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Hey Loves! I’m Caitlyn the girl behind ChemGradBoom. A blog about taking life with a little salt, a slice of lime and shot of tequila or life of a graduate student, whichever version you prefer!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

15 Facts About Life In Grad School

Let's talk about some truths about life in Grad School. So here my 15 Truths About Grad School that you may not know!

I will say that as a wanna-be forever student, I enjoy college life for the most part, but let's not forget all of the BS that comes along with my self-proclaimed title!

So with the real impending doom of my college career fast approaching, I wanted to share the dirty truths behind grad school. Of course, some things make grad school a fantastic experience, but I prefer the blunt and brutal honesty about it all.

  1. Grad School sucks the life out of you, day after day, but still, it ends up being an amazing 2-5 years. 
  2. First finding the 'RIGHT' grad school seems to be a never-ending task, so when find the right school take the offer as being happy can be better than taking the school offering the most money.
  3. Having to find your first off-campus house in fun and exciting (hello Pinterest worthy living spaces) until you have to pay a deposit, rent, and all the utility bills and get stuck with a shitty landlord. 
  4. Finding your advisor 'can' be fun, that is until the advisor you really want to work with tries to talk you out of it 3 times at an hour each and all of the grad students warn you against him. But my advice: go with your gut, chose someone whose research interests you. 
  5. Accept the fact that after your done with your degree, you will be a semi mini-version of your advisor. I now listen to Reggae music when doing research, have a constant supply of snarky comments to share, and respond with the word 'check'. I am now a mini version of Coach, and while I pretend to hate it all, he has really helped/taught/mentored me!
  6. Classes are not all that bad, although there will be moments where you swear off another semester of grad school. Push through, it gets better!!!
  7. You will get very close to the other grad students in your program and ones that are in your lab. They will understand the bullshit request of Dr E and the crazy revisions requested by Dr H. They will be there for support, nights out, the good times, the bad times, and there to celebrate with you when it is all over. 
  8. Grad school is like a full-time job, except with a more extended winter break. Yes, only a winter break because during the summer you will be at school working away! Trust me though you will probably be way more productive during the summer, no other students to deal with. 
  10. Speaking of beverages to survive through grad school, add some beer. De-stressing is necessary, and alcohol helps with this. So find a local bar and enjoy! Trust me the hard times require some liquid encouragement to go back the next day and get shit done!
  11. You will need to stop being a procrastinator. Shit does not work in grad school. Sure you will have to pull all-nighters, but generally, it is because your research has failed for the 10th time and you have a presentation to get ready for. 
  12. Grad School will teach you that it's ok to fail and that you should be damn happy about the few successes. 
  13. Speaking of failures, you will think of dropping out. It's ok, I did it on a bi-weekly basis until I was working on my thesis and it was the daily basis. School is hard, especially grad school, but stick with it, and you will make it through, eventually.
  14. You will have to take steps back every now and then and press refresh, burnout is a real thing. Learning to push through exhaustion, however, is part of the learning experience. 
  15. Lastly, while I joke about how grad school is terrible, that my advisor sucked and that I wanted to drop out. In the end, you will look back (most likely at your completed thesis) and say suck it grad school, I kicked your ass! 

So if your thinking about life in grad school,  I hope that this gave you some insight and if you ever want to ask questions just let me know! I would love to help/give advice/ an honest opinion! 

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Things that terrify me about moving abroad

Visa application sent in - CheckVisa application approved-  Check
Freaking out about actually moving- More than I imagined. 

Now with everything done, as to what I needed to do for actually moving to Scotland, I can focus on the actual moving part. Which happens to now be absolutely terrifying. It wasn't until everything was sent in and accepted, but I no longer have that problem which is why I am absolutely freaking out about moving abroad. 

