Cheers to a New Semester!

michelle-khadraHey everyone! Apologies for not writing in quite a while—the end of the semester ended up taking up more time than anticipated! I’ll start with a follow up to my last post about training for my first 5k (The Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning). Turns out that my training really paid off, and I was able to successfully complete the race despite temperatures in the 20’s (farenheit) and heavy snowfall. This was the biggest race yet, with over 20,000 participants! Due to the sheer number of participants, it took us quite a while to actually get going, and once we did, the conditions proved to be quite icy. Along the route, there were water and cookie stations and many photo-ops, making the event a lot of fun and one I would definitely recommend!

I learned a lot from my first semester in grad school, the most important of which is probably how to better manage my time. Since I was both working and taking classes, this was a skill that I quickly picked up. My advice for anyone struggling with this: make sure you get your priorities straight and find a balance in life. Yes, it is important to keep up your grades, but so is getting out and having fun! I found it helpful to set up pre-determined times to study and finish what I could within this time; once this time was over, I moved on to other things, whether it was going to work or hanging out with my friends. Spending all of your free time studying will likely drive you crazy and may end up being more detrimental in the long run, so make sure to give yourself time to breathe. Also, I’ve learned to be more mindful, or more aware of what I’m working on at the present time. I try not to think about all of the reading that I have to do if I’m out to lunch with a friend, for example. I’ve found that being mentally present is just as important as being physically present in situations. As Dick Costolo, CEO of twitter, said during his 2013 commencement speech at U of M, “Be in this moment, be in this moment. Now, be in this moment.”

These ideas are going to come in handy this semester, as I’m faced with more coursework and a GSI position. Thankfully my first semester has nicely paved the way for this greater responsibility and workload. Have a great semester!

P.S. I definitely recommend giving Costolo’s speech a listen, it was great! Here’s the link: http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqRPesTumlA

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