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Wandering Thoughts

Because sometimes hiding behind a pen and paper is the only way we can express our true thoughts and feelings

Month

October 2018

Inner Compass, What am I Even Doing!?

 

A few months ago, a friend asked me to do something. I won’t lie, I had my reservations about taking it on. I am generally a cautious person, and I tend to overthink things, so when I faced this dilemma, I told myself I was overdoing it.
I went on to do this thing, and for a while, things were going alright. I was able to manage stuff and keep everyone happy. However, as I kept on doing said thing, I began to struggle. Long story short, I became overwhelmed, stressed and unhappy and had to put an end to things. shaking my head

You can probably guess where I am going with this. If I had listened to my inner compass, I would have saved myself a few months of stress and anxiety. But did I? Nope, I decided to push away the one thing that usually keeps me out of trouble because I wanted to prove a point (or something like that).
So here is the thing. We all have an inner compass. Some people call it intuition, but to me, it’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is my compass. When I don’t have peace about something, it’s usually the Holy Spirit telling me I have no business getting involved with it. Whether you refer to your inner compass as intuition or the Holy Spirit doesn’t change the fact that there is something on your inside that tells you what to do and tells you when you are on the right side of things.
The world we live in is full of voices striving for our attention and if you do not know what your inner voice sounds like you will listen to the voice of everyone but yourself.
know yourselfDon’t let anyone sway you. If you know for a fact that you cannot do something, or you do not think a particular task is in your best interest, then take a step back, because here are the facts, most times people do not know you as well as you know yourself.

We often talk about discovering ourselves and finding our paths in life. To me, the first step in achieving this is learning to hear and listen to your inner compass. It genuinely saves you from a lot of mistakes, stress, anxiety and the likes. And often when we don’t know what we are doing, or how to handle a particular situation, our inner compass acts as a guide.
The truth is, I haven’t always listened to my inner compass and nine out of ten times I find myself looking back and seeing all the signs I saw but dismissed. I look back and remember all the times I heard in my spirit that I should have followed a different path, and I’m like, “but you know if you had listened you wouldn’t be here right now”.

Remember, you are the driver, they are the passengers. Even if they sit up front with you, they are still passengers, and you get to decide who you listen to on this journey of life.

It isn’t always easy to listen to and follow the inner voice in us, but it is necessary. Learn to tune out the world and pay attention to yourself. To your mind and your heart. You are the main character in your life, don’t give the lead to someone who doesn’t deserve it or knows the story as well as you do. check yourself
Finally, if you are ever in doubt, or not sure your inner compass is making sense, talk to a mentor, a friend, or someone who knows you and someone you trust. Chances are if you are on the right track they will point you in the right direction.
Remember, you are the driver, they are the passengers. Even if they sit up front with you, they are still passengers, and you get to decide who you listen to on this journey of life.

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An Introduction – The PhD Journey

IMG_20180828_135803   Since starting my PhD two years ago, I’ve often had people ask me, “so are you in school or are you working?” and I often find it hard to answer.
So, today I hope to give you a glimpse into my experience as a PhD candidate so far. But first, a little background.
I graduated with a B.Sc in Pharmaceutical and Industrial Chemistry in 2016. To be honest, a PhD had never been the goal. I just wanted to graduate, get a masters and get a job afterwards. But life doesn’t always go as planned!
THINGS NOT TO ASK
Fast-forward to the October after my graduation. I started my PhD at my host University. Like anyone starting anything new, I was excited! I thought I would be making a groundbreaking discovery in two years and graduating in three and a half. I had everything planned out. It’s funny looking back now because I am in the third year of my PhD and I haven’t made any groundbreaking discoveries, in fact, half the time I’m asking myself “What am I doing here??”.PHD MEME.jpg

The thing about a PhD is, there is no quick formula for getting things done. You go into it thinking “I’m smart, I’ll be fine”. But what you don’t realise is that being smart isn’t the most important quality required to get a PhD. I often say it’s not your smartness that gets you through a PhD. It’s your resilience. Your stubbornness and your ability to push yourself even when you can’t see a reason to do so.