  1. Trying to book the perfect plane ticket. I don't want to leave to early ( I have to make sure to say all of my goodbyes) and I want to start early enough so that I can kinda settle before orientation on Jan. 12th. Oh, yea and I also depend on my leave date based on ticket prices #cheapcollegestudent
  2. PACKING..... What can I say, I am moving for 3 years meaning that I will need to pack things for all 4 seasons, books/research stuff, holy technology (3 laptops, 1 camera, phone, etc.) and all of the other stuff aka clothing/shoes. Plus I have to pack it all in 2-3 suitcases...
  3. MONEY like any other poor college student, the money conversion and being broke terrifies me. Yes, I have quite a lot of saving, but I know how quite a lot (for me anyway) may not go that far. As for figuring it out, I think for at least 6 months I should be good to go and then after that will be interesting! 
  4. Finding a place to live. This is actually number one, but I was trying to go in some type of chronological order. And yes you read that correctly, I have no place to live yet! I have been looking at a couple of websites for flatshares, but until I am there, it is just hard. 
  5. Starting a PhD program. Yikes, another degree, school and advisor. All of these things are terrifying. Questions like- What if I am not what they expected? What if I am not smart enough? What if I just suck in general? Are only a few of the ones in my head. 
  6. Navigating Scotland. Being from America and where I grew up, public transit was not something that I ever used! Personally, I am excited about the idea of not having to drive, but the idea of making it everywhere via walking/public
  7. Meeting people. I love to have a social life, a tiny one, but none the less a social life. I am hoping to find a place that will have roommates open to social nights out and helping to show me the city. 
  8. Being alone. I guess this should have higher as well. I am moving away from family and away from JC. For the last 6 years I have had fantastic support with JC always being there to push me, and of course, my family has always been there. 
  9. Travelling. I personally want to see everything and anything that I can. I want to utilise my time in Scotland making sure that I not only explore Scotland but other places. While this is something that excites me, it is also something that scares me. My love for adventure is both expensive, exhausting and exhilarating. 
  10. Seeing how I will change. I am not sure that this scares me, but I do know that my life outlook will change. I am moving to a foreign country, I am starting a PhD, and I honestly have no idea what is in store for me! 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finding the 'Perfect' Carry-On

Travel post #1 as I start prepping for Scotland involves searching for the 'perfect' carry-on tote. Yes a tote bag, that I will also use as a carry-on, but I also hope to get something that can be used for future travel and possibly on the day-to-day basis. What exactly do I want in my carry-on: a bag to hold my computer, pockets for my wallet/passport/tickets, shoulder strap so I can wear it as a cross-body, and space for all the extras. There are of course some bonus bags that also have a separate compartment for shoes, making those bags ideal for weekend trips!

Finding the 'perfect' bag seems to be impossible, but I do have 7 that I am debating between. I personally love #2, the Lo & Sons OG bag, and  #6, the Longchamp Le Pliage tote.  

Top (L-R) 1 || 2 || 3
Middle 4
Bottom (L-R) 5 || 6 || 7

If any of you have the perfect carry-on tote, let me know, all advice will be appreciated!!!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten Things To Do Before You Graduate

One of the most exciting/scariest/saddest parts of your college experience will be graduation. This one day puts an end to all the late night, study sessions, and sleepless nights that you have had to get a piece of paper. It's a crazy experience but also one that you and the people close to you will cherish.

One of the best parts before graduation is making sure to enjoy every last moment that you have at your university. For me, it was great because we had a week in between exams to spend time with the people who were there for me over the last 4 years (and then 2 years with my Masters). This meant lounging by the pool, having some drinks and sharing all the memories that we had made.

So before you toss your mortarboard into the air and say peace out to the place you've called home for the last few years, here are some things that you should consider doing! 

