GradLife Chic

Summer Reflections: Conquering Guilt like a Boss

Reflections, Lifestyle, ProductivityMaria JonesComment

This has been such an amazing summer for me but am I the only one who felt like the months flew by?!  In May, I finished ALL required coursework to fulfill the requirements for my PhD!  In June, my family and I went on our annual beach vacation and it was like lounging in paradise! In July, one of my oldest and best friends got married in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have ever participated in! I was nervous, however, about so many different weeks I would be away from the lab and unable to focus on my research. In the past, I would get nauseous at the idea of not getting work done which kept me from fully relaxing on vacation. Don't get me wrong, I LIVE for a good vacation or Netflix binge, but the post break "guilty guts" I experienced made it hard to enjoy the experience. This summer, however, I have done a better job enjoying my time and actually banishing that guilt to the nether-regions of my subconscious. I want to share with you my process for overcoming this misplaced guilt in order to enjoy my summer.

    1. Reach Out- I had a long to-do list that I wanted to finish before I left town and I was determined to cross off every item! I was sitting at my desk working on a manuscript draft and I was stuck on the introduction. After what felt like hours of staring at the screen ruminating on why I couldn't get past this block, I decided to take action and call someone for help: my Dad. This was one of my best decisions! He reminded me that it is important to step away during those moments so that you do not end up stuck in that nasty limbo where you are both getting no work done and not enjoying the moment. I was feeling so guilty about making slow progress on that section  that it was eating up the rest of the day which I had allotted to other important tasks that needed to be completed before my trips. I was so focused on finishing that one task I forgot to take regular breaks to keep my thinking fresh and my mind alert. Talking it out helped calm my spirit and focus my mind so that I could write.
    2. Mental Reframe- After talking to my Dad about this, I realized I had the wrong mindset and needed to shift my thinking if I wanted things to change. I was so busy sitting at my desk panicking about how much more work I had left to do in the little time before my trip that I didn't even realize I was wasting that time. After talking to my Dad, I had a meditation session to clear and center my mind. Focusing on my breathing and the soothing sounds from the Spotify meditation playlist were extremely helpful. I had an epiphany & realized that whatever I was able to get done before leaving would be enough and upon my return I would finish the rest. Reshaping my thinking took a huge weight off of my shoulders which allowed me to actually focus on my work and get more done! 
    3. Plan Ahead- From my previous blog and Instagram posts about planners, you can tell that I am an organized soul who needs to plan ahead to avoid anxiety and procrastination. I knew that I wanted to finish writing certain dissertation sections and getting my research project materials ready by exactly one week before my friend's wedding. I didn't want to be frantically writing in case I needed a last minute bridesmaid dress adjustment (which of course is exactly what happened). I used my planners to maximize the months, weeks, days, and hours leading up to my travels to ensure maximum productivity. I also scheduled in regular check ins with my productivity buddies to make sure I stayed on schedule....or at least to make sure I strayed as little as possible.

    I hope these tips can help you conquer the guilt and enjoy the moments with friends and family or in solitude away from work!  I know that I fully enjoyed my family vacation and bridesmaid experience because I was able to mentally turn off work worries and focus on the joy of the moment. Do you have any other tips that help you to conquer guilt or other distractions? Share in the comments below!

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Such a 'GradLife Chic' Day!

    Lifestyle, Reflections, Academia, PlannersMaria Jones1 Comment

    As I was reflecting on my day today on the phone with my dear friend Dr. A. Jones, she laughed and exclaimed, "You're having the Maria Jonesiest of days!" I almost cried laughing at the description but it was pretty accurate! Spelman woman, planners, shopping, pink and gold all quite accurately describe my day. In fact, they describe me so well that it felt like the perfect day to reveal my new logo designs and website! 



    This glamorous pink and gold reflects my general personality, personal brand, as well as the amazing day I had! I started my day off bright and early at my beloved alma mater, the ILLUSTRIOUS Spelman College. As you may recall from this post last April, I love going back to campus because it feels like coming home and I always enjoy giving back to the community that helped shape the woman I am today. I was once again serving as a judge for the psychology session at Spelman's Annual Research Day and proud of the research that the current students were conducting. Since mentoring is an important part of my love for academia, it is always a pleasure to provide feedback to budding young researchers. After leaving Spelman, I went back to campus in time for my weekly journal club and TA meetings. #GradLifeWin

    After my class and teaching responsibilities concluded, I went to go pick up my brand new lifestyle blogger business cards! The cards were designed by the wonderfully sweet and talented Jessica who also designed the new logos for my blog! You can find more of her work at her website here. Not only did she take the time to design a logo that reflected my inner essence so well but quickly designed these cards so that I could get them printed in time for Southeast Planner Con tomorrow! INSERT HIGH PITCHED SQUEALS OF PLANNER NERD DELIGHT! Afterwards, I went to the mall to grab this cute pink skirt to coordinate with the planner goodies I decided to take with me including my mini Day Designer & Target Style mini pad folio. If you're interested in a Day Designer planner you can check them out here.

