Getting through the semester ONE MEAL at a TIME

So, I’ve admitted before, one of my favorite things to do is cook. Sadly, finding enough time in a day, a week, a month, a semester to do everything we need to do as a graduate student seems impossible so finding time to cook everyday is just as impossible.

So here’s my proposal to you: Plan a week worth of meals over the weekend. We all need to find a balance that works for each of us so there is no master plan, just some handy suggestions.

  1. Make a list of your favorite foods to make! Be sure to include meals that you are familiar with making and that are almost second nature to you.
  2. Look for recipes online that you’d like to try. There are a great occasional treat.

What does a well planned out week look like for me?

  • Friday: Pick out SIX or SEVEN meals on  for the following week.Think healthy and abundant dinners. This should generate leftovers for lunch.
  • Saturday: Go grocery shopping!
  • Sunday: Crockpot Day! nice warm meals that takes care of itself while I plan lectures, grade, clean up around the house, and, the best part, there’s leftovers.
  • Monday: Burritos. My favorite meal ever.
  • Tuesday: Leftovers
  • Wednesday: Soup or pasta. Bacon Mac and Cheese? Or a more traditional. sopa de albondigas?
  • Thursday: Pizza
  • Friday: Leftovers

The two most important thing I’ve learned about meal prep and storage:

  1. Organize your refrigerator, your pantry, and your dishes! 
  2. Consider investing in three items: A SLOW COOKER, A PANINI PRESS, A WAFFLE MAKERS. These three kitchen gadgets are economical investments and my favorite acquisitions of the semester. I took WAY to long to get around to buying them.

Now, remember, I have a hound at home that requires me walking him at lunch time. I often make myself a turkey, bacon, and tomato panini sandwich for lunch or a fruit salad.

Everyone is happy on a full stomach! Helps me think and save money.

Find your balance but when the plan fails, Bloomington has a great selection of ethnic restaurants down the street from Sample Gates.

How Do I Deal With Life in Grad School? COMMUNICATE!

This last week has been the pits for me; First, I got sick, and then a small piece of my back tooth came out, and I need a crown (MAYBE $750 :-( ). I still have so much to complete to stay on track (a detailed critique/commentary for one class, and I must read a book for another class by tomorrow) but throughout the weekend my body was simply not functioning. So I did what I could during the week, and when everything ended Friday I headed home. I made soup with onions, jalapenos, and green onions and curled up in bed.

A major challenge we face as graduate students (or others in hyper productive environments) is that we get so used to being productive (or at least striving to be) that when we are not working, we experience guilt to different degrees. And this can really weigh down our future efforts.

I was in the bed, sick from the flu, with a toothache I would wish on no one, and yet I still worried about getting my work done, and what would my professors think of me if I did not live up to their expectations. BUT LIFE HAPPENS!!

Continue reading

Resources to Take Advantage Of

Sometime school can be stressful…okay, school is usually stressful, especially during the week preceding an examination, presentation, or really just any deadline.  There are many people to help you de-stress: friends and family foremost.  But IU also has several people/places to help too.

One building for sure that has helped me, both body and soul, has been at the IU Health Center.

IU Bloomington Health Center

IU Bloomington Health Center

Continue reading

Getting sick

….is not a good time, especially when you’re trying to complete all of the tasks you’ve assigned yourself.  Just to get this out on the table: I tend not to slow down when ill, even when it’s serious.  Many years ago, while studying in a foreign country, I refused to see a doctor for what I felt sure was a bad cold.  It turned out–when I finally agreed to see one–that I had bronchitis and walking pneumonia, and was about a week away from a collapsed lung.  Since then, when I feel illness coming on, I take a break.  Actually, no, I don’t.  But–the moral of this story is–I should!  And so should you.  If there’s an upside to being sick, it’s that we’re forced to move at a slower pace, to take more time doing things–and maybe even to find balance (see my last post) in our hectic lives.