  1. Go out with friends/host a get-together/go to a tailgate. Whatever floats your boat, make sure that you spend time with the people who make you smile, make you laugh, and people that you will miss once you leave college. Believe it or not, after you leave getting together with everyone is exponentially harder. 
  2. Make a badass resume and a general cover letter that you can use for applications (jobs, internships and graduate schools included). Have a professor look at it this way once you're out in the real world you will be ready to get the job you want! 
  3. DO SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL REGRET. Drink on the roof of a building on campus; go out with that guy who you have a crush on; go out to a party and enjoy it so much that the morning after is miserable. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that you have been wanting to do and haven't had the guts to do. 
  4. Head out and support a sports team or a school activity. Believe it or not, going to a game is not miserable, there is a pre-game tailgate! Plus showing school spirit is part of college. 
  5. Talk with your professors, the ones that have had an impact on you, and tell them that. They will be the ones that you will need for recommendations letters and possible job connections, so showing them that they impacted you will pay off. 
  6. Take a last minute weekend trip/ road trip with your friends. Rent a cabin, go camping, head to the beach and watch the sunrise. Moments like those are the ones that you will remember 
  7. Break into the campus pool and throw a senior pool party. I did this at Wingate and although the water may have been freezing, the thrill of breaking in and then running when the campus security guard broke it up, I will forever say it was 100% worth it. 
  8. Clean up your social media. While I totally prefer the 'fun' things on this list, making sure that you are ready for the adult world is a necessary thing to do. And it is 100% true that some bosses will Google and check up on you before your hired, it happened to me in Indy
  9. Go through all of your coursework and books and figure out what to keep. Creating a college reference binder will help for graduate school and reviewing things for your future jobs.
  10. Learn how to write a proper 'Thank You Note'. Not only will you need these for all the graduation gifts, but they are also lovely to give as one final Thank You for your professors. 

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Study Abroad: Where to start?

Now that I am officially done with my thesis, aka the most stressful event in my life so far, I can now focus on actually getting to Scotland. Now I am pretty sure the second most stressful event in my life will be all the fun that comes with actually getting to Scotland. With this joy of an application process, I thought that I would share all that I have figured out as both a guide for anyone who plans to study abroad in the future and also to anyone who has done this and can point out any tips that they have!

1. The first thing to do is find where you want to apply to. This search/process should start about a year before you would be starting there. Graduate Applications for me were due at the start of February with a Fall start that I then pushed back to spring. 
2. Once you apply and GET ACCEPTED, the fun stuff starts. Now you will need to work towards getting you an unconditional offer. An unconditional offer for me meant that I had to have proof that I have my Masters degree, for others this may mean proving that you have your bachelors. Whatever you need for you unconditional offer make sure that you try to get this done asap. 
3. Once you have an unconditional offer, you then get your CAS. This is what you need for applying for your visa.
4. Applying for your visa. Things differ from place to place but here is the rundown of what I am doing for mine. 
  • Online application and the information that you need for the application.  
    • CAS Information
    • Passport Information
    • Parents information, where they were born and birth date.
    • Travelling plans aka why you need a visa. 
    • Financial information
  • Pay your online fee (about 500 USD) and schedule your appointment for fingerprints at a biometrics centre. 
  • Send in your application to finally be processed. This includes sending in:
    • Passport
    • 2 passport sized photos
    • CAS letter
    • Biometric Information
    • A printout showing that you paid your application fee 
    • Shipping label to be used for sending back your passport to you.
  • Wait and hope that you pass. They may also request that you submit additional information, so be ready to submit anything that they may ask for. 
5. Plan your trip and get to packing. 
Of course, you also need to include finding an apartment/place to live, anything that your university may require that you do, and say your goodbyes. 

Well, hope this list gives you kind of idea about 'Where to start when you want to study abroad'.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Making a College Syllabus 'Cheat Sheet'

With almost ten years of college/university/post-high school education under my belt, I would like to think that the one thing I have mastered is attempting to avoid mistakes that I had previously made. According to prior mistakes especially is true for the ones that are the easiest to avoid - like forgetting that I have an insane week in the middle of the semester or that all of my professors conspired and had placed three tests all in one week!

Now fortunately for me as a post-graduate student (Ph.D. life), I get to avoid tests/practicals / general things that were all I had to focus on as an undergrad and masters student. While I may not have the "due dates" like I used to, I still believe that using some 'cheat-sheet' for essential dates is a must need for anyone in school.

The start of the year (or semester) is filled with all the joy of being one step closer to being done, a new class that you are looking forward to and of course the class syllabus. Something that used to be considered an easy first day becuase all of the professors would generally go over what was in store for the class, but is often disregarded after that moment.

Sure student may go through and highlight the importannt dates, file it away in the apporpriate binder (folder), but I have firmly believed that the syllabus should be something much more than an easy first day of class.

What is in generally in each syllabus?

The basics such as the professors office, email, course number, honor code, and grading policy of the class. 

