I am so glad everyone liked the first monthly Q&A post and went ALL IN with your questions this month. Check out the answers everything you asked in June 2021!
YOU SEEM SO HAPPY! ARE YOU ALWAYS IN SUCH A GOOD MOOD?
Not at all! I’m a human – just like you – so I feel a whole range of emotions. While you may not see me looking sad, mad, hurt, confused, frustrated, or any other feeling… remember that everyone’s social media is just their highlight reel.
I SOMETIMES SEE YOU IN GLASSES - EVER THOUGHT OF CONTACTS?
Day-to-day I am usually wearing contacts. If I know I'm going to looking at a screen for a long stretch, the glasses come out. Either way, I'm wearing one of them can’t see past my shoulder without either of them - I'm blind AF!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR MAIN STRENGTH?
I am an unapologetic HUSTLER. I am not afraid of staying up late, doing long hours, doing the grunt work and making sure shit gets done. And look, yes, I consider it a strength but for a long time (and still sometimes now) it was my ultimate weakness because I really struggle delegating tasks.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN AUSTRALIA FOR A WHILE - HAVE YOU CHANGED IN ANY WAY?
I think my relationship with myself and work has really changed. I used to tie my self worth to my academic metrics and it really dragged my mental health down; since moving to Australia, I have been able to shake that mentally off and develop a better work-life balance.
HOW HAS LIFE BEEN IN AUSTRALIA DURING COVID?
While in New South Wales, C and I only left the house to buy groceries, go for daily walks around the neighborhood, and the the very occasional hangout with a friend or two. When I moved back to Western Australia, things were pretty "normal" since they really took a hard stance on border lockdowns and who can come in/out. While there have been some lockdowns and mandatory mask periods, we got really lucky.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AT THE END OF 2021 IN TERMS OF GOALS?
My goal is to be able be a wildlife educator in conjunction with research and speaking opportunities, and have my income be from that. I will continue creating content but it is going to look different from how it looks now; I want to push out more educational stuff on a variety of mediums. I’m still thinking it all through.
WHAT IS THE IDEAL NUMBER OF KIDS YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED?
I’ve always wanted 3.
HOW HAVE YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HANDLED YOU HAVING FLUCTUATING INCOME?
I am lucky that during my PhD I have had a (small) stipend to keep me afloat month to month, so it hasn't been fluctuating too much. We handle our own expenses and just have joint savings accounts for mutual goals.
I get a small chunk of change from every month from my Forbes articles as well (though that is being tucked away for an eventual house deposit) and am now getting some paid speaker gigs. Graduate school stipends are a bit of a joke (they are often below minimum wage) but I've really reduced my spending and am lucky that my friends are quite understanding of my financial constraints.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RULES YOU AND YOUR PARTNER FOLLOW WHEN YOU GO AWAY TO FILM?
No, no "rules." We always send good morning/good night texts and I usually schedule Paperless Post cards to be sent to his email to let him know I'm thinking about him. Otherwise he's understanding that my schedule is pretty full on while filming and I'll reach out when I can.
DO YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE A LOT OF ISSUES BEING IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP?
Not really; the biggest challenge we deal with is figuring out who is moving where (cause jobs).
EDUCATION & WORK
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FINISHED YOUR DEGREES? I JUST FINISHED MY MSC DEGREE AND I FEEL COMPLETELY EMPTY. I DON’T KNOW IF I SHOULD DO A PHD OR GET A JOB.
Having an identity crisis after graduation - especially if you have never taken a break from school - is a real thing! That emptiness you feel after the cap and gown are put away? A lot of people have it, so don't think it's just you. What really has helped me out was find meaning in my life that wasn't tied to academia so that when I graduate with my PhD I won't just be like, "My entire identity has been stripped away from me! I've been a student for 20+ years, what do I do now?!"
ANY TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE THROUGH (GRADUATE) SCHOOL?
You are about to embark on one heck of a journey!
DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS ABOUT TO START THEIR DISSERTATION?
Here are some tips that helped me out --
Research stage of dissertation:
HOW CAN I GET A SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY [BSC, BA, MSC, OR PHD] IN MARINE BIOLOGY IN THE US? IN AUSTRALIA?
Google “[degree] in marine biology scholarships in the [country].” That is probably your best bet to see what is out there- I don’t have knowledge of every PhD scholarship available so I can't help or suggest any, sorry!
WOULD YOU CONSIDER LECTURING IN A UNIVERSITY?
Yes! I’d like to try at some point; maybe help teach some general marine biology classes or do a unit on science communication. Would especially love doing this back home in Puerto Rico or Mexico.
AS ALWAYS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR SENDING IN YOUR GREAT QUESTIONS!
BE SURE TO KEEP UP WITH MY INSTAGRAM STORIES TOWARDS
THE END OF MAY TO GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN FOR THE NEXT Q&A!
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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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