    I am SO  excited to take a short break from grad school life to engage fully in my planner loving addiction! Most of the people in my life are shocked and amused that a Planner Con even exists and can't believe I'm going. I can't either because I get to plan, decorate, and network with the planner community in person! Let me know if you'll be attending because I would love to meet you!

    Make sure to follow me on social media at the links in the sidebar for pictures from the event as well as a planner inspired giveaway coming soon!

    Restez Chic Toujours!


    *Post contains affiliate links. All items pictured were purchased by me and all opinions are genuinely my own.*

    Happy New Year!

    Reflections, Planners, LifestyleMaria S. JonesComment

    Happy New Year! I hope you all have been enjoying fun times with loved ones and getting some rest before the new year. As I sit down with my planners and get ready for this new month and year, I want to take a minute to reflect on how I kicked 2015's ass and how I plan to stay consistent in 2016. As I am sure you can guess from the image above, I have FINALLY chosen my word for 2016: Consistency.

    In 2015, I decided to choose a single word around which I centered my goals: Simplify. I was originally inspired in 2014 during my qualifying exams to simplify my life because I felt SO overwhelmed by the task at hand coupled with the amount of STUFF that seemed to be closing in on me. I suppose then it was more of a 2014-2015 goal because it has been a long road to simplification. I would not go so far as to say it has been a journey into minimalism but I have borrowed heavily from those practices. I wanted to clear out the physical clutter which, I have always believed, is a manifestation of mental and emotional clutter. After reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (found on Amazon) in 2015, I was able to take the purging to the next level and even reduced a major component of my shopping impulses. Was it also a way to productively procrastinate during breaks from my exam? Probably! Did I significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary items from my home and life? Yes! I purged so many clothing items, office supplies, beauty products, toxic relationships, and knickknacks I had acquired over the years and it truly was a life changing and magical process! Not to mention it shifted my mindset and contributed to other 2015 wins: returned from medical leave with a clean bill of health, spent an entire calendar year hospital free, travelled internationally, empowered myself by helping others reach their goals, planned a new research trajectory, and survived my first semester back on my PhD grind.

    I am SO excited to kick off this year on a positive and energized note. After making so much progress this past year, I want to make sure I keep riding this momentum by practicing consistency in all areas of my life. I want to be more consistent in managing my health, research projects, finances, relationships with loved ones and God, and more! I am a little nervous as I type this because now it's real and out there on the Internet forcing a new level of accountability. PHEW! In the spirit of holding myself accountable, I plan to use my next few posts in January to discuss my goals in more detail and discuss some of the tools I plan to use to achieve them (spoiler alert: planners, apps, and color coding are involved). What are your goals for 2016? If you also choose a word a year let me know in the comments below! 

    Restez Chic Toujours!  

    Teamwork Makes the Ph.D. Work

    Productivity, Academia, ReflectionsMaria S. Jones2 Comments

    Happy Sunday Funday! After my last blog post, a few people have asked me what my "Recipe for Success" is in balancing graduate school and my personal life. After giving it some thought, this picture from my regular rotation of desktop backgrounds pretty much sums up my equation: 

    Ph.D. Success= Family + Flowers + Friends.

    Family-My family keeps me grounded and motivated. I aim to achieve the same level of success as my parents and their unwavering support and love are my solid ground. I strive to set a positive example as the oldest and my siblings' strong #TeamMaria enthusiasm and constant comic relief keep me going.

    Flowers-My flowers keep me optimistic and bright. I love keeping flowers in my home. They brighten my space and make me smile every time I walk by them. I like to keep a mix of faux and fresh flowers around so that I can have the benefits of the real ones but enjoy the no maintenance life of the faux ones.

    FriendsMy friends keep me laughing and focused. I am lucky to have so many friends who are equally ambitious across a multitude of disciplines and career paths. Whenever we get together, we have lots of laughs, ruthlessly competitive game nights, and discussions that can end in designing an experiment or a business plan. 