The critical thing that we need to focus on is the course outline filled with all the IMPORTANT DATES. Highlight anytime there is an assignment due, a quiz or class test, or any other things that require more preparation than just a day.

Key things from the syllabus 

  • Due dates
  • Exams
  • Quizzes
  • Mandatory Class Participation (aka outside of class dates)
  • Anything that requires more than one day to plan for and complete. 

Creating a syllabus cheat sheet

After collecting all of your syllabus, for me this always took at least two days, as I had class on an M/W/F and Tu/Th, sit down and prepare to plan out your semester for success, or at least have an idea of how the semester should look. 

  1. Grab a different color pen/highlighter/marker for each of your classes. To be extra on top of things try and create a paper version and one that you can keep on your phone (or include it as a portion of whichever calendar app that you use)
  2. Go through EACH syllabus and highlight all of the critical due dates/ papers/ anything that will take you more than a day to do (and I am not talking about a procrastination day of cramming last minute)
  3. For the paper version: I go through and prefer to do things on a monthly basis with each month getting its piece of paper. 
  4. Each class gets its color with the key dates being highlighted. Let's say that I know I have 'other' meetings going on as well; I will add those to my sheet just so that I can have them on the overall view of the month, as well as in my calendar.
  5. Each months 'cheat sheet' is made using the same color-coding and abbreviations from the earlier versions. This helps to keep everything the same allowing you an easy to glance out an overview of your month. 
  6. Make a copy of the sheet - I recently started making them in Excel allowing me to print off multiple copies along with them staying organized. Hang the 'extra' sheets wherever you may do work around your room/apartment. 
  7. Each week check to see what you have going on (preferably the weekend before) this way nothing should come up as a surprise! 
  8. UPDATE THE SHEETS - nothing is more annoying than trying to be organized and having a class assignment pushed or a date change from what you were expecting! 

Like I said I recently started using Excel to make my sheets - my handwriting is terrible plus it's easy to change things around. More importantly, I can print off 5 or so copies to keep with me or hang around my flat, so I don't miss anything! 

Do you have any advice on how you keep up with all of your classes/assignments/meetings?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Roadtrip: Mystic Connecticut

I am back finally. I am terrible at getting on a schedule with all of the road trips that I have been on. Lucky me though today I head back to school and am back to writing, research and prepping for the start of the semester! Well, this past week I headed Connecticut for my little brothers Navy Sub School Graduation. There will be a post showing the graduation and the sub museum in Groton, Connecticut!

First I wanted to share the fantastic seaside town of Mystic Connecticut! It is home to Mystic Pizza the pizza shop that inspired the film Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts and Matt Damon.  Some amazing ice cream shops, a charming drawbridge that you can sit by and watch the boat pass under and also some of the best seafood I have ever eaten! So hope you enjoy all the pictures and I am happy to be back blogging!!!!

Dinner with a view and the place to go in Mystic!
Food at The S&P Oyster Company!
 (L-R) Stuffed Poblano Pepper with crab, shrimp, cheese and some other yumminess. Fried oysters. Veggie Quesadilla.
We didn't eat at Mystic Pizza, but this photo proves we're close!!!
The Drawbridge and my mom bombing a photo, which was her thing this trip!
Shopping and art around the town! This whale was at the local bookstore!
Note to self - Having your brother and BF take pictures of you tends not to work well!

Well there they are Mystic Connecticut told through photos! I must say I loved this town and wish I could live there in a houseboat!!!!

Question for everyone----
 Who has seen Mystic Pizza? My mom continually told me to watch it (I still haven't seen it) and yet she said it was a famous movie.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ten Tips for Renting in College & Bad Landlords

I never thought  I would have to write a post about "Renting in College and Bad Landlords" for my college advice section, but after the drama that I have had with my former landlord I need to share my advice to make sure that you will (hopefully) never have the problems that I am having. So here it goes: what to do before you rent, what to do when you move in and what to do to prepare to move out! Plus the most important tip of all and advice on handling a lousy landlord!

