Step Back, Reset




The final months of my master's degree are quickly approaching, and to say the past month in particular has been difficult would be something of an understatement. I've enjoyed my time in Cambridge and the challenges of my program immensely, but it also hasn't quite been what I was expecting, and as someone who doesn't like surprises, that has thrown me for a loop. Studying here has in no way lessened my passion for history (it's probably only grown, in fact!), but it has made me reevaluate what I'd ultimately like to do with it, and perhaps that does not involve the career path I laid out for myself my freshman year of university. It's always been both scary and exciting to me to not have a strictly delineated plan, and so I've been grappling with that lately. I've been looking for jobs while working on my dissertation, which hasn't been the easiest balancing act.
And my dissertation. I have a love-hate relationship with that project. The ideas I had about my topic at the beginning of the year didn't pan out when I actually went and did my research, and I've been having trouble reformulating my argument in a way that satisfies my own goals and those of my supervisor. It all rather came to a head last week - I was sick, barely sleeping, and just trying to pound out sections without thinking too critically about them, which was of course a mistake. I'm just grateful to my friends for keeping me sane and for being a welcome distraction from work. After a hard meeting with my supervisor at the end of the week, I was completely drained, but I know what I have to do going forward, and I think I've managed to renew some passion for my topic with my newfound clarity. 
I had a much-needed lie in on Saturday and took a day to work on personal projects while catching up on TV shows from home, which was exactly what I needed. The next few months aren't going to be easy, and I know that, but I feel refreshed and recharged and I'm confident that everything is going to come together. My time in Cambridge has gone by much too quickly, and I want to make the most of the little time I have left.
My goal is to make sure that I make time for myself in spite of my heavy workload. I always find that when I don't, I only make things worse for myself in the long run, and so I'm going to try my best to blog more regularly, just so I have a forum to talk about the things I'm interested in that don't involve British Empire diplomacy and royal state visits.
Things that have been keeping me sane lately:
WQXR. Their playlists honouring Shakespeare's 450th birthday last week were spot on.
Yoga. My desk chair is unfortunately rather uncomfortable, and combined with the fact that I get pretty tense when I'm stressed, a few minutes on the yoga mat every day have been necessary.
Online window shopping. I'm a stress shopper (weird, I know), but I literally won't have space in my luggage when I move home if I buy anything else, and so I've been looking online to my heart's content. I'm in love with this, this, and these.
Spring. This would be the first spring I've properly experienced, and when the sun is out and shining on the flowers that are blooming absolutely everywhere, it's magical. You can see a bit on my Instagram.
What do you do to keep stress under control?
xx
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