Reading

Reading for pleasure has anyone tried?? I love to read! there is something about being transported away to a different place, time, and meeting different people.

Even when I was a kid, I use to collect the Bernstein bear books, babysitter clubs, ect. OMG, I use to be obsessed with those books.

What I do now is borrow books from my local library. I used to read from my kindle but it was getting a little costly after awhile.

Also aside from reading journal articles or books related to your research, it is always best to mix it up a bit.

Perhaps, not similarly going to gym, but I tried to read a book on a daily basis. Obviously, it has be to be something interesting. Also, my commute time is about an hour, so reading kills time on the train.

Click on this link and it explains ‘reasons why we should read’: http://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/benefits-of-reading-real-books

So far I’ve read the following books:

  • The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah (I’m currently reading this)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (OMG- this is a must!!!)
  • When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker
  • Our souls at night  (this is ok)
  • The Piano teacher (this is ok)
  • The expatriates (good book)
  • All the light we cannot see (a must read!)
  • The Girl on the Train (OMG!)

 

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Destroy Fear!

Well today I tried very hard not to waste time and just follow through with my goals. It was very difficult because I just want this whole thing (graduate school life) to end already. But all I need to do is just finish this damn dissertation. It almost there and I’m trying very hard to fight this fucking procrastination. I wish I can just sit down and just do it. My attention is span is very short and I will do everything and anything to avoid doing the dissertation. The more I think about the more I waste time. I think I’m just scared and therefore by holding on to it (dissertation) delays my committee from judging me or criticizing me. I take criticism very badly because I start to think about how stupid I am or I should have known that or I should have said this or I’m not good enough. That is how I felt when I met with my committee last semester. I just think I’m not capable of being like them, I need to find it within me. I was never like this, believe it or not. When I did my Master thesis and when I defended it, it was one of the best days of my life. I truly felt like a scholar and it gave me the biggest confidence booster when I passed. My Master thesis was my life, day and night, and I wanted to get it done and I had passion. I literally would wake up every morning at 5AM and I would get ready and head to the library with my laptop and started writing. I can’t understand why I can’t do that for my dissertation or why I haven’t been doing that in the past. I’m afraid of rejection, I’m afraid of being laughed at or mocked, I’m afraid of not passing. This fucking fear is getting in my way of achieving my goal. I need to destroy this fear and just fucking do it.

Don’t Give up!

Purpose: Don’t give up on your hopes and dreams. Keep going!!!!

Hi Folks! sorry for the LONG delay from blogging. I promise, I will try to keep up. It has helped me in the past when I kept blogging on a daily basis, but I forgot why I stopped. I have a few drafts that I kept storing and never found the time to finish writing, but I chose this particularly draft, because I wrote it during a time when I felt very helpless and just another rock of turmoil and bullshit thrown at me.

Update (2 months ago-This draft was written in July):

Well, no good news. I wish I can say things are OK or better, but my family and I are currently in a standstill at the moment. My dad heard from a co-worker that the company plans to move him to a different building(s), meaning that, my family and I would have to move. Where? I do not have a clue yet. My dad tells me this yesterday, while I’m at work, and then I start to FREAK out because this is the LAST thing I need to deal with. My mom is trying to be positive about this and supportive, and so am I, but it gets to a point when I start to think ‘when is it enough??!’. When can I catch a break?? There is always something that always tries to bring me and my family down. Especially me, I feel like I never catch a break in my academic and social life. It’s very hard to say this, but my dad cannot continue to work at his current job, because he is struggling to keep up. He does not admit to this but it is very true. His phone does constantly ringing either because it is a phone call, an email, or a text message or a voicemail. He is harassed by the tenants because they hate the new management company and the first person who they take it out on is my father. I know this is part of this job, but this is not life or a healthy working environment for him. The sad part, is that he just takes it, he does it for my us. He can get hurt by falling but the man will get up and continue to work. This is not the way to live life and it is unfair.