    Teamwork Makes the Ph.D. Work

    One of the things that makes getting a Ph.D. different from other graduate degrees is how individualized it is. Medical, law, seminary, and nursing students for example, go through the same classes and licensing exams together throughout their matriculation. In doctoral programs, however, even doctoral students in your same specialized research lab will be working on something very different form you. We take classes with other students but that is where the sameness ends. In a lot of ways, this can be a lonely process if you don't take advantage of social support networks. Even though we are part of a larger research community in our programs and active members of our lab's research team, your Ph.D. is what you make it. Whether it is seeking out opportunities to collaborate or a supportive sounding board, getting together regularly with others really helps to make the Ph.D. process manageable.


    Every Sunday evening, I have an accountability meeting with several other graduate students to keep our research progress on track. Each week we set goals for reading, writing, and professional development and write them into a Google Doc for everyone to see. We make sure that our weekly tasks are working towards accomplishing our semester and yearly goals. Research tasks are our focus to ensure that we make sure to prioritize these since our weeks can easily become overwhelmed with coursework, teaching, committee, clinical (for some), mentorship, and life tasks. Whenever we can't meet in person, we try to meet via Google hangouts to stay on top of our research goals. For me, this has been extremely helpful since I know I needed to work on prioritizing my research tasks and not letting my schedule get overwhelmed by other important tasks that did not further my research career. In my first blog post, I talked a little about how I let my research progress get further and further down on my to do list as I prioritized my health. This wasn't a bad thing per say but it did not help my research progress. Now that my health is more stable, I have been able to keep up with managing multiple research projects and I know these regular meetings have played a huge role in this productivity streak I have been and hope to stay on.

    We're All in This Together

    I would love to hear about how social support has helped you all! In the spirit of garnering social support networks, introduce yourself I would love to hear more about you! What are your social support networks like? Do you participate in any church or campus organizations that keep you grounded, motivated, and relieve your stress? Do you have a hobby related community that provides the same? The online planner community is one of my current favs! Are you currently in graduate school? Are you interested in applying one day? Let me know in the comments below!


    Bermetria Erskine


    Natasha Grant

    Send me an email with your address to {}

    I will be shipping your Day Designer planner and other Target goodies this week!

    I want to say a big


    to everyone who entered this giveaway!

    Make sure to keep an eye out on the blog for more giveaways coming soon!

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Organized Chic: Day Designer Review + Giveaway

    Planners, OrganizationMaria S. Jones8 Comments

    It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeaarrr! Back to school time has always been my favorite time of the year. New pens! New sticky notes! New planners, OH MY!

    To me, the most exciting part about the back to school grind is getting organized for the new academic year. As a PhD student, it's a bit different since during the summer we are still actively engaged in our research projects presenting at conferences, and even teaching summer courses. But the year brings back journal club meetings, teaching assistantships, our own coursework,  research assistants to manage and mentor, and any extracurricular activities. With the new semester just starting, I want to share with you the way I keep on top of all these different tasks: My Planner. 

    The Contract

    If you follow me on Instagram, you can tell I am a full on planner addict. It got so bad that for the 2014-2015 year, my best friend had me sign a contract that I would only use one planner for the year and if I purchased another one I would owe her $20 and she would produce an "I Told You So" music video. We had to rewrite the original note (in purple) because it was full of nonsense terms that gave me an out at every turn. Like a true best friend, she changed the wording to ensure I was actually held accountable if I broke the contract. This was the HARDEST year not to buy planners because so many new gorgeous ones came out and older ones were redesigned so beautifully! 

    Sample Day in my Day Designer

    I knew I wanted a daily planner because I like to schedule my to do list instead of just writing out a long list. For me, it ends up becoming more of a wish list of things I hope to maybe accomplish sometime in the near future. The original planner I chose was Emily Ley's Simplified Planner because I wanted to try the day on one page style and LOVE her inspiring and colorful products full of ideas for simplifying. But then I discovered the Day Designer by Whitney English and it was a total game changer. They are very similar in their layouts but as a #GoalGetter, I was especially attracted to the goal setting and branding worksheets at the beginning of Whitney's planner. I thought it was such perfect timing since, if you recall from my first post I was about to take a medical leave and was revamping my short-and-long-term goals. This planner allowed me to structure my days while I was on leave so that I stayed pretty active in the academic community and was extremely helpful during my first semester back in action.