Before you decide to move in 

  •  Make sure to look at more than one or two apartments and look at them IN PERSON. Sure you may have to make a weekend trip to check out places, but the Internet pictures can be deceiving. Seeing a place in person allows you to visualise what it would be like to live there. Can't make a trip up there, see if you can watch a video or Skype with the landlord walking you're virtually through the apartment.
  • Check out the location a few different times during the day. It may be surprising and calm during the day but filled with beer pong/parties at night. Sure the parties are high every now and then but when your studying for an exam, it can be miserable and a distraction. 
  • Ask your future neighbours what they think about living there. A lot of times this will get you the honest truth!

Signing the lease and moving in

  • Read the lease and what it includes. It may be boring but knowing what is written down in the contract can help you if there are ever problems with the apartment.

  • Have proof of what you paid upfront (First, Last and Deposit). This will save you time in the end if there are issues when your lease is up, the landlord may want you to pay your last month's rent even though you paid it. Having proof will save you money and the hassle!

  • The first day the apartment is yours before you have stuff in there do a walk through and take pictures/video documenting the condition of the apartment. Write down anything that you notice is damaged/needs to be fixed and give a copy of the list to your landlord.

Planning your move out and what to do

  • Notify your landlord in writing of when you plan to move out, try to do this at least a month before your lease is ending.

  • Once your all moved out, do another walk through and document (photos/video) of how you are leaving the apartment.

  • Leave your landlord a forwarding address to get your security deposit and ask when you should expect to get this. Make sure to also get a copy of the landlord's information (if you don't already have it) including name, address, phone number and email if possible.

The most important tip
  • Make sure to get EVERYTHING IN WRITING and keep this together , make a folder with all of this information the day you sign the lease. In the end if your tenancy ends with no issues than having this information won't matter. But if you do have problems with your landlord, having all the information in writing and documented will help your case! 

Landlord problems and what to do...

  • Make sure to check out the laws and rights that you have as a tenant. I used NOLO that broke down information by each state and then gave where to look for further information.
  • Contact your landlord in writing with any issues that the apartment has and make sure to follow-up with them until it is fixed. If the problem is never handled than see what you can do to either get out of the lease and move or in extreme cases withhold rent.
  • Talk to your college to get advice on how to handle off-campus housing problems. They may have a list of people that can help you to fix the situation and they may also be able to warn others about the apartment and its issues.
  • Contact a lawyer.  If you have exhausted all of your other options and are still having issues (apartment conditions/no return of security deposit) you most likely have a case for small claims court. Sure this will be a pain, but it may be the only way to solve the situation. 

Hope that this helps everyone out there looking to find their perfect place for the start of the school year!

Anyone else have advice on how to find the right apartment? Has anyone else ever had issues with their landlords?

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

What to keep from college?

It is now (almost) mid-April, and I know that many of you are planning for that moment where you get to say "I made it through college". Yes, graduation is exciting. You made it through 4 years of tests, exams, late night study sessions, projects and rough nights. All of this may lead you to think that you are done with everything from the last four years, that all the information you've crammed into your head is all you need. Well, I am here to tell you the things that you should keep from college, and I am not talking about the two-story beer bong or your childhood teddy bear.

Here is the list of things that I would HIGHLY recommend you hold onto as you venture out to the real world, looking for jobs or going on to grad school or whatever you have planned.

  1. Books from the classes that are your major. Sure you can google the hell out of things to 'refresh' yourself before you go to a job, take the GRE/PCAT/ blah-blah-blah, but I always find it much easier to go to my books (filled with tabs and highlights) and look up what I am trying to figure out. It could be a theory, math equation, instrument setups, I usually have them written out from one class or another. And reviewing things like that may come in hand if your applying for a job that wants you to work with something specifically from your background.
  2.  Writing Sample, one that has been critiqued, graded and your professors approved of. It can be a lab report, newspaper article, Honors paper, or even your pottery portfolio. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that you would be proud to share, let it show off your rioting talents and make sure that it is your 'best' piece you can show. Jobs, grad schools, and internships/fellowships often ask for one so go ahead and have one ready! 
  3. Poster or presentation that you may have done. There have been times in interviews where I have gotten asked to explain some research that is on my Resume. Being that some of it is now 4 years old, I know to refresh myself on it before going in for interviews! 
  4. If your planning to go to grad school or maybe even thinking about it, I suggest keeping notes, study guides, homework, and test from your undergrad. There have been countless times that I have gone back to my old notes/test to look at how to do something. Much easier 'recalling' how to do something when you have your actual work in front of you!
  5. My last tip is organizing all this shit I just told you to keep. How about making an ultimate college reference binder. Go through and organise/keep anything that may be important in a large binder! Easy to do, a bit time consuming but probably well worth it in the end. 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