My mom and I want my dad to stop working at his job, but he wants to wait it out until we are able to purchase a home. Speaking of buying a home, which I’m sure you all know, is not EASY. It takes time and research. However, my parents depend too much on me to do this and I do not have time. I wake up every morning at 6:30 AM for work and come back home around 7 PM. I then go to the gym because it is the only time of the day to have some ME time. Then I try to do some dissertation work and pass out afterwards.******

Family Update (today):

It was pretty tough reading the above draft that I written 2 months ago. I was very angry and helpless. Today, I saw a therapist because I feel like my ability to focus and just concentrate on myself has taken a turn for the worse. I have until Friday to hand in my edited dissertation and today is Monday, Sept 28. I feel like if I just concentrate and put my all into it, I can definitely make the deadline, but for some reason I can’t. I know it sounds stupid and so immature, but I feel like I’m not allowing myself to move forward. I spoke to my therapist about it today and he said that I am showing him signs of depression. To be honest, I feel depressed. I feel like my family brings me down, even though I love them so much, and I’m just hard on myself. I was happy that I was able to have a conversation with someone instead of just badly judging and hurting myself. When I say hurting myself, I do not mean physically (so no worries) but I hurt myself mentally and emotionally. For example, I am an emotional eater and I will eat eat eat because it satisfy this emptiness that I have, I won’t go the gym (even though, I know it makes me feel better after a great workout, I refuse to go), or I distance myself from everybody. I have written so many ‘TO DO’ lists and I probably only followed through less than 3 lists. Also, 2 months ago, I was going to the gym constantly and now I barely go. I’d rather stay in my room and I keep telling myself, ‘yea just rest and then you will work on your dissertation..just rest’ and next thing you know it’s already 11PM. It a sick cycle and I have been in this funk for the past 2 months. It’s so bad that it has been negatively affecting me.

I can’t even go into my family because it will only bring me down. I will write about them in another blog. I will try not to give up on myself and will keep going even stupid obstacles.

I will try to check in tomorrow!

Writing Routine

Sorry for the delayed posting, I’ve been so busy at work and home. I cannot even catch a break sometimes. I will give you some updates and then I will discuss about writing.

Family Updates

My dad keeps getting injured at his job lately. Sometimes I think he is lies to me when I ask him how his day was, and usually I get a half smile and he says ‘everything is ok, just had to get things fixed.’ The other day, I can tell when my dad is stressed out or just had it, I called him during my lunch break and I can tell by his voice that he has had it. He told me that, everyone keeps calling him and by the time he gets started on something, something else comes up or some tenants are complaining about something ect. There are other days when everything is going pretty ok for him, when nobody calls him. I know I should be happy that at least he has a job, but I know he is not happy at all. I don’t really want to get into this, but I blame myself sometimes.

My brother finally moved into this apartment. I’m so happy only because I feel like i have more space in my home. I don’t feel all stressed out and angry. I actually look forward to going home after work. My parents feel better, like the whole apartment feels so much differently now that brother moved out. I love my brother, but I just need my space. He found a partner, which I’m soo happy for him.

My mom is going strong with her health and jobs. She works everyday as a housekeeper and she loves all of her jobs.

Writing Routine (the meat of the blog)

Writing my blogs daily (or at least I try to) has really helped me to get over the fear of writing. I’m sure some of you have felt that way before. When you see a blank sheet in front of you and that black little stick is blinking. To be honest, I still have some fears but slowly, I’ve been shedding that fear away by just constantly writing.

For the past two weeks, my boss asked me to put together an article for our journal. For of all, this is a great opportunity, only because this is my first time writing an article for a real journal. So, for the past two weeks, I’ve been writing like a maniac, the article is also a part of my dissertation edits. In a way, this works out well because I’m writing a part of my dissertation.

