Monday, February 25, 2013

How to keep moving forward when your brain hates you

I was reading an online article and at the end there was this:
"To my friends in grad school:
Grad school is absolutely, undeniably, a Hard Thing. I’m sure you’ve all developed or are developing your own list of ways to cope with that, and that’s awesome.
But might I humbly suggest… making therapy one of the tools in your toolbox. Grad school is not a healthy environment. It’s set up to make you feel stupid, all the time! That’s important for learning, but it can wear on even the most enthusiastic scientist. There are also many powerful forces in grad school pushing you to work at 110% AT ALL TIMES. That’s literally impossible. It’s an environment built to make even the most resilient person a little bit crazy."
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels crazy RIGHT now!!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

laugh. love. dream. feel. listen. BE
 ~ Jennifer

Friday, February 22, 2013


I'm exactly where you are!  email me:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Good Morning World...

It's 7 am.  I'm going to sleep.  I had a very productive thesis proposal writing morning from 2 am to now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For Tanya

I'm writing this post so that I can look back on it when I'm feeling defeated with my thesis.  I had a good thesis day which started with a nice chat with Ashley over Skype who is working away on her Master's thesis while simultaneously travelling the world (jealous, especially considering I'm a full-time student without a job and barely managing).

She encouraged me to see my supervisor where I realized the research methodology I wanted to use didn't fit my research questions.  And since my research question should drive my methodology (and not the other way around) I'm going to have to do a little bit more work on the theoretical framework/ methodology section of my thesis proposal.

The first draft (of many) of my thesis proposal should be handed into my supervisor in about a week.  I'm aiming to get it handed in by the end of the month.  That's my goal.  The proposal is 25-35 pages in length.  I have completed 1 paragraph today.  I'm happy with that at the moment.

While meeting with my supervisor today my eyes welled up with tears when she said, "it's okay Jennifer, you don't need to be perfect."  Damn, for only meeting this lady a handful of times, she certainly knows me pretty well.  This thesis will be a personal journey of self discovery.  I will change and transform, just like I did when I went to Korea.  At the end of the meeting with my supervisor I unexpectedly recited my Foreign Love poem.  I made her cry and laugh.  She's a human with emotions too, cool!

In related news, I was pleasantly surprised when my friend alerted me to this announcement on the university news feed.  

Over the course of the past couple of weeks I've started regularly meeting with another graduate student, former co-worker.  We sit down with a bottle of wine and just chat about life.  She's incredibly brilliant and amazingly articulate (while I'm like, okay yah so like yah, what do you like thing?)  She too is meant for academia.  We are finding our way in this world (academia and other) together.  Our chats touch deep parts of my soul.  I'm thankful for her presence.

I've joined Toastmasters.  I actually love public speaking when I have prepared and memorized a speech.  But those damn impromptu speeches (named Table Topics in Toastmasters speak) are a killer. It's because I can't be perfect.  So my motivation for joining was to be okay with not being perfect, that's it.  

In other words, I'm learning to live with ambiguity, discomfort and imperfection.  And I'm happy and sad all at the same time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Foreign Love

Okay, my supervisor told me I have 2 weeks to hand in my thesis proposal.  So, I'm procrastinating and doing silly things like this:

Constructive criticism please :)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Questions from readers answered

There were two questions last week that I wanted to answer:

Margarita Lee asks, "My husband and I are considering moving to Korea for a few years before our daughter starts school.  Do you have any advice.  I know it will be difficult with the language difference at first.  I would really appreciate some words of wisdom.

My response:  YES, GOOOO!!!  It will be tough and at times you will question your decision.  The experience will be transformational for you and your family.  I say go with an open heart and be willing to experience things that are different.  Challenge yourself and be okay with the discomfort.  As for the language barrier, I think if you lived in Seoul you would find it's not too much of a problem.  Will you stay in Jeju?  Do you think you'll live with your in-laws?  I'd suggest learning Korean early on even if you don't intend to stay in Korea for a long time.  Knowing some of the language will help you form relationships and make your daily life easier.  Please let me know what you decide.

p.s. I'd love to read some of your work.  Is it available to the public?

Aeoise F wanted some advice with Korean language schools.

Sogang is SPECTACULAR.  I LOVED every minute of my time there.  The teaching style is very interactive and the learning environment is really fun.  Yes, it is expensive.  It works out to about $1,500 for 10 weeks, full-time.  So if you are looking for a more affordable school I'd suggest a course at YBM (click to link).  YBM is a private academy which caters to adults.  It is more affordable.  Good luck and have fun!