Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship as a Grad Student

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Visiting the Grand Canyon together.

Today, a big life change is happening. My partner is finally moving in! Although we got married last year, we’ve never lived together for a long period of time. The reason? School and jobs. For 3 years, we were students on opposite coasts of the US, and for 2 years after that, we had jobs in different cities. We finally sorted out the job situation (it’s common issue for academic couples, since there aren’t many university positions), and he’s showing up tomorrow! I wanted to write down how we made long-distance work for so long, and my hopes and fears for finally living together.Read More »

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PSA: Test Your Car Headlights!

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The picture that started it all.

The other day, I was lounging productively on the sofa, when my friend texted me. “Hey! Come check out the Lunar New Year festival!” followed by a picture of my favorite thing, lion dance. I got off my lazy butt, hopped in the car, and drove downtown. After spending a sunny afternoon wandering around and catching up, night had fallen, and I got in my car to drive home. As I pulled out, I saw a dreaded thing in the rearview mirror: flashing blue lights. I pulled over.Read More »

The Economics of Knitting

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Comparison of scarf options.

I learned to knit during high school. I wouldn’t say I enjoy the process of knitting itself, but I like being able to create something exactly to my specifications, and the satisfaction from the finished product. During a de-cluttering purge a few years ago, though, I got rid of all my knitting materials, because I hadn’t touched them in a while.

But recently, I was on a hunt for a new scarf. I knew what I wanted: chunky, infinity (circle) style, and dark red / burgundy color. I used to have one from Old Navy that was the right color and style, but I didn’t like the quality (it didn’t have that fluffy feeling), so I donated it. I hunted around for a replacement, and found this LL Bean one with a pretty lace pattern and ombre effect, but I didn’t want to shell out $36 for an acrylic scarf. What’s a girl to do? I decided to knit my own! I found this pattern from Stuff Steph Does that had the right look. I wanted to answer the question: Is it worth it, economically, to knit something instead of buying it ready-made from a store?Read More »

Review: Filson Original Briefcase

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Filson original briefcase in navy.

I’ve recently been on the hunt for a new laptop bag to use on a daily basis and also at professional events. This bag has to tick several checkmarks: long strap, non-black, compact, and stylish. It should hold my laptop, a couple of papers, and the usual wallet/keys/phone/chapstick, and have a long strap for hands-free usage. After seeing a sale for $200, I pulled the trigger on the Filson Original Briefcase, which is well-reviewed. Before clicking the “Buy” button, though, one of the things I searched for but couldn’t find were pictures of women wearing the bag, to see the proportions. Sure, I checked the measurements, but seeing the bag against a female body gives such a better sense of perspective. Hence, this review.Read More »

Is an Engineering PhD Worth It, Financially?

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Annual wages over time during a typical STEM PhD.

Have you ever thought about doing a PhD in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics), and wondered how much money you make? Having gone through the grind myself, I thought I’d take a look at the numbers. I dug through my old W2s and found my net income during grad school. I wanted to answer the question: Is doing an engineering PhD worth it, financially?

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