Posted in Daily happenings, Thoughts

A heart to heart

Disclaimer: This was a very emotionally charged post for me to write so please be kind. My life isn’t always rainbows, butterflies, and personal records. It’s often filled with anxiety and self-doubt and I thought it was time I let you in on some of that. 

Hello world. It’s been a few days since I’ve been back from a much needed mini vacation and although, I’m still not quite ready to return to real life, I thought I’d pop by to update you as to what I’ve been up to lately. A lot has been going on with me and I thought a mid month update was needed.

Graduate school – For those of you just tuning in, I’m a graduate student in the biological sciences. I’ve been in graduate school for almost five years now and this year will be my final year as I’m trying to wrap up in the lab. I‘m currently finishing up an experiment just finished what is hopefully my last experiment for my project and will be furiously writing my manuscript in the next few weeks in hopes of getting it published somewhere. In less than a month, I will be meeting with my committee, a group of principal investigators, that will decide whether I’m ready to graduate or not. I will present my work and they’ll ask me questions about my work. Questions on literature that pertain to my work may come up and I pray that I will know the answer to their questions. If they decide I’m ready and knowledgeable enough, I will have a couple months to write my dissertation (a very long essay on my five years of graduate work), submit my manuscript to a journal, perform experiments that reviewers may ask regarding the manuscript, and defend my dissertation to my committee, friends, family, and anyone else that really wants to come. My stress level in grad school? HIGH.


Beyond graduate school – This year is full of uncertainty and doubt. What will I do after I graduate? Do I want to take a break after I graduate before doing a job search or should I start looking for a job now while still in school? I’ve practically been in school since I was 5 and have had some sort of income since I was 16. The idea of a break sounds nice and I still have a few countries on my bucket list that I want to visit, but I haven’t been unemployed in over a decade and don’t know how I’ll react to it. If I do take a break, how long should it be? As long as it takes me to find a job? What if it takes me 6 months to a year or even longer to find a job? Will I be okay? I haven’t been sleeping all too well the past few months and these are just a few of the reasons why. I’ve been in academia for so long that I don’t know what it feels like to be thrusted into the “real” world. It worries me. ThePlanPhDcomics

My 100 Happy Day Project – I’m sad to say that I didn’t finish this project. I was a third of the way done when I had a few days where it was too difficult to find that silver lining so I stopped recording. I will finish this project this year because I said I would, but I will have to modify the project so that it will be to find 100 happy days within the calendar year and not 100 consecutive happy days.

Long distance relationship – My better half left for a six to 12 month internship at the beginning of April. I guess I was hoping it’d be some elaborate April fools joke, but it wasn’t. He left and it’s been incredibly tough because I find myself alone again. Don’t misunderstand. I do get to talk to him, every day in fact. I’m incredibly lucky to be living in an age where we have cellphones, skype, and other ways of communicating with people living in other areas, but it’s still difficult. I put on a brave face every day, but by the end of the day, I’m drained because I miss him. I want to hold him, but this is simply how our individual paths are currently unfolding and I’m trying to accept that.

So there you have it – the more vulnerable side of me. I hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll be back with hopefully some happier things to write about soon: πŸ™‚ 


My name is Mai and I am a recent PhD graduate. :) When not hard at work, I can be found training for a race, traveling the world, or talking about Disneyland. Come join me on my journey and help me navigate this world. :)

21 thoughts on “A heart to heart

  1. Loved this raw and vulnerable piece, Mai. I’m not going through the same physical things, but I can emotionally relate. Hang in there, girl! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey I totally get this time period of your life. I went thru pretty much same thing 10 years ago.

    Hang on the best you can. The feelings are normal for these circumstances. Other people, even the ones who look like they got it together, are going thru it too. You will come out of it on the other side, even if you don’t know how it will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely understand what you’re going through, and I often wonder how you manage to do all that you do! I know you’ll get through this tough period like the rock star that you are! Good luck with your dissertation and job hunting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sending you the biggest hugs right now. I have to be honest, when I was in graduate school I’m pretty sure it was the most stressful time of my life. My mind constantly raced in regards to my thesis and studying for my comprehensive exam and I had quite a few crying jags. I’m now many, many years out from there but even looking back on that time, I realize just how tough it was. However I persevered and came out the other side with my Master of the Arts degree. ❀ You can do this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your graduate school experience with me Jen. It’s comforting to hear that I’m not the only one who’s gone through this and that people do graduate and live to tell the tale. Hah. πŸ™‚


    1. Thanks for telling me. It is the worst and I’m just hoping for the best. I think it’s gotten a little better over time, but having to separate after a visit kills me everytime.


      1. Oh i know its terrible :/ I always have the worst ‘what if’ thoughts when we are long distance. I really believe it helped our communication though – especially me. I’m hoping for the best for you too :))

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That post is from a few months ago. πŸ™‚ I took a two week break and started a new job. I’m about 2 months into my new job now and I do like it. Hopefully I won’t be too jaded after a while.


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