    Color Coded Goal Categories

    As tempting as it was to buy ALL THE PLANNERS last year, I was extremely satisfied with my choice. The hard cover and gold corners protected the planner very well over the course of the year. It is such an amazing tool with your top 3 must do's for the day, a schedule on one side, a to do list on the other, and boxes to track deadlines, budgets, reminders, and dinner. As a psychology student, it was perfect to fill in my schedule with classes, scheduled research  participants and committee meetings.  I love to use the long list to track new tasks that pop up that day and the top 3 to prioritize my life. I use a different category for each box: 1)Research 2)Teaching 3)Life so that I can accomplish one item from each category. If you're interested, Whitney English still has some styles of the Academic Year edition available in the Day Designer Shop


    For the 2015-2016 Academic Year, I decided to use the Erin Condren Life Planner for my everything planner. In case you are wondering why I chose a different planner after loving the Day Designer, don't worry it's all part of my plan! As a psychologist and planner addict, I am doing a longitudinal planner experiment where I try different ones each year and determine which is the best to fit my needs. I purchased the vertical layout because I wanted to have a side bar to keep all my general errands and to dos together for that week. This way I can use the different boxes each day to do time blocking for when I want to accomplish specific tasks like my reading and writing schedule, advisor meetings, or personal appointments. Not to mention this planner has such bright and happy colors that keep me inspired! Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in a more detailed post about how I am using the multiple sections of this planner to stay organized. I feel optimistic this will keep me organized and productive!


    For my first giveaway on the blog, I want to share the planner love with you! 


     Winners will be chosen to receive a Day Designer for Target Weekly/Monthly Planner! 

    These beauties have a hard cover, goal planning worksheets, a lined monthly calendar, and a weekly layout that features a daily top 3, hourly breakdown, and notes sections. 


     To enter, follow me on Bloglovin',Instagram,Twitter, and Pinterest

    Tag a friend on any social media outlet that would be interested in this giveaway. 

    That's it!

    **Optional Bonus Entry**

    Leave a comment below on your favorite ways to get organized! 

    This giveaway is open to all Domestic U.S. Residents.

    This giveaway will run for one week and will end on September 7 at 11:59PM. 

    The winner will be announced on September 9, 2015. 

    Good luck to everyone!

    Restez Chic Toujours!


    *Post contains affiliate and referral links. All products pictured were purchased by me and all opinions are genuinely my own*

    Back in Business

    Productivity, ReflectionsMaria S. JonesComment

    Happy 1st Day of July! There is nothing better than starting off a new month with fresh energy and new opportunities. 

    It seems like its been years since I've updated my blog. I've missed you guys! Being back at work full time after my medical leave has been more of an adjustment period than I originally anticipated. It's exhausting but I am loving it!

    The culture of my new  lab is exactly what I need to be productive. It is run on a "everyone-on-their-own-schedule" structure as opposed to a "strutured-on-a-set-of-lab-rules" one. Some people would be very anxious about being in my new setup because they require a mentor to provide more hands-on guidance on a regular basis whereas I love the flexibility to work when I work best (in the evenings) and can work it around physical therapy sessions for my tendinitis. A more structured lab culture does not work well for my anxiety levels or provide the things I need to be productive but others in that same environment would totally thrive. This is exactly why finding out about the lab culture before you join a research team is crucial. My new research area is something that I am extremely passionate about and honestly did not think I would be able to work on until after I was the Principal Investigator of my own research team because it is so different from my previous work. But I am SO excited about bringing my interest and experience with basic science memory research to help answer critical questions in social psychology and perception.

    After my first week in my new lab, I started supervising an undergraduate student's summer research project. If you'll recall from my first blog post, I LIVE for mentoring students in the arts of research and have always wanted a summer student so I was beyond excited to be blessed with such a responsibility! Working with her the past few weeks has reminded me of the passion I have for research in general and also for the type of research that I do. I am sure you have heard before that you should choose a research area, or any career, in something you are truly passionate (I have gotten this same advice numerous times) but without it graduate school will be a miserable place. Between the long hours in the lab, hours spent outside the lab continuing research, teaching and grading papers, and the long process of getting a large research project off the ground are bearable and even exciting when you truly love what you are doing. I feel like this only became real to me when I realized how different it is just reading a research article about a project that I feel more personally invested in. It seems that I have been more productive in my first month here than in my last year working on a project that I was interested in but not passionate about.

    Restez Chic Toujours! 

    Back in Action

    ReflectionsMaria S. Jones2 Comments

    I'm baaaaack!! Yesterday was my first day back from being on a leave of absence for a year. I'm in a bizarre place where I kind of feel like a brand new first-year graduate student since I am in a different lab working with a new advisor but with the knowledge of having been in the program for the past four years. It's a very interesting feeling. Equally scary and invigorating. I spent the majority of my first day bonding with my new labmates, getting my computer set up, getting started on my extensive reading list for the summer, and generally getting organized.  I am so excited about my future academic career!!!