College Advice: Things to do before you graduate

Who doesn't love the idea of being done with college? I know I hate it, but it is still an exciting time! Walking across the stage, getting your diploma, and the idea of being done with Finals forever is possibly the best.

I am here to give some advice on how to spend the last few (most likely 2 months or less) of college and what to do before you walk the stage!

    • Avoid having to do this later or needing one ASAP for a job/ internship/post grad degree -- just have a few somewhere that you can get to them if required that doesn't require going through your University. 
  2. UPDATE YOUR RESUME and have someone (or multiple people) read it. Let a professor, career advisor or mentor check it! 
  3. While you are prepping your resume - create a few versions of Cover Letters for jobs and again get someone to check it! 
  4. Speaking of professors, ask a few if they would be ok as a future reference and grab their contact details. 
  5. Take advantage of you STUDENT DISCOUNTS. Want a new computer, most companies give fantastic student discounts - so buy what you need before you have to pay full price!
  6. Take in all the FREE ACTIVITIES AT UNI. Yes, there are still classes and finals to deal with, but while your still a student enjoy what your university has to offer! Spring activities at my undergrad ranged from free concerts, free food, and Etiquette Dinners (useful for the job hunt)
  7. DO SOMETHING YOU WOULDNT USUALLY DO. Now I am not talking about anything insane and illegal - just have fun. Mine included a night breaking into (hopping over the fence) at the pool on campus and going for a midnight swim! Nothing major but a memory I will always remember. 
  8. INVEST IN YOURSELF AND FUTURE. You are about to head away from your world for the last four years and head off to another chapter of your life. When you head out into the 'real world' you will be on the job hunt, work from 9-5, and no longer have a Fall/ Spring / Summer break. 
    • Go out and buy a professional/semi- professional wardrobe
    • Invest in a quality Interview outfit & bag
    • Pamper yourself for a day
  9. Go through and figure out what you need to keep/ get rid of. I kept a lot of my coursework from my degree and I was headed off to grad school. Even if you aren't headed off to more school, maybe keep a project sample or writing sample in case it's needed. 
  10. ENJOY IT ALL - your time in college, your friends, your roommates and your college campus. Sure you will head back / keep in contact with some people but it's absolutely insane how amazing college life is while your there. 

Congrats to all you future grads and live it up these last few months :)

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

5 Things to Prepare for Applications

I would like to think that I am pretty well-versed when it comes to applications. I have had my fair share of applying for schools, fellowships, jobs and grants. Which after all of those applications there are a few things that you can do NOW to make your life easier when you prepare to apply for anything.

So here is another edition of my College Advice, even though this is life advice in general or at least life advice when you're looking for a job.

  1. Have your Resume up-to-date and have people (yes, plural not a person) review it. Having an up-to-date resume will save you time/stress for those moments when you have a short time frame before closing dates on things. It is so helpful for me to have my resume that has been reviewed/corrected/re-reviewed on hand for the instances when a new job opening comes up (early bird gets the 'job'?) or when I find a fellowship with a closing date in a few days. Being prepared and ready for such an important document such as your resume is step one in getting a job/grant/fellowship/whatever you're applying for.

  2. Have a list of people that you know would recommend you for positions aka your make a PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES LIST. Applying for things in the real world means having your mom/aunt/third cousin on your list of contacts is not ok. Having your college advisor, your internship mentor, or someone else who you've worked with is who you want to have your references. Make sure to have their name, position title, address, phone number and email handy for when your applying.

  3. Have a draft of a Cover Letter for the TYPE of positions your applying for. Having a basic outline to go by will save you tons of time when applying for things. This cover letter will change based on the position/company/fellowship that you are applying for, but the basics of your experience/career goals/ past research are all the same. I currently have cover letters ready for jobs, fellowships, and PhD programs all ready to go all I have to do is tweak each one to where/what I am applying for.