My writing routine includes the following:

1. before I even start on anything, I pray (I know this sounds cheesy, but I really do)

2. quickly check my emails (I try to not spend too much time on this)

3. I shut my office door 

4. Stretch for a bit to get the juices flowing 

5. I make sure I have my water bottle filled, sometimes I have an extra water bottle, or if I’m in a mood for some coffee, I will have my coffee ready

6. I open my document and re-read the whole article before typing (this really helps because I make sure I know everything from left to right)

7. Then I begin to write and don’t stop until I need I break* 

*Make sure you take QUICK breaks whenever you write. My breaks include taking a short walk around the office hallways, bathroom break, or start stretching 

I will try to post a blog tomorrow.

Good things to come

Hi Folks!

So, I decided to write something on a more positive note, in other words, the good things that are happening right now.

1.  I have a job at a research center, I’ve been working here full-time and I love it. It helps keep my mind off of things and all the negativity surrounding my life. This job also has helped me develop and strengthen my research skills and writing (I’m pretty sure you think my writing is terrible, based on these blogs…But I’m working on it). Furthermore, my boss who is also the center’s director is like my mentor and I really appreciate that about him. The great aspect about my job is that the research projects that I have worked on and will work on are research that interest me.

2. Collaboration with my colleagues at the research center. My colleague and I are planning on writing a book (I will tell you more about this down the road). This is the first time, I’m working with someone, especially developing a book. I’ve never done this. Usually, any type of work I have done in the past, was mostly done on my own. I’m very excited about this project because I will finally get to collaborate with someone and I will have my first co-authored book. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

3. A co-worker (also a research assistant) and I are thinking of having our own research consultant business. We plan to do our own little start-up company. We both have really great research skills (statistical, model-building, coding/programming), so we figured we can probably take these skills to next level. I’m super excited about this, just the thought of it gives me high hopes about my future. Hey who knows? maybe we can have our consulting business on the side. So, now we are at the planning stage which includes: thinking of a name of our company, website design, the ins and outs of creating a consulting business, ect.

4. My brother is moving out! so, my parents are knocking down our wall (the wall that separates my room and his), so now my room is going to be bigger. Space is very valuable here..lol. Also, since my brother is going to move out, I think my parents and I are going to be less stressed. I love my brother but I cannot live with him anymore. He is such a slob, for example, whenever he opens a new contacts, he leaves the plastic on the sink. I don’t understand why it is so difficult to take that garbage to the trash??? or another example, is that when he eats again (like at 3AM) he leaves all of the food on the kitchen table and does not even bother to pick up after himself. I can go on and on. Folks, he is only moving up to 3 flights of stairs. He ended up renting an apartment where my dad works as a superintendent. Anyways, this is good news to me and my family, and I think it is about time for him to move out.

5. I’m going to instruct an online-summer course for about 4 weeks. I love doing this, because everything is online. I design the course and the materials, which I enjoy. I already have 33 students!!!!

Well, this is it, this is my list of good things to come. I really hope I can add more to this list soon. I will try to focus on this positive things and less on the negatives.

Dad’s Bday

The weekend went smoothly. I helped out my parents with their small business they’ve had for over 15+ years. Although, I had to wake up early in the morning but it was all good. I’ve been getting better waking up in the mornings without having such an attitude or be in a really bad mood. I just sleep early (around 10:30PM) and when I wake up I feel nice and fresh, ready to conquer the day (let’s say 70% of the time).

Last night, my family and I celebrated my dad birthday and it was nice little gathering (just my parents, my brother and my cousin and her baby). We also watched the ‘Game of Thrones’ season finale, which by the way, I still can’t over how that show ended and now I have to wait another year to watch what happens next. I may have to read the book series.

