Why I Committed to Posting Every Day for a Month

The month of October was incredibly hectic but I managed to post every single day. This has been a goal of mine and once I got started I was determined to do the whole month. The primary reason for this goals is that I have so many different things I want to write about and share but often don’t make the time to do it. By posting every day I forced myself to spend time creating posts about things I have really been wanting to talk about.

I love fashion, books, adventure, plus I enjoy sharing random lifestyle posts. Something that has really frustrated me in the blogger world is that everyone talks about “finding your niche.” I know that in order to be successful in anything you need to think about your audience and what they want to hear. When I listen to podcasts or read posts about how to be successful in blogging it seems to be a mix of talking to your audience and being authentic, but most importantly, finding your niche. You aren’t supposed to really focus about more than one or two things if you want to be successful. I really struggle with this because I love so many things and since I love them I want to share them with others. I don’t want to put myself in a box. I don’t want to just share my outfits or just share books. I love these things but can’t help but love other things just as much. This is part of the reason I struggled with making a decision about graduate school I felt like it would put me in a specific box and I would not be able to stray from that. I want to live a life full of many things, not just a few. I am not going to talk about my decision-making process for grad school in this post but it does give some insight into why I felt the need to post every day.

Since I did not want to write about just one thing, I needed to produce more of all the things I wanted to share. It does seem like talking about something different every week or month would not be as relatable to readers. People tend to look for specific advice from different people and if they don’t know what they will find from your site, why spend the time? My thought was that if I post consistently every week in each category that I am interesting in writing about maybe I can work around this. If your job is to blog this is feasible but as a grad student just the thought has been a little terrifying. I started posting every day at the end of September just to challenge myself and as we got through the first few weeks of October I decided to stick with it through the month. It felt good to be accomplishing a goal and I enjoyed dedicating some time every week to thinking about my blog.

Going forward I want to continue this as best I can but I do think I will be taking Saturday’s off. It is just a little too much to be focusing on both my blog and grad school every single day. I love them both but my health and relationships are definitely falling to the way side. I have been continuously sick since I left for Vermont (October 1st)… so the entire month. So I definitely admit that I am in serious need of some focus on my mental and physical health. Since I have been really liking the routine of posting everyday I am not totally giving that up right now, just giving myself one day to not think about posting. This may change in the future but I will probably do another check in around the holidays. I would love to hear any thoughts you have on the blogging world and how you have felt in response to the idea of committing to one or two things (in the blogging community and in life in general).

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Thanks for following along!

Erin

5 Things I Learned from My First Year of Grad School

It is Sunday night and I am at my friends house in Vermont. I have been trying for days to brainstorm ideas for today’s post and I have not had any that I felt passionate about. What I realized is that I spend so much time thinking about grad school and stressing about work. I have been actively avoiding the subject since it has been hard for me lately but sometime the most important thing to do when something is hard is face it and talk about it. Instead of updating you on where I am right now with everything I though I would list the five most important things I have learned from my first year (and a few months) of grad school.

  1. Stuff happens. The unexpected happens a lot and the worst case scenario happens way more then I thought it would. The thing I have learned from this is that the best way to handle it is to recognize it, deal with it and move on. Rolling with the punches is a must and finding a solution to an unexpected problem has been a part of my job. It does not help at all to stress about it and overthink it a ton (which I have spent lots of time doing).
  2. Don’t say yes to everything. This is by far the most surprising point for me on this list. I was the ‘say yes to everything’ person in college and that was a great strategy for me since I was able to do so many amazing things. Now if I said yes to everything I would really be struggling. In fact, right now, I am limiting what I say yes to and still feel completely overwhelmed. A few weeks ago I had to drop something since I realized that I was way over my head and I did not feel like I was doing anything well since I had too much to do.
  3. Have a life outside of school. Having both a family and a hobby are so important for staying balanced and sane. I am so used to being around people whose jobs are their hobbies and vice versa (that seems odd but I had quite a few professors in undergrad who truly loved their jobs and spent a ton of time going above and beyond a day job). While I am happy for those people and look up to them, I am the kind of person who needs other things in my life. I want to do other things. I also think that regardless of whether or not you need a hobby you should have a work life balance that consists of people you care about. Ever since Aiden came out to Utah I have been way better at this but am by no means an expert. I am still struggling a ton with this one.
  4. Make friends outside of work. While I love my lab and everyone in it I have been learning how important it is to have other people in my life. I do want to talk to my co-workers and hang out outside of work but it can be so easy to slip into talking about work. For me the lines definitely blurred and I am feeling the need to at least reach out some more to other friends.
  5. Try to focus on what you want to get out of it. In other words, what do you care about in regard to this job? This is definitely not always possible since there are many things you need to do for others in order to get where you want to be. I included this one though because I feel like I struggle with it the most. I always think about the expectations others have of me and what they want me to do versus what I want to be doing. I care so much about people and want to please them and for them to be proud of me. I still think it is important to care about others but in grad school I am learning that the biggest motivator is your own desire to do certain things (i.e. care about your research). Not only that but it is about creating your own research. So build off of other people but the most important thing is do what you want to be doing.

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Thanks for reading! If you are in grad school or have had similar experiences with work I would love to hear about it.

Erin

It’s Been a While!

