The Importance Of Balancing Self-Care With Work
When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer until I found out lawyers had to read a lot; and I really struggled with spelling the word lawyer so I switched course. I ended up going to Cornell University for my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Materials Science and Engineering. The hardest thing about engineering was just the level of difficulty in the coursework. It is really challenging to be that dedicated to your work. There is also often a culture of “if you’re not working 24/7, you’re not doing enough.” But self-care is important! Also spending time with friends outside your field is important. Laughing is important. Sometimes I had no time for these things, it was tough. Sometimes I had the time but felt guilty for taking breaks. These are huge barriers; I often felt like I could not possibly graduate, but as it turns out, I was not alone in this feeling.
My worst semester was Fall junior year. I distinctly remember during an 11 am lecture I had to stand up in class to keep myself awake since I had been in the same building working since 8 am the previous day. I repeat: I had to stand up in a lecture to keep myself from falling asleep. At one point I almost fell over. After that semester, though, nothing was ever as bad (I’ll estimate about 5 all-nighters that semester and endless late nights for coursework--research was another story.) Knowing I could get through that though, meant I could get through anything else.
I ultimately want to leave a technical legacy. In some way I hope my actions lead to major world advancements in technology, simultaneously letting young girls know they can do the same. I also want to make an impact for future women in STEM. I’ve been running my IG for a year now and I think I’ve made a splash with a few women. But I want it to be bigger. Sometimes my own life gets in the way of this, which is challenging. So I’m struggling with how I’m going to achieve a greater impact with the resources I have been given.