it wasn’t what I was specifically interested in researching. In Australia, and I’m almost positive New Zealand too (correct me if I’m wrong), I was told we get to choose what we want to research and from there determine if it’s feasible.
So last year I was asked:
what do YOU want to research? what are YOU interested in?
& immediately I was so overwhelmed, yet so grateful. So grateful to feel trusted and capable of creating a two year full funded research project from scratch.
Okay, okay, I’ve completed my application and I get to come up with my own project. What does that exactly entail?
To sum it up:
My plan is to research the baseline thermal physiology of Australian fur seals using infrared thermography. We will be using infrared thermography (heat cameras) to see how heat is transferred around their bodies in their natural habitat.
At the moment, there is barely anything known on how Australian fur seals react to thermal stress. This becomes increasingly important with the growing need of answers due to climate change. In order to predict how our ecosystems will be altered in the future, we need to first understand how it is in their natural environment.
The hope is that Australia will open their border to international students by September (as the Australian economy really depends on us for their economy) and go from there. Of course nothing is certain, but I’m hopeful that I will be able to move to Tasmania by September the latest. This could work out as the Australian fur seal breeding season (so when I will be collecting data in the field) wouldn’t be till October anyway. Even if I can’t get into Australia by then, we have multiple backup plans (which really helps with my anxiety).
I hope that made sense.
I have a couple more mini life updates, but I didn’t want this post to be 2098092 paragraphs long as I could really talk forever.
Thanks so much if you read all that, I know it was a lot of words. I’m sorry to anyone who has had their future altered due to this pandemic mess. It’s a hard one.
One thing that has stayed a constant in my life the last 59 days of quarantine is how important structure is. Whether it’s just having a small to-do list or actually having blocks of time set aside for tasks. I just find that I feel more validated and put together if I have some sort of task to check off the list; I’m sure a lot of you can agree!!
I’m not always in the “mood” to be organized and all that jazz. Not gonna lie, quarantine has been hard for me. That’s why this external source of validation (oops I go more into validation here) helps my day to day life.
If I could recommend one product to help you get not only your work or school life organized, but your mental and emotional self too is the Savor Life Planner. I’ve actually done a whole post on this planner already and how much it really applies to my daily life.
I’m big into planning, what a surprise!!
Love the style of mine? The style I am currently using is their Executive Planner in black. ***not a sponsored post but these are affiliate links***
Love that cute little cup? Check that out here it’s by Honey & Roses Coffee.
Why having a planner can be beneficialto you
Complete tasks faster: Think about it, all of your tasks are written in one common spot. You’re more likely to see them and think about what you have to get done. As a result you’ll slowly do each task one by one and all of a sudden you’re done! woo!!
Set priorities: Visualizing your tasks also helps you prioritize tasks and see which ones are more important over others.
Lower stress: All of your important information is in a common spot. You will spend less time worrying about if you forgot something because it’s all its all written down together.
Increase self awareness: It’s no surprise that when you write things down it’s easier to organize your thoughts and piece things together. This planner has a section at the beginning of every week that I love called “Detox your brain”.
Delving more into self awareness for a bit, you will also learn more about your personal behavior and situational correlations (I love science). Being able to piece together how you’re emotions are in relation to your behavior can be super beneficial. Understanding why you’re acting a certain way can help you come to terms with it in the first place.
It’s also important to remember to not rely on planning and take things more so with a grain of salt. I struggle with this a lot. I get attached to what I think “should have” happened.
Planning is super important, but you should only be dedicating a fraction of your day to setting things up and checking things out. If you are spending hours upon hours building structure and you are frustrated, please stop!
One of my few quarantine goals is to try and let go of things more easily. I have a habit of getting attached.
I hope this was at least a bit helpful! It was kind of a mini rant but honestly planning has really helped me find a purpose during these last couple months. Hope all of you and your loved ones are safe 🙂
If you’re on the look-out for more content head over to my instagram or check out some similar posts I’ve done:
This is part two of this post about finding validation within yourself. The first post focused mostly on the first step I took on my journey for self validation: self-awareness. As you can guess, becoming aware of your thought processes and emotional reactions to things is the first step to grow beyond them.