Wow it has been three months since I have posted. I took quite the hiatus for several reasons, the biggest being this time of year for grad school has been absolutely insane. I guess my last post was at the end of March. Research prep, fieldwork and finals all collided in April and May and I barely stayed afloat just keeping up with all that. I was able to see my family for Easter which was a nice little break. Then I focused on studying for my vet immunology class (such an incredible class but required lots of studying). In the thick of it all I went to Aiden’s graduation in the beginning of May. Being back in Indiana allowed me to catch up with some college friends for a bit. This was such a blessing for me since I have been missing them a ton this year.

The rest of May and the first half of June were filled with fieldwork for my research. This is my absolute favorite part of my job/school and I had such a blast trouncing around the Exumas. These trips were the first ones that I was responsible for most of the organizing and data collection so I worked insane hours but it was so much fun. Because of this I was totally exhausted when I got back and had to really rally to get all the lab work done in the following weeks.

I had several days between trips so I visited Aiden’s family in New Jersey. I still had to work a bit while there but his sister and I went into NYC for a day and saw Dear Evan Hansen. It was amazing! I highly recommend seeing it if you are in the city! I had a short visit with my family on the way back to Utah. It fell on father’s day so I was able to play some golf with him and we hiked Mount Sanitas and went to Dagabi Cucina for dinner.

The last two and a half weeks have been spent intensively doing lab work. There are several assays I am using in my research that need to be done right away so we had a bunch of people working intensive, long days for a week to get everything done. I am now in the thick of doing DNA extractions for some microbiome samples that I am looking at. Despite still being busy with work I have been feeling inspire to write some. I am missing this outlet and feel like it is time to start consistently blogging again.

The other reason I took a long break from the blog was because with being so busy I started to feel like I was forcing myself to think about and write specific blog related content. I want it to be authentic. It is also supposed to be both an outlet for me and a way for me to share my stories, interests and opinions. I am feeling good about my headspace and ready to write more for fun!

Here are some photos from the last several months:

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Celebrating Easter with my family back in Boulder
Utah drive
Driving from our field site in southern Utah to Denver to fly out to Indiana. I-70 through Utah into Colorado is so so beautiful… it makes a great road trip!
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This amazing guy finally graduated from Earlham College. He focused on physics and computer science (so out of my league but so proud of him!).
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Fieldwork in the Bahama islands!
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I can’t recommend this musical enough. Very moving and sad but incredible!
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Visiting Rizzoli Bookstore before the show. I love a good book shop!
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Bahamas trip #2… Taking a quick break from data collection to swim in the beautiful waters.
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The top of Sanitas with my dad. Loved having this day with him… he has been such an inspiration for me!
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We ran over 500 samples! So much work but very exciting.

Thanks for reading!

Erin

2018 in Pictures

I am a little later than I had hoped for this, but I wanted to do the same thing as last year and review 2018 in photos (here is the link to 2017’s year in pictures). I think this is such a fun way to look back on the year and remember all that has happened. I will sat that 2018 was filled with more challenges than 2017 but there were also some major life changes and fun adventures. I hope to do a bigger reflection post on this in the future but for now, here was my year in pictures:

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I am so thankful for all the opportunities I had in 2018 and for all the people who have been in my life (and who I met!). I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself in 2019.

Happy 2019!

Erin

Living in Utah

The past four months have been an intense introduction to graduate school, not to mention the fact that I moved to an entirely new state. I chose my graduate program for my lab/advisor (I might talk about this more in a later post) however the location is definitely a bonus! I am a mountain girl through and through and am thrilled to be back in the rockies. Talk about 360 mountain views!

Here are my five favorite things about living in Utah:

Mountains galore. I can’t even explain how beautiful it is! The valley I live in is surrounded my mountains and I love it. There are such amazing hiking trails and plenty of rock climbing.

Salt Lake City. I don’t actually live in Salt Lake but I have gone a couple times and I really like it. There is so much good music, food and drink! I am actually going down there tomorrow with some friends to go to the German Christmas Market.

The location. This sounds kind of strange but I really love being back in the west. I was born and raised in Colorado and I am so psyched to be back in the area. It is way closer to family which is nice as well. There are also so many great national parks and ski areas!

Skiing. Speaking of ski areas! I haven’t skied yet but I have heard great things about the skiing here and am beyond excited.

The people. Everyone has been so nice and I am loving all the outdoor vibes. Moving is so tough especially when you don’t really know anyone so having good people around has been so helpful.

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I also quick wanted to mention that Utah is incredible and so is graduate school but it has been so busy so I am hoping to get on a more regular posting schedule soon!

Erin

 

 

 

Life is Crazy!

This whole summer has been crazy. So much travel, adventure and big life changes. I am actually leaving for the Bahamas tonight for my last big trip of the season. It is entirely for field research but should be fun! So overall life has just been super hectic lately. I am going to do a more detailed post when I get back however I just wanted to pop in and say hello… I have been very MIA lately. Some highlights have been my big Europe trip in July, backpacking adventures and a trip to New Hampshire in August as well as starting grad school! I actually just finished my first full week of classes and it was crazy. It has only been a little over a year since undergrad but I forgot how much time classes take. They are great so far though and I am really looking forward to the semester. I will also do some more detailed posts on grad school in the coming months. For now I am going to sign off because my flight leaves in three hours!

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Love,

Erin