Sometimes I wonder if I am cut out for this. There are days where my measurements are off, my notes are not organized, and I have to repeat experiments more than once. There are days where I dread opening my textbook and opt for going to class without reading ahead. Sometimes I get bad grades, I obsess over them and wonder, am I really cut out for this?
1 - Watch a motivational YouTube clip!
Uhh, shouldn't I be doing my homework? Well, a 5-minute pep talk might just be what you need. Whenever I feel stuck, I watch this video. It reminds me how inspiring and encouraging our community is. Being able to bond with other women about my passion for science and keep passing on the message that being a girl is irrelevant gives me the drive to keep pushing through any lab or tedious reading! Watch a TED Talk, music video, or just search happy songs! I’m sure there’s something out there for you.
2 - Get a study group/buddy
We can all benefit from a pat on the back at times. If you’re lost, then at least you’ll be lost together. Having a study buddy/group gives you the chance to tackle issues from different angles. You might not be a visual learner, but someone else might be, and teaming up with them can create great results. Try to find a STEM club at your school, visit the library, ask your teachers about what resources could be available to you. Heck, start your own club! I recently founded a Women in STEM club and it has been helpful to all involved. Surround yourself with positivity and people with common goals!
3 - Ask yourself out/Plan your meals
I kid you not, the amount of people that tell me they forget about eating is unbelievable! I understand that budgeting can be hard and meal prepping usually requires more than an hour or two. However, fueling your brain starts within your plate! We cannot ask ourselves for more than our body can give. There are plenty of websites like Pinterest and Yummly that cater to all sorts of budgets and timeframes. There are also plenty of meal delivery services that teach you how to cook or send ready-to-eat meals. Still not doing it? Get an Instant Pot! That baby will save you time and effort. Eating should not be a chore. Feeding your body should be a special moment for you. Ask yourself out for a cappuccino. Treat yourself to a sushi date. You’re special, and your body deserves to know that too!
4 - ‘I have to tell my therapist’
Going to therapy is a-okay! Colleges all around the nation offer counseling services, take advantage of those resources. There is also a lot of information available online regarding therapists and what your insurance might be able to offer you, and some therapists are even ready to write letters to your insurance company. If you feel overwhelmed, do not hesitate to try therapy.
5 - Work those endorphins!
I am tired, why would I sign up for that? Well, it’s a proven fact that working out releases endorphins which will give you a little mental boost. You do not have to go full Rocky Balboa on this. A simple Yoga for Beginners on Youtube could do the trick. Stand up, jump around your dorm. Kick anxiety and procrastination in their faces! Have you ever realized how beautiful your school campus is? Go take a walk and let me know!
6 - I’m 99% sure there is an app for it…
Yes, all our developer friends have put hours of coding to make this worth it. I recommend you search under Productivity in your App Store, and you’ll find everything from timers to games that reward you for your productivity. Being productive and completely focused is not an innate trait. A lot of us require training to be able to pull ourselves together at times when reading through a chapter seems extra hard.
7 - Give yourself some time
Sometimes no matter how much we stare at a problem, the answer won’t just appear by itself. So, that being said, take a break. Make yourself a cup of tea/coffee and close your eyes for a bit. Check your email, your social media feed. It is key to be aware of this breakthrough. Tell yourself you’ll come back to it in X minutes and follow through! It’s okay to give yourself some time before revisiting something.
I could keep on rambling about what makes me feel like a fierce scientist, but I know you get my point. It’s all about reminding yourself that we have needs too. There is nothing wrong with feeling nervous or anxious about your future, but there is much to say about how we treat ourselves. Next time you’re stuck, breathe in and breathe out. Smile, and give yourself some time!
Karelly is from Monterrey, MX and recently moved to the U.S to become a Chemistry undergrad in Portland, OR. She plans on becoming a Science Communicator and advocate for Women in STEM. She runs her own blog thesolutionisk.com along with her Instagram page: KarellyRG. She hopes to soon start uploading videos to her YouTube which can be found on her page. Her goal is to promote an image of a healthy lifestyle paired with academic development for all STEM majors. Make sure to talk to her via Instagram and share your favorite science concepts!