    ...wait...did I just say that?!

    It feels strange to read that sentence since not too long ago I was so exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually from graduate school that it became necessary to take a medical leave of absence. Despite being in so much pain, my passion for the academic lifestyle remained strong. The fact that I feel so excited, despite the gargantuan task of starting my research program over, tells me that I made the right decision and I couldn't be happier!

    Not to get too emotional on you but I really don't know where I would be right now if it wasn't for the loving support of my parents, my sister and brother, my amazing friends, my awesome cohort, the faculty and staff at my university, and my own determination to finish this Ph.D.

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Conference Chic: What's In My Bag

    Academia, Organization, ProductivityMaria S. JonesComment

    Welcome back to the Conference Chic series! If you are just now joining me, be sure to check out my posts on the importance of attending scientific conferences here and how I prepare for conference travel with planning rituals and Evernote here.

    As a recovering over packer, I challenged myself to just stick to the essentials and I think I did a pretty good job! Knowing that I would be doing a lot of walking, I wanted my conference bag to stay light and yet still have anything I might need for the day. One tip that helped me was the fact that I ALWAYS stay at the conference hotels. Usually the more expensive hotel option, the convenience is worth the expense since most of the events will be held there which reduces your commute. Therefore, I was able to keep my bag relatively light with only my Conference Essentials. My iPad Air, a Mophie extra battery case for my iPhone, my very necessary lipstick, a small plastic envelope to corral business cards I received, a business card holder for my own cards, a conference provided water bottle to stay hydrated, as well as tea and snacks to hold me over during back to back sessions.

    What To Wear

    Versatility is key here since there are several different situations to account for. Professional attire for presenting and general conference attendance, slightly more casual dinner attire, and much more casual sightseeing attire. Depending on the size of the conference and field of study, attire tends to range from casual to business professional. Personally, I prefer to stick with the classic business casual attire from the airport to the conference and back. I firmly believe one can never be over dressed! You never know who you will run into on the plane and I like the idea of being prepared in case a casual airport conversation turns into a job opportunity. In another effort not to overpack, I stayed with a classically chic black and white color palette and used interchangeable pieces that all worked together to form several different outfits and professional accessories.

    I look forward to giving you more tips on how to stay conference chic!

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Spelman Research Day

    Academia, ReflectionsMaria S. JonesComment

    Visiting my alma mater always fills me with a sense of joy and peace at coming home. I served as a judge for the oral sessions in psychology at Spelman College’s Research Day. I love those days that remind you of why you love doing what you’re doing and this was definitely one of them.  As a full fledged night owl, being awake and functioning at 6:00am is usually torture but I was too excited to get to be a judge. As a previous award winning presenter myself, I always love coming back and hearing the work that the current students are doing and providing insights into applying to graduate programs. I know I know, that was a shameless tooting of my own horn but if you don't remind yourself of how awesome you are then, FUN FACT- the constant feedback could wear at your spirit in graduate school if you start to take criticisms of your work personally instead of the constructive manner they are usually meant.

    After that aside to embracing you're awesomeness back to research day. I was extremely impressed by my Spelman psychology sisters on Friday! Their presentations were well articulated and visually stunning (I was SWOONING at their infographics) and easily on par with other graduate student presentations I have seen. Made me want to put on my recruiter hat and woo them to my department! Asking them questions about their work and writing my feedback gave me a glimpse of a fraction of what it will be like when I am a faculty member. Experiences like these where I am able to give my time to budding researchers, particularly other women of color, reminds me of how much I love academia and my aspirations towards tenure.

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Conference Chic: Preparation is Key

    Academia, OrganizationMaria S. JonesComment

    Thanks to my Pre-Conference Planning Rituals, the week before a conference is often the most fun time making preparations as opposed to a stressful rush trying to get things together. As you can see in this colorful image here, I am at my desk and browsing the conference website. Since these websites tend to get updated regularly with changes until the meeting, I usually wait until the week before to start planning my time at the meeting. I downloaded the conference app and started familiarizing myself with its interface so that once I arrived at SRCD I could use it to seamlessly navigate the different events.