I had this thought in my head about my parents because yesterday was my dad’s birthday. Sometimes, I wonder if my parents ever had any regrets with their decisions to stay in this country. I see them both working very hard and always have. It tears my heart apart when I see them busting their butts every single day. I can see some people say, “hey that’s life.” Yes, I agree to that to some extent, but I wonder if they are happy. When I started writing my blogs last year (October 2014), my mom was unemployed for almost 2 years and during that time her health took for a turn and I think she was depressed. Now she is back on her feet and she is happy to feel like she is needed and can contribute to the family. My father on the other hand, has worked non-stop, every single day. Monday through Fridays- he is a superintendent and on the weekends he works on his business and my mom and I both help out on the weekends too. The guy barely relaxes (that is why he loves going to the recreation) and I wish I can make things better for him and my mom. If someone gave me wish right now and asked me what I wanted the most at this very moment/second, I’d honestly say “I want a home for my parents.” I would also like my father to stop working as a superintendent. My parents has sacrificed a lot for me, and look where I am at now, not even done with my PhD and just started working. It’s neither a good or bad thing, but it is not where I want to be in my life right now. I wish I had the means to help my parents out, so they can enjoy their lives and finally relax. If you read my past blogs, you can really tell that I am very close to my parents. We only have each other. But I am trying folks. I really am. I wonder if there will ever be time when we can just be happy. I know there are worse things out there and I’m sure others are going through so much worse. But when is it enough?

I was reading a few blogs last night and it reminds me that others have it 10 times worse than what I do. I should appreciate I even have my parents and that they have me. I know it seems like I complain a lot, but it’s just a way for me to vent. I really hope I can get them a nice house.

But in order to get there, or at least close enough to that goal, I have to finish the damn dissertation.

Patience and Exercise

I know I wrote a blog about faith/meditation yesterday, but like I said I’m not perfect. Last night, I swear my patience was wearing very thin. I felt this fire inside of me, like a ticking time bomb about to explode any minute with emotions. I just want to be alone. Is this normal?? There are times when I do not want to talk to my boyfriend on the phone, I do not want to deal with my parents, and lastly there is fucking way I want deal or see my brother. He is the icing on the cake. I can’t stand him, especially when I’m losing my patience. He is one of the reasons why my parents and I are constantly stressed out, and now I’m going to go on a rant about him (sorry!). Maybe it makes me feel better, but what the hell. Here I go. He is a PIG!!! and expects my parents and I to cater to his every fucking need. He is one of the most selfish persons I know on this earth. He is way much older than I am and yet he acts like a 19 year old immature brat. He still lives with his parents and is in total debt (credit cards, school loans- mind you he graduated like 10-15 years ago), took out loans on behalf of my mom (which by the way ended up destroying her credit scores- because he did not pay his student loans in the past 10 years), and he has tons of credit cards (did I tell you that some of the credit cards were under my parents names???). Every time he comes home, I swear, I feel like he brings a dark cloud with him. I love my brother and I always will, but he just adds that extra volume of stress in my life.

***I wrote the above paragraph last night***

So, since last night, I cooled off, I think I was very tired because I came home late (last minute meeting at work) and the night before. Also, I noticed that when I do not work out, I feel like total shit. I’ve started going to a recreation with my dad, it has an indoor and outdoor pool and a fitness center. My dad goes there almost everyday and has been getting my mom and I to go with him. I use to HATE going, only because I was extremely lazy and just wanted to watch tv and relax after work. Who can blame me? My commute to work is about an hour long. Anyways, in the past month, I’ve been going with my father and I head straight to the fitness center while my dad goes to the pool. Oh did I mention, the recreation has 2 saunas?? No wonder, my dad loves going there. It’s a good way to relax. I go to the gym for about 40-60 mins and then I go to the saunas. I just sit there and try to do some meditation (I do not mean sitting with my legs crossed and saying ‘cmmmmmmm’)- I just lay there and do some breathing exercises (breathe in and breathe out). All jokes aside, adding the gym/sauna in my daily routine, Monday through Friday routine, does wonders. Believe me, I can lose some weight, but I do this for mental exercise (I’m not crazy, well, I don’t think I am, but going through all this bullshit drives me insane). Also, I use to get extremely bored, especially when using the treadmill, but I load up my kindle with some books (I love mystery books) and read it while I’m on either the treadmill or elliptical. My boyfriend thinks I’m nuts when I do this (reading my kindle) but I just speed walk on the treadmill and have it on an incline. For me, reading helps to kill time.