Last night I found myself researching more into the mechanisms of why I could rely so heavily on external validation. So let’s call part two….
Research: The Why
Why do I need other people’s approval to feel whole?
Why do I chase after acceptance & validation?
Why does it all define me so much?
A lot of the articles I came across started with this need for external validation stems from your childhood/early years. I am no expert (as I study marine organisms for a living, not people) but I can totally see this being correct as our early years really shape our brain’s functions and thought processes.
When you are a small child whose whole existence and well-being depends on others, rejection actually equals existential death. And since we are constantly hurt, invalidated, and rejected in many overt and highly subtle ways as children, a lot of us grow up into wounded and self-less adults whose self-perception is skewed or blurry.
Now I can’t really pin point this to coincide with my childhood but I do remember getting hurt very easily by rejection, or by being an outcast.
A very personal life example: my work life
At first I didn’t think I ever wanted to get into this, but I feel this example genuinely encompasses how my need for approval has shaped parts of my personal life. Also, maybe some other people out there can relate to this.
I kind of mentioned the back story to this job I had earlier this year here, but I’ll give a quick run down. Basically, I had a job where I dug my self perception down a dark path. I fully let the opinions & possible thoughts of my coworkers control the thoughts and views I had of myself. Whatever opinion I thought they could’ve felt towards me, was what I felt I actually was. If I felt that they thought I was too loud that day, then I was too loud & I had to then adjust my personality to be more quiet. If I felt that they thought I was too opinionated towards something, then I would shut my mouth for the rest of that shift & the next couple shifts to come. I outcasted myself when instead I thought I was adjusting my personality to fit in.
One, they constantly need other people’s approval and validation to feel that they are a good person, to feel pleasant emotions, or to even feel alive. And two, they feel shame or guilt or anger or loneliness or anxiety or confusion or other painful emotions when someone disapproves of and invalidates them, which then often leads to dysfunctional behavior to manage all of it.
By the end of my time with this company, I lost sight of what core values I believed in. I lost sight of who I knew I was. Since I knew I didn’t complete fit in with my coworkers, it ate away at me for months & spilled over into my life outside of work too; I was an anxious mess. In order to get through each shift I would have to read a list of mantras on my phone to remind myself to keep quiet, to not be too opinionated, & to not act too overbearing.
Because of my reliance on others’ approval, I let that shape who I actually was in those four walls. Of course it is no one’s fault but my own.
It usually starts out as a logical tactic. We gain others’ approval, make them happy for a moment, and feel pretty good about ourselves. It seems like the perfect path to take—and it’s one we can continue on for many years, believing it’s reducing our anxiety about disapproval in our daily lives.
Up until this year, I didn’t realize that I was caught in a feedback loop leaning on others for their opinions and thoughts of me; I have been conditioned to aim for that validation. Each time I felt validated by my coworkers’ opinions and thoughts of me, my brain released dopamine of some sort. It felt good and rewarding so I kept going back to it and aimed for that specific feeling. I was comfortable with that feedback loop because that’s what I was used to; that was all I knew.
But there will come a time when the constant seeking of approval—the very solution to our problems—will run its course. And that very behavior that brought us so many feelings of accomplishment will become the problem itself.
Being able to pin point my need for external validation on my more recent life experiences, makes it feel so much more real. It becomes more apparent how vital it is that I come to terms with it all now. Only from there can I grow and reshape my thought processes surrounding approval and validation.
I’m still becoming more aware of the times in my daily life, or past life, that I’ve fallen into this feedback loop. Only now am I coming to terms with how much of this can shape my day-to-day life. I’m still figuring all this out.
So thank you for taking the time to read this. It will not be the easiest for me to open up about this.
Join me on my journey by hitting that follow button. We’re in this together.