While preparing this post I was reminded of the scene from Seinfeld when George pretended to be a marine biologist in order to impress a love interest. He charged into the ocean to do a good deed (albeit reluctantly) and save a beached whale, aware that his scheme was teetering on the brink and that his folly could be exposed at any moment. Fortunately, he was able to save the whale by extricating one of Kramer’s golf balls from the blowhole. He ultimately confessed his deception, but his lack of remorse or change in life direction was as unsettling as it was humorous.

My goal for this blog and my graduate education is not to be George Costanza. Fellow fans of the show will contend that this is a rather low bar to set, and I would have to agree, but I wish to be genuine and deserving of any achievements. I intend to be transparent about not only the hardships I face but the privileges from which I benefit. I strive to be a responsible, conscientious human being. I hope to be successful without that nudge from Chance.

Despite seeking growth and appreciating meticulous organization and routine, so far I have stumbled over my shoelaces fairly consistently. I have the best of intentions, I really do. I create a grocery list to remember everything I need, but I forget or lose the list and return home with a haphazardly purchased bag of La Croix Grapefruit, almond milk, mustard, and Teddy Grahams. I diligently use my planner, yet I allow my rabbit to sit on my desk and rip out pages. Most embarrassing of all, I spent my final undergraduate semester painstakingly completing a field notebook only to drown it in coffee less than a week before the submission. The consequences of this absentmindedness never are enjoyable. This pattern, while potentially endearing, should be better contained.

Therefore, I have spent the evening creating a schedule for the upcoming semester. It includes some of the following activities:

  1. Twenty minutes of Duolingo German and Russian per day
  2. One hour of exercise per day
  3. Two hours of doctoral application preparation per week
  4. Three blog posts per week
  5. Three no-spend days per week

Of course there are other things on this list. I require time for reading the newspapers, time for completing school obligations, and definitely time for Netflix and bunny snuggles. I value time for reading fiction, cooking, and playing Mario. Neglecting self-care is the express lane to burnout, and I have six or seven intense years ahead of me. I hope that by scheduling relaxation as carefully as prioritizing tasks I can make it through graduate school in one piece.




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