MONTHLY Q&A: SEPTEMBER 2021
What a busy month it has been! Traveling up to 82 degrees latitude, having no internet, getting thrust back into reality for a day only to get back on a plane for a conference that blew my mind. I love the questions you all sent my way this month, so let’s dive on into them.
How are you?
My heart is good, thank you for asking. I’m very grounded right now. I’m mentally preparing myself for this next year of my PhD and there’s a lot of emotions surrounding that (of course) but other than that I’m grateful for the alignment that is currently present in my life. I feel like a whole new woman and I’m sure you guys have noticed.
What are some ways you celebrate and care for yourself?
I allow myself to do things I like. If I want to shop, I do so (in my budget). If I want to eat gelato or chocolate, I do so. It’s about giving myself permission to do whatever I want (within reason), without wondering how the world will react to it.
As for celebrating myself, I keep a folder of positive messages and comments that others have written to me that I look back on when I’m feeling down. It helps cheer me up and I highly suggest others do it, too!
What does wellness mean to you?
My definition of ‘wellness’ is being unapologetically selfish with my peace. It isn’t spa dates, face masks, and massages but also the tough stuff… like setting up boundaries and being vocal about them, speaking up when people offend you, etc.
What practical steps do you take to protect your peace?
I am very aware of my boundaries and regularly exercise them. I also take regular breaks from social media/human interactions to become centered once again.
How have your boundaries changed or intensified?
It’s mostly just a lot of reiterating them, which can be really hard as a person who hates confrontation.
Being too successful will scare men away from you. Are you worried?
Who said I am trying to attract them? My success is only in its infant stages so if they are scared now…. Then *shrugs* But more importantly, everything about women should not be seen through the lens of a man.
How do you deal with people projecting onto you & making assumptions about you?
I don’t deal with it well at all. I can’t ever explain myself to anyone to get them to understand me… what keeps me going is that my story – my failures and everything inbetween – is helping others feel ‘normal’ in STEM, academia, and sometimes even inspires them. So, thanks for all the kind words, amigxs!
One tip to give, what would it be?
Overexplaining your vision is your biggest failure. No one needs to know why or agree with you before you do it. Only you can see it.
No question, just happy for you.
Thank you! I’m the most ME I’ve ever felt in my entire life and I’m just so happy with how things are unfolding for me. I’m so in love with myself and my life. I lack nothing and it’s truly because I’ve finally let go and have surrendered to the universe’s plan over my life. I’m exactly where I need to be at all times. I am the vision board! Everything is always happening for my greatest and highest good, since both the good and bad have contributed to my growth. I’m just grateful.
How did you know that ending your past relationship was the right decision? Struggling ATM
I’m so sorry you’re struggling – it is such a difficult thing to be feeling while in a relationship. From my experience, you will know deep down if the relationship is what you truly want and need. If you find yourself questioning it constantly and searching for answers, chances are you already know it’s time to call it quits. I stayed in my last one for longer than I should’ve – my gut was telling me to end it but I wasn’t ready to listen. Talking it through with close friends/family always helped me find clarity at those times. Make sure you have support afterwards… this is gonna be tough.
Do you think you will love C more when you become parents?
We all know I have an ungodly obsession with C because he’s perfect for me and to me. So, naturally, I feel like I am always in awe and appreciation for the kind of person he is. It’ll probably quadruple when we have kids.
EDUCATION & WORK
Have you been focusing on anything particular during the last few months?
Creativity is my biggest focus. Before quarantine I never had the time to stop and come up with ideas or invest deeply in creative passion projects. Those are the muscles I am working on now, as well as studying some subjects to make myself a better person/scientist.
How do you balance your 9-5 with the work you do on here?
My advisors fully know – I kind of brought it up in a “it’s a part of who I am, and we come as a package deal” way. I haven’t found a ‘balance’ yet and instead I make time and sacrifice a lot to do both without failing (mostly) at either. Late nights, early mornings, working through lunch breaks, cutting back on social life, etc.
What dates do your books come out?
The first of the Wild Survival series, “Crocodile Rescue,” came out February this year. The second, “Swimming with Sharks” came out in July. The third? Early next year… I’ll talk more about it in the new year!
How are you feeling post book release(s)? Was it hard?
I feel relieved every time! It was amazing to share the news after keeping it quiet for so long. I’m itching to do a book cover reveal for numero 3… but am going to wait for the new year since the publication date is still quite a bit away. The books have been received really well and I’m so grateful for the positive response.
What tips do you have at navigating job search processes?
It sucks. You can be extremely qualified and go weeks without hearing back. It’s a total soul crusher.
My biggest tips:
Working around the clock is a bad idea, even if you love what you do (which I do). I’m working on finding that life-work balance.
How do you handle professional setbacks? How do you avoid burnout?
I used to be the kind of person who was DEVASTATED by a rejection email. Being on social media and constantly being yelled at cured me of a lot of that. I’m still a perfectionist. Failing at things is really hard for me. I think that it honestly just comes with time. I still get really bummed when someone doesn’t want to work with me but such is life. Burn out- I suck at this but putting my phone/laptop down and deleting social media apps helps.
Any advice on networking?
All of my most successful networking has come from social media and conferences. I am honestly not qualified to give advice on how to be brave in those situations because I could talk to a brick wall.
Follow people who you admjre in your field and thoughtfully engage with their content before reaching out. I’ve gotten so many business DM’s from people who don’t even follow me. A huge no-no.
I’ve built some incredible relationships over time because I built with the people next to me and we came up together. A lot of people wanna go straight to the top instead of looking to their left and right. Issa Rae preaches about this SO WELL.
How do you handle your emails?
During the day I skim through emails as they come in and evaluate if something needs my attention immediately or if it can wait.
When can you do a zoom for classrooms, groups, clubs, etc.? Are your classes bilingual?
I’m available now! Please send me an e-mail to see how we can best fit you and your class in before the end of 2021. My classes are bilingual, yes.
How much do you have in savings?
I don’t share specific numbers with anyone (except certain people), sorry. But I will say I have reached all of my 2021 goals and then some. Do not beat yourself up about not having as much in savings as other people – everyone’s situations are different (family size, cost of living in a specific city, fixed expenses, responsibilities, income level, etc). The face that you are even able to save in general – whether is $10 a month or $1000 – shows you’re taking good steps in the right direction. Proud of you!
Do you have any financial tips for graduate students?
I have a whole blog post full of them. Read it here.
What if your current investment strategy?
Holding ETF's long-term.
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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