  4. Have your college transcripts, even if they are unofficial saved on your computer. There are many times that an application asks for these and having them on my computer already saved has made it so much easier than going through the process every time I go to apply for things.

  5.  Plan out a checklist of what is required for the application that includes: documents needed (Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, Passport, etc.), Application Due Date, References (do they need a list or do they want an official letter before you apply), Position information that your applying for ( what makes you a 'fit' for this position) and lastly the contact information for who/where you are applying. Knowing all of this will make the stress of multiple applications seem much more manageable because you will know everything that is required without having to look it up over and over again.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Chicago in 25 hours!

Another short trip to this fantastic city, but it was totally worth it. I finally made it there after my mishap with transportation read all about it Getting to Chicago. Taxi Fails and Missing Buses.

Once I finally got there I decided to walk to the hotel I was staying at, The Inn of Chicago to be exact. According to my phone GPS, it was supposed to be 30ish minutes. Well, that was wrong...

Yep, 50 minutes away and lucky me I was right by the water. I said screw it though I wanted to see the city and experience it all. I slightly regret that now, but it was fantastic none the less. I finally made it and just in time because I was losing feeling in my legs. That wind chill was no joke, and I was there on a warm day. It was in double digits, and there was no snow storm in the forecast. 

On to the fun stuff, what I actually did besides freezing----

1. Head to a mall, I went the Water Tower Place. It was 7 stories, and I could not turn up an opportunity like that. All I bought was postcards to mail home, but still, if I weren't broke I would have left with a lot more! 

2. Eat at The Purple Pig. Being a party of one got me right in at the bar. I was able to watch all the dishes get made and also watch the two drunk girls next to me flirt with the bartender (who had a ring on!). He played along though, and I in return had free entertainment. After the perky two-some left I then had some fantastic conversations with two other travellers. One with a British accent who lived in Manhattan, but was previously in California. And the other an older man, who came to The Purple Pig everytime he was in town, you know a place is good with that! 
At The Purple Pig, I had a few too many Crown and Cranberry, they didn't have the green stuff to make the oh so fabulous Washington Apples. But the drinks were strong which is just what I wanted.
Then there was the food. It all looked so good, the cheese plates, bone marrow, EVERYTHING!! I had the Eggplant Balls and Meatball Slider. Two small dishes that helped with my liquid diet. 
 Eggplant Balls//Kitchen View and of course drinks! // Meatball slider to die for

3. After leaving The Purple Pig, I knew I had a few too many. It was quick vaca, it's allowed. So I decided to take a taxi to Eataly, a block away from my hotel. I have a love for the Food Channel, cooking shows, anything with food in general. So stopping at this place was a must. 
Hello, the place is run by these people! A few should look familiar to all you foodies out there like: Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali... After walking around this place, I wish I had room to eat. This place is like a grocery store with places to drink wine, eat dessert and sample the cuisine. AMAZING.

4. Head to the Art Institute of Chicago. My final destination for this trip and the place where the conference was. Not only is the museum fantastic, but it is also right by the BEAN! I was walking to the museum trying to find the correct entrance to go to and walked right by the bean. No one was there, it was 8am, and it was slightly cold, but it was magical. My first time seeing it and I was pretty ecstatic to say I had finally seen it!
The bean// Front of the Art Institute// Another amazing piece of art

Well, there it is what I did in 25 hours in Chicago. I know it wasn't a lot but I'll be back to see more of Chi-town, so no worries with that! 

Have you ever been to Chicago? If so what is on your must-do list?

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting to Chicago: Taxi Fails & Missing Buses

I have been to Chicago before for a matter of about 24 hours. It was a trip to see my little brother finish the Navy Basic Training which was exhausting but worth it. I even got to meet some of the BFs high school friends that currently live there.

Chicago was the first place that made me fall in love with the idea of living in a big city. We walked to dinner, then a few blocks later we headed to a pretty impressive bar. All of this was within walking distance from the BFs friends apartment.