    My new business cards were also delivered this week and I was BEYOND excited to see Doctoral Candidate on them! I highly recommend that no mater what stage you are in of your career that you get some made. I have had a business card since my freshman year at Spelman College when all it had was my name, Spelman email address, and Agent of Change as my "position". I believe they make a lasting impact while networking and makes me feel a different level of prepared and professional. I usually get 250 made and there are a lot of resources for free ones online, your university may offer to pay, or you can get some business card paper from Staples and print them off yourself with Microsoft Word.

    This is also when I download the final Program PDF onto my iPad in Evernote. Evernote is my go to app for corralling, tagging, and organizing all of the information that comes into my life because I love how easy it is to find so many different types of information. In order to best prepare for your conference maximizing Evernote's features I suggest that you...


    Create a new notebook with the title and year of the conference

    Use the Forward Email to Evernote feature for any conference related email updates you get and save them all to this notebook for easy offline access

    Download a PDF version of the final conference program and also save it as a new note in this notebook

    Use the annotation feature to mark which talks in the program you plan to attend

    Take pictures of poster presentations, fliers, and business cards of those contacts you are interested in staying in contact with

    Use well titled notes to take notes at the different talks you will be attending

    I hope you found this helpful and I look forward to giving you more tips during this blog series!

    Restez Chic Toujours!

    Conference Chic Series

    AcademiaMaria S. JonesComment

    Attending scientific conferences and meetings are a large part of grad school life; it also happens to be one of my favorites! I returned from the Society for Research in Child Development’s Biennial Meeting a few weeks ago and am still riding on the productivity surge that attending these conferences gives me.  

    Since I am on a leave of absence right now, I almost declined to attend this conference since I was not presenting this year but I am so glad that I went! I was terrified that people would ask me what I’m working on now (which is mostly reading papers in my newer areas of interest and Netflix) but I focused on the direction I want to take my research program and received so much support and many helpful suggestions that it was amazing! 

    Attending and presenting at conference’s in your field of study are great for...

    1. Staying up to date on the current trends in your field
    2. Getting feedback on your own work by other researchers 
    3. Gaining exposure to areas of the literature outside of your specific subfield
    4. Connecting with scientists at all different career levels
    5. Reconnecting with former undergraduate classmates and faculty 
    6. Networking with leaders in the field whose work you have repeatedly cited

    If you have never attended one of these meetings it can be rather overwhelming especially at some of the larger ones. But I am here to share with you my tips for successfully navigating these conferences. I had so many ideas that the original post became incredibly long and even I did not want to read further than the first section.  So I decided to turn this into a mini blog series! I will be talking about how I prepare for conferences, how to effectively navigate the meeting spaces, networking tips, and other tricks that will help you maximize your time effectively. 


    Restez Chic Toujours! 


    Lifestyle, ReflectionsMaria S. Jones5 Comments

    I am a doctoral student in cognitive developmental psychology with a passion for child development, mentoring, and color-coding. As the oldest of 3 siblings, I have spent the majority of my life mentoring and using my victories-as well as my mistakes-to help others navigate their own situations. I love it! It also helps that when I imagine a job posting for "Professional Mentor" I always think about how I have been training for this my entire life- thanks Mom & Dad!

    The idea for GradLife Chic was born while sitting in a doctor's office after complications following eye surgery. I had a large tote bag packed full with my laptop, pile of articles, and library books as I was preparing my dissertation proposal. I sat there ruminating on how the delays related to the procedure were going to delay the draft I needed to have finished that day and was halfway to a full blown panic attack when I realized that I needed to get my priorities in order. At the rate I was going, neither my work nor my health were getting properly prioritized. I had considered taking a leave of absence at several points of my early graduate career as my chronic health issues were all exacerbated by the chronic stress of pursuing a Ph.D. Since I had just passed my qualifying exams a few months before, I decided it was finally the right moment to take a break from my work and focus on healing so that I can return to school with renewed energy and strength.

    Despite experiencing setbacks in my research program because of those illnesses, I earned a National Science Foundation grant, successfully completed my master's thesis, and passed my qualifying exams in my first 3 years. People have often asked me how I maintain such an effervescent disposition despite having such health difficulties. Well let me tell you it is not as easy as I must be making it look. The short answer is phenomenal social support, amazing healthcare, mindfulness meditation, waterproof mascara, dance breaks, and a bright colorful workspace.

    Interested in learning more details about stylishly surviving and thriving in graduate school? Curious about getting into graduate school? Already in graduate school and looking for a supportive ear? Then you are in the right place! Hopefully my tips and testimony will bless and motivate someone as we navigate this journey through the Ph.D. and beyond!

    Restez Chic Toujours!