Bottom line- I highly recommend adding some exercise to your daily routine, especially when writing a dissertation and have a 9:00-5:00PM job.  I honestly, go on the treadmill for about 30-40 minutes and then the elliptical for about 10-15 minutes. Try it! I started off with baby steps and then it (exercising)  just gradually became part of my routine.

Faith

Faith is very strong word and I believe that having faith in something or anything can really help when one is in need of hope. I pray every morning and night. It’s becoming a habit now, especially during these shitty times. It’s funny how, I NEVER prayed in the past. I always thought praying or anything that had to do with religion was boring and a waste of time. However, now I need it more than ever. **Just a warning, this blog is not about getting everyone to start praying or have people believe in a religion, I’m just telling you about my experiences and how praying has really helped me get through a good/rough day. Believe me, I am your least religious person here (if that makes any sense), but the tool of praying or even meditating really does help, at least for me.**

My friend from my graduate program invited me to go with her and her mother to church. From then on, I attended mass almost every Sundays and some weekdays on campus. What’s great about attending mass on campus is that the priest relates the readings (gospels) to the students. Mind you, this was during my first 3 years of my Phd program. Going to mass for 30 minutes  on weekdays and Sundays forced and helped me reflect on the good and bad things going on my life then. Also, if you think of it this way, it allowed me to get away from the world for a bit and reflect on myself. It was a good therapy. Every time, when shit hit the fan, I knew the only place to go was to church, because it helped me get away for a bit. No running around, not dealing with students or my advisors, etc- just sitting in the chapel, with me and my thoughts.

I came across this article- on how it is scientifically proven that praying makes a difference. Click on this link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/more-mortal/201406/5-scientifically-supported-benefits-prayer

And like I said, I found this to be true. Also, meditating at least 10 minutes a day is great too. I read this book by Dan Harris called “10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Really Works — a True Story” (here is the link to the book via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/10-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works-A/dp/0062265431). I highly recommend to anyone to read this book. Not sound like salesperson here, but this book is amazing. Dan Harris, is an anchorman for ‘Good Morning America’ and he is the type not to take any bullshit. Very typical New Yorker (even though he is not from there). In this book, he describes his journey being a very big headed, had low self esteem, arrogant person (I do not know this combination- low self esteem and arrogant, but I met people like this)- who also second guesses his actions/decisions/and anything and everything that dealt with life. I don’t want to ruin this for you, but at the end, he finds that meditating for at least 5 minutes a day, helped him get through his anxieities and other problems he was facing. He was less stress out, because he took 5 minutes (which gradually increased to like 30 mins to 1hr) a day to breathe in and breathe out and just meditate.

Bottom line, or the big take away from this blog, is to find your inner peace and take a few minutes each day for yourself. I try to do this and it does really help, even though it does not solve my problems, having a little bit of faith gives me hope that ‘everything will be OK.’ I may be going through constant bullshit, but having a few minutes to myself and not think about all these problems and issues relieves some tensions and allows me to ‘regroup’ my thoughts and feelings. Take the time to reflect on YOU and not on others and give yourself some ME time.

I hope this helps others as well.

Concentration

So far, Yesterday went pretty ok. I’m at work and for some reason my attention span is really bad. For example, it is very difficult for me to focus on something or completing a task at work or for my dissertation. I feel like I have so much on my mind, related to family and trying to get things accomplished. I really need to stop that because it is getting in the way of work. I worry too much about my parents and their jobs, paying off credit cards, my brother being an asshole (ie. he used some of our names to open up credit cards & he is not helping out at all), and lastly, I’m hoping by the end of this this year my family and I can finally purchase a home.

