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10 Things Getting me through Grad School

I'm not gonna lie, my Master's program is really throwing me for a loop. Re-entering society after a year of lockdown in the middle of a portamento is no small feat, and honestly? I think we could all use a nap right now. However, since some of us are not the napping type (not me obviously, but some), I've compiled a list of things that are saving my sanity right now.

1. Candles

On god, I never thought I would be the kind of lady to blog about loving candles. But here I am, sitting here, blogging about how much I love candles. Especially now, when it's getting colder and grayer here in Chicago. I promise, bestie, get a set of tea candles for like $5 at Target and watch your morning sleepies melt away.

2. A Solid Morning Routine

I know, I know, Morning Routines are for TikTok Influencers and straight people that drink matcha. I'm telling you though, having a morning routine and sticking to it has led to a great day basically every day. I'm just saying; every day I do my silly little morning tasks, I have a great day. It doesn't have to be crazy. Just think of things you already do in the morning (my first one started with "wake up," no lie).

3. Stablio Pastel Highlights

You thought I wasn't gonna include something for my Type-A friends? These highlighters come as a direct recommendation from my friend, who is easily one of the smartest people I know. In her words; "I can't explain it, but they make me smarter."

4. Me-time

After asking after the rest of my 1st-year grad student cohort, there was a RESOUNDING response with the theme of self-care. From journaling to therapy, cooking, meditating, planning and cleaning, there was a massive outpouring of responses that had a lot to do with "me-time." It's weird, it's like all of the things people tell you to do to feel better actually work. Honestly, I think the key here is just being curious about how you feel when you're doing basically everything. Think; what does your brain say to you when you skip class v. when you plan and mediate? (An argument can also be made for cognitive therapy here, but I'm neither a doctor nor your mother and I will tell you to go to therapy).

5. A Community

Stick with me. I am not a "joiner," nor am I someone who cares much about social standing and I've also got a lot of anxiety surrounding the relationship between socializing and money. However, I've noticed that I really do feel better when I get to spend time with the people in my program. They just...get it. So I'm here, encouraging you to make friends, in or outside of your program.

6. A Freakin' Bomb Comfort Playlist

I have three that I constantly rotate through, curated specifically for the ~*vibe*~ I'm trying to create. My favorite right now is my "Two Glasses of Wine and a Silk Bathrobe" playlist. It's perfect to celebrate the end of the day, whenever that may be for you. I also have one specifically for Bath Time. I do. I'm not ashamed.

7. My Artist Loft Dot Journal

Let's face it, we are nothing without a solid planner. And listen, I know that you're gonna think "this woman is so straight-passing it hurts" when you click that link, but I could not be more serious about this, bestie. It was always one of those things that I thought about starting but didn't want to put in the time or effort. Ironically, the hardest part was just deciding what I wanted it to look like and how I wanted to use it. The actual setup probably took an hour and a half or so, and I took a LOT of breaks. Anyway, if you're looking for a great product, this is it. The pages are much thicker than others I've tried (looking at you, Moleskine), and the leather binding is durable and not at all bulky. 10/10 would recommend to everyone.

8. My Takeya Water Bottle

Fondly nicknamed my "emotional support water bottle." Need I say more.

9. Outside Interests

In the words of a very wise man from Georgia: "It takes some time away from being "productive," but at least you aren't selling your soul to your degree." Plus if I'm honest, I feel a lot more whole when I try to incorporate everything I love into my life (especially when one of those things are talking at people on the internet).

10. One small thing, each day

What, you thought I wasn't going to end on a sentimental note? It's basically science, bestie; do one thing, get dopamine. If your brain is telling you you're not doing enough, give it evidence that you are doing things, even if that thing was getting enough sleep. I promise, it's worth it.

Let me know what you think in the comments! Also, if you guys want to see what my planner looks like, let us know in our comment section!

- Camden McLean

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