Overcoming Periods of Self Doubt…or How to Win a Fool’s Game

DISCLAIMER: It has come to my attention that some folk believe that I “have it all together.” Please accept this disclaimer as my way of saying three things: 1) I am figuring this out (and making this up) right alongside you dear reader; 2) I am not immune to feeling completely lost in tasks that are “supposed to be” routine by now; and 3) Sometimes I have to be reminded (by other people) of the things that I write (because most of my advice for you, is actually advice for me).

I’m still in school because I still have so many things to learn about myself and how the academy really works. In sharing my learnings on this journey, I hope that my vulnerability can act as a harbinger for your future concerns. I post so that YOU know, you’re NOT the only one out there feeling this way, and we can get through this together <3.

    

Confession: I am very afraid. I am a fourth year graduate student in the second year of my Ph.D. and my insides tighten every time someone says, “Wow, you’re almost done. Right??” (cue eyeroll and shoulder shrug)


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STAY Ready. Don’t GET Ready.

Allow me to provide you with some more spiritually-guided unsolicited advice. If you’ve interacted with me recently, at some point you may have heard me talking about how I “stay ready, so I never have to get ready.” I want to break down what this means to me and why it’s been so important in helping me reach new heights. Continue reading

New Year. New Attitude. New ME.

The first day of fall ’16 quarter (yesterday September 26, 2016) was a beautiful day on campus. Bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen and first years hustled and bustled to classes and learned just what a quarter system is all about. I cannot believe that the year has passed by so quickly–though going through it at the time, it felt anything but quick. So much about me and my perspective on life has changed. Having come back from a trip to my alma mater, University of Maryland College Park and performing in Washington D.C. I feel ready to take on the world again. My skin is thick, my chin is held high, and I finally have a plan.

I envision a world where Continue reading

D282: Just Keep Swimming (Recognizing the Strength in Consistency)

Today marks ~3 weeks since I completed my first year of graduate school, putting me an entire academic year closer to earning a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I wanted to post this on my last day of school since I started blogging on the first day—but I was exhausted. I mean completely wiped out. This year was full of meetings no one should have, of heinous crimes against black, brown, and female bodies no one should see, of a world being strewn about and reassembled in a fashion no one would dare accept. So forgive how lackadaisical I am about concluding one of several years. Despite this, everyone, and everything that threatened to deter me from my trajectory, my consistency has been my greatest asset. Of course, this is yet another learned behavior from my parents, echoed in the sentiment of Dory’s favorite song, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

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True words plastered on the walls of gyms nationwide.

My year taught me that the most difficult part of falling down is Continue reading

D217: How Beyoncé’s Lemonade Motivated Me to Keep Pushing

I have to be honest: 1) 2016 has already earned its place as the most challenging year of my life  (I can’t believe it’s only April) and 2) I’ve never been a die-hard, know all the words, go to all the concerts, Beyoncé fan, and quite frankly I’m still not. But I have the utmost respect for both the year 2016 and Beyoncé. I woke up this morning Continue reading

D169: Entrepreneurship Will NOT Be My Financial Salvation

I had long cherished the idea of entrepreneurship as a salvation; the thing I was meant to do that would lift me above the discontents of normal life. After industry internships, I longed for the flexibility and autonomy that being my own boss enabled. This past summer, I worked as a Technology Transfer Entrepreneur for DOE. Actually working as an entrepreneur changed how I thought about almost everything. Every person I met Continue reading

D20: Stay HUNGRY (Not Foolish)!

Confession: I came into grad school with absolutely no funding…not a dime to my name…you could hear echoes in my bank account (if you were small enough to fit inside of it in the first place).

no debt


Now, my story is not unique by any means. I had heard of all the fairytales about how STEM students don’t pay for advanced degrees (especially women and certainly minorities). Whelp, here I was! Continue reading

D8: Stanford “Duck” Syndrome (i.e. We Just LOOK Calm)

red-cross-158454_640Important Syndromes to get familiar with as a graduate student should you ever have to diagnose yourself: Barbie (see first post), Impostor, and Duck…”what’s ‘Duck Syndrome,'” you say? Ever seen a duck floating serenely on the water and wondered how it was able to remain so peaceful? Turns out, that poor little duck is probably paddling its heart away. Continue reading

D1: From Barbie to Impostor?

awesome faceSo…I’ve successfully completed Day 1 as a Mechanical Engineering graduate student without spontaneously combusting–I don’t know about you, but that’s progress. The title may seem a bit mysterious to those not familiar with me or my alter ego (cleverly disguised with the same name) “Abisola,” a competitive spoken word poet. Barbie Syndromeis a poem that I wrote a few years ago tackling the daunting psychological effects of Continue reading