I wonder if anyone out there, go through this? or is it just me? It’s very hard for me to function when I constantly worrying about home. For example, yesterday my dad had a doctor’s appointment and since his hours were cut short, he went to his appointment and next thing I know, his boss was giving him such a hard time. I had to get in touch with this boss and tell him (via text because he did not want to talk on the phone) that he is already off the clock, because his hours was cut from 40 hours a week to 15 hours a week (which means his regular hours is from 8:00AM-11:00AM, Monday through Fridays). My dad’s appointment was at 2:45PM, so technically, my dad is off the clock. Anyways, long story short, his boss was upset and I said to him, well, this is what happens when you cut his hours, you cannot expect him to be in the building all day, without getting any compensation.

I really wish my dad can let go of that job, because it really stresses me out. I feel bad for him because I see him struggling with work and dealing with such assholes. This is why I always go back to blaming myself. I tell myself, “if only you’d finish your PhD , a year or 2 ago, maybe you’d be making a bit more $$ and able to contribute more to the family!” I drive myself insane, because I constantly blame myself. I make OK for myself now, actually I make a tad bit better than being paid as a teaching assistant, but still it is not enough to buy a home and just be stress free.

I wish things could be different for me and my parents, but I know we will get pass this and be resilient. I’m not giving up my goals. I know my family and I will get pass this bump on the road.

As for concentration, I did ok yesterday afternoon (I wrote this blog in the morning and saved it as a draft). I just closed my door and just started going at it. I thought about what is important and the only way to get through this (family situation and Phd) is to just do it! I know it sounds silly and redundant when I complain and write about family and PhD. But I really need to understand that doing the work (ie. job and dissertation) is the only way out of this.

Family and Phd Journey Update

Hello There!
Just a few updates on the following shitty journey of my Phd. First and foremost, my dissertation defense was a disaster because my committee members (well some) thought that I was not ready and you know what, I do not blame them at all. After having a very incompetent advisor (God forgive me), I was getting nowhere with anything. Also, what I thought was pretty much OK (dissertation), was not at all OK with my committee. They thought I needed to do more work and cleaning up and I say this again, “I agree with them.”  But in any case, I’m happy that at least it will be a quality dissertation and not something that is total shit. I understand and I know that I’m not saving the world or have some great theory, but I want to be PROUD of my work and have my committee stand behind it and be proud of it too.

Because of this horrible event. I was completely depressed. All I wanted to do was to hide out in my room and just not bother talking or hanging out with no one. I wanted to be completely alone because I felt that it was my fault that this all happened. If only, I had changed a few things in my past, for example, not waste my summers. However, every summer I was working with a research center, which landed me a full time position (now). Also, another biggest problem is my family. My dad’s health is not so good and his new employers are total assholes, because they have him manage 2 buildings (he is superintendent) and not only that, his hours reduced from 40 hours a week to 15 hours a week with a shitty hourly pay. My mom finally has a few jobs and she is working every day. I’m so happy for my mom, because a year ago, her health took for a turn and she was in pretty bad shape. So, my mom working, relieves pressure off of me.

My parents and I want to purchase a home but it has been difficult. It’s a process, and we are trying to get rid (paying off) our credit cards and save up more money for a good down payment. But until then, I’m hoping we will have our own home by the beginning of next year (2016). I feel terrible and bad because if ONLY I finished my PhD sooner, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position. My life would probably be different. I feel like i should be in this place/time of my life, where I’m still on working on the damn thing (dissertation). Anyways, it is what it is.

Now, I’m working full-time (phew!) and editing/fixing my dissertation.

The following are my goals for the summer:

1. finalize the dissertation and hand it to my new advisor by end of July.

2. pay off all of my credit cards by September

3. Saving $$$

i will write back tomorrow!