    A PhD is a full-time job. It’s no way similar to doing an undergraduate degree even though you’re still technically a student. You’re more or less allowed to do your own thing, however, 70% of the time, it won’t work. It’s also a job that doesn’t leave you. I often have dreams of my work at night or find myself awake at 01:00 a.m. thinking about my experiments. And if you’re not proactive about it, your PhD can take over your life. You can find yourself working and exhausted all the time with not that much to show for it.frabz-PhD-Student-What-students-think-I-do-What-my-supervisor-thinks-I-90c562
There’s so much I could say about the internal struggles you face, disappointments, imposter syndrome, anxiety, insomnia, etc. but I will save those for another post. I will say though, that in my opinion, a PhD is more mentally and emotionally taxing than it is physically taxing. However, most don’t know this going into it, making it that much harder to cope.

Okay, so I feel like I have succeeded in painting a grim picture, but here is the thing. Even though it’s quite challenging, there’s much joy derived from doing it. The small things like having an experiment work, or the accomplishments like getting your paper accepted in a relevant journal. Or just the knowledge that you are making a difference in one way or another. You’re investigating a problem and potentially looking for a solution.

It’s the freedom in knowing you can have an idea and run with it. It’s the creative space you have to identify and solve problems.

I’ll say it takes a certain kind of person to do a PhD, but it’s always worth it one way or the other. It’s hard work but it’s also rewarding. If I could go back in time would I still do it? Yup, I would. The PhD life is one of intense emotions and ups and downs. It isn’t for everyone and that’s okay, but it is definitely an interesting path to walk.

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I’m Back!


IMG-20180908-WA0032So it has been a while since I last wrote. I want to say I took time off to create more content and reorganise my life, but that would be a lie. The truth is the last few months have been challenging, and I couldn’t keep up with work/school/blogging, so I had to take a step back.
Having said all that, I am back (for the most part)! And I have a few things lined up. The one I am most excited about is a series I will be kicking off titled, “Letters to Sophia”. As the name implies, it is a series of posts written to Sophia! Who is Sophia you ask? Lol, watch this space to find out!

Another thing I will be doing in the coming months is introducing you to my life as a PhD researcher/candidate. I realise that a lot of people do not understand what a PhD journey looks like, and so I would like to share mine with you.

Finally, I will be featuring guest authors on the blog, so if you are interested in being featured, drop me a message at shaybolanta@gmail.com or send me a DM on Twitter/Instagram @shayrunn lets hook up!

In reality, this is mostly a “hey I’m still here” post, but I can’t leave without saying a little something, so here we go!
I started my blog as an escape. It was how I got stuff off my chest. It was how I shared my then unpopular opinions. However, as I have gotten older, I have learnt that my so-called unpopular opinions aren’t that unpopular and a lot of people resonate with the things I have to say. Now, this has made me quite happy, because it means I can speak my mind without judgement (sometimes) and even when I get judged, I don’t mind, because I know I am not alone in my way of thinking.
Okay, so where is the lesson here? I said thatWell, the problem is I don’t always say what I think. I hate confrontations, and I get very passionate about things, so sometimes I “un-look” to avoid unnecessary drama. And while “un-looking” is sometimes necessary to maintain peace of mind, there are times when we need to look and speak.

I have said this before, but it’s only right that my first post after months of silence is on speaking up. The older I have gotten, the more I have come to realise that the women I look up to, are women just like me. The only difference between us is that they speak up when necessary. Does this mean they get dragged on Twitter all day long? Yes!

But it also means they get to educate and inspire people all the time!happy dance

Sometimes it takes just one good connection, from one honest, down to earth conversation with a random person to push you in the right direction.

And here’s another thing. Speaking up is not always about educating and inspiring, it’s about connecting with likeminded people and I for one, am all for it! Sometimes it takes just one good connection, from one honest, down to earth conversation with a random person to push you in the right direction.
So moral of the story, you have a voice, thoughts, and opinions for many reasons. Use them, they are tools and assets, and when used wisely they can change your life in ways you never thought or dreamed!

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