Sunday, February 6, 2011

Positive productivity links

If you're a struggling student like me

you might enjoy these blog posts as much as I did:

Blundering toward productivity, Part 1: e-mail and goofing off

Blundering toward productivity, Part 2: is there a better way to have good ideas?

Blundering toward productivity, Part 3: smart enough to feel stupid

Blundering toward productivity, Part 4: cranks, evolution, and humility

How to find problems to work on

As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm left wondering what advice I can really offer from where I sit. I'm a senior undergraduate, I've already applied (and been rejected by at least one) to graduate programs. I've gotten the opportunity to put in a late application to a damn good school and I'm hauling ass as quickly as I can right now to get it in the next few hours so that it can be in the right email box before tomorrow morning.

I'm left feeling like one of the biggest challenges I've faced in undergrad is staying financially afloat. When I transferred to the four year university I'm in now, I managed to get into a lab job and I did a string of those over the past two semesters. Unfortunately now, money's tighter around campus and I struggled intensely for about half a year. I had no luck off campus. I applied to over 50+ places and was rejected (mostly by HR automatons) because they weren't interested in investing in someone who would be leaving in a year or less. Fortunately, I managed to write a small grant that's basically going to pay my way for rest of this semester, so I'm back on top, sort of.

I don't know what I have to look forward to in the next few years, I'm hoping to get into a decent program and that I might qualify for a fellowship to help cover expenses. I don't want to get stick around here locally where the semester stipend is 3000$, which is barely enough to cover rent (not even counting food! or utilities!) and no summer support.

i'd say the best advice I can give is to try to keep your finances as clean and simple as possible. Financial burdens have really been something that has kept me really down for the past year or more... if you can get into a lab job situation, keep your fingers crossed and hope the person you're working for is going to stick around so that your shit stays relatively stable. Try to not get lost in your own head, and if you find yourself sinking down into depression, get help right away. Don't let it grow underneath you until you wake up one morning and find yourself caught in a giant sinkhole.

more later...

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