I was amazed. And I knew that I wanted to come back to Chicago! Lucky me I am now a 3-hour bus ride from the city and got to head up there last week for a 1 Day conference.

To start off, this post have even of you ever taken a Megabus ride? I suggest it if you ever don't feel like driving to a large city that has public transit that you can use. Also, they say there is WiFi, but on my 3-hour trip there was none, so keep that in mind. 

 But on to the real story, let's start from the beginning...

I had a Megabus ticket for Tuesday at 10:45am. Meaning I needed to get downtown by 10:30am for the bus. Luck would have it this trip is the first time for quite a few things.

9:30am called to arrange a pickup and thought all was set up. A taxi should be here within 35-40 minutes is what I was told.
10- I went to sit in front of the museum to wait.
10:10- No Taxi still, I called and asked where it was, it should be on its way I was told. 
10:20-Called again, yet was told it was on its way.
10:30-Called and was told 'No taxi is on its way'. Excuse me & WTF were two thoughts running through my mind. So I asked to speak to a manager, she was extremely friendly, but still, nothing came out of the talk, except that  I should have informed them I needed to go to the bus station then they would have rushed. Didn't know that taxis had priorities on their list for pickups. 

At this point, I was upset that this trip was off to a horrible start. And I was out another $18 for a bus trip to Chicago.

I was determined to make it to the next bus. It left at 2:15pm, and I made sure that I would be there. 

I decided to take the bus, even though Indy has one of the worst public transit systems. After figuring out that a bus would run right by the museum at 12:14pm and would take me 3 blocks from where I needed to be I headed over to the bus stop. Unfortunately, there was a 3-foot pile of snow blocking the bus stop, and I was out there early to make sure I didn't miss it. 

In the end, I made it downtown with enough time to head to Starbucks and find the pickup spot for the Megabus.

I made it to Chicago even after missing my first bus, a horrible taxi experience and my first public transit experience in Indy. So overall it worked out... 

Come back to hear about my 25 hour trip to Chicago including too much to drink, getting lost and finding the Bean and a 6 story mall... That will all be tomorrow!

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Distance doesn't matter to us

I have been in Indy now for almost a month, and I am loving every moment of it. Yes, there have been massive snow storms practically every weekend, I was even lucky enough to get here right before the Polar Vortex, but still, this is what I needed to do to help with the next part of my life.

With all the excitement around my new home, job, city, and surroundings I have found myself wondering if leaving the BF is making me a shitty GF?

Recently a chat with a friend of mine got me thinking, why does time apart in my relationship work, yet others can't imagine being apart for periods of time?

The BF and I have always been an 'interesting' couple too many of my friends. On girls night the other girls were busy reporting to their BFs about the night, while I was all about having a fun time. Going away for a wedding weekend, the BF knew that everything was fine, texts were exchanged, but I didn't step away from the festivities every 2 hours to talk to him on the phone. Getting way too drunk at the Frat house and going to the Spring Formal with BLil didn't freak him out, heck he encouraged me to enjoy college.

Yet with all of this, I still have friends who seem to not have the type of happy relationship that I seem to have. With the job in Indy was there was never a time where I thought the BF wouldn't like the idea. Sure we are apart, but this is something that I really wanted and worked hard for.

I have plans on applying for a Fellowship in the UK that would mean another 9 months apart, but it sounds like a fantastic opportunity, and  steps like this are necessary to get where I want to go. So he encourages me to go for it.

I have a dear friend from college who couldn't imagine even applying for a job because it requires a MONTH of training in another state. This meant that she would be apart from her BF and he just wouldn't approve. Could you imagine turning down opportunities because of something so small? Getting into a career that can lead to some excellent opportunities is something that should be worth a month apart. But in that relationship, I suppose that being apart to reach your dreams isn't something that is supported, which baffles me!

In the end, I know I am not a shitty gf, I am just in a trusting relationship where we can both encourage each other as we try to reach our dreams. Yet I still can't imagine how other couples freak with the idea of living apart, but still, I am glad that living life is something that has made my relationship strong enough to deal with the distance.

* Sorry for the extra random post, but heck just thoughts on life! And some mad props to my fantastic BF for being there for me through all my adventures and dreams! Thanks for the support babe :)

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