Friday, 6 August 2010

How I roll

The streaking continues. Of the nine days I have completed, six consisted of strength training/pilates and three of running or walking. I’ve pretty much been getting in the bare minimum according to the guidelines I set up for myself, but I have to start somewhere so I’m not getting down on myself. Actually, I’m pretty psyched considering how much strength training I’ve been doing and not actually hating. It’s like a freaking miracle.

My goal is to work up to doing 45-60 minutes of activity 5 to 6 days each week. I’m going to have to work hard to make sure I get that it early each day so that I can still spend massive amounts of time on my dissertation. I’ve recently re-worked my timetable and now I have to start writing a minimum of 1,000 words each day if I’m going to complete this mess on time. Doable, but made more difficult by the fact that there is still a substantial amount of research and calculations to be completed before a lot of that writing can be done.


There are worse fates to have though. So to get me through this shit, I’ve stolen borrowed MCM Mama’s motto: Suck it up, Buttercup.


Secrets to graduate student living
On Wednesday's scenic post, Nitmos remarked: “Man, this poor, college student life has got to be rough. I looked at those photos thinking How.Do.You.Deal? I even threw in a head shake and a tsk tsk.

This is a somewhat common comment grad students in my field get from people with real jobs. Wanna know how I do it? Okay, here goes...

Traveling in Europe on the cheap:

(1) Live in Europe. Traveling within Europe is pretty long as there aren’t travel-industry strikes or volcanic ash to screw things up. There are tons of budget airlines and frequently good offers with major carriers. Taking the trains is also a cheaper and scenic option if you have the time. I find it’s cheaper for me to get a roundtrip ticket within Europe than it is when I’m in the states. I bet you that the roundtrip ticket I end up buying for a conference I need to attend in Texas in January (I’ll be flying there from Boston) will be more expensive than the multi-city plane ticket I purchased for my recent Rome-Greece trip.

(2) Have a family who live in a foreign country. My dad is from Greece and almost all of his family still live there. When I visit I stay with them (I get in trouble if I don’t) and they stuff me full of food till I wanna puke, all for free. The only things I had to pay for when I was there recently were my plane ticket, chip in for a rental car for a week, and the expenses associated with the three-day trip to Santorini where my family does not live.

But the question remains, how do I still afford to travel when I don’t make a living wage? This is how:

(1) Con people out of their money. I spend a good chunk of time applying for research and travel grants and if I’m lucky I even get a few of them. The Rome-Greece trip was the result of having leftover research grant money. Also, a few years ago, I scored a fully-funded fellowship in NYC one summer. I ended up saving money on living expenses by crashing with my bff Ellen (I’m not a total mooch—I gave her money to help pay for monthly expenses) and was therefore able to purchase my one and only ipod – an ipod mini. It’s still kicking five years later and I won’t get rid of it till it dies or when it ends up being cheaper to buy a new one rather than a second replacement battery.

(2) Live like a pauper. In order to splurge on travel, I have to cut back on expenses in other areas of my life.
(a) I walk or cycle everywhere so I don’t have to pay for a bus pass or (god forbid) purchase a car.
(b) I don’t have a tv because, well, first I’d have to buy a tv and then I’d have to pay for the mandatory tv license and THEN I’d have to purchase some sort of cable box for it to even get any channels. No thanks.
(c) I buy cheap or on sale items and use them until they fall apart. For instance, I wore the same black pea coat for ten years until last Christmas when my mother (my role model for economic living) said it was too beat up to wear anymore. So I bought another more stylish one (on sale of course) which I will wear into oblivion over the next decade.
(d) I cook in large batches and eat leftovers for the majority of each week. It gets boring eating the same thing 5 to 7 days in a row, but it’s the healthier and cheaper option so I do it.
(e) I take advantage of student discounts. I get a third off of train tickets, cheaper meals out, discounted office supplies, etc. In some ways it’s going to be a sad day when I finally finish.

So that’s Xenia’s Guide to Cheap Living. If you still hate me for all the travel fun I have, just remember that six months after I finish my PhD I’m finally going to have to start paying back all my undergrad student loans.


Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.


Jamoosh said...

Who is this "Buttercup" you guys keep talking about? Are you referencing Princess Bride...

The Merry said...

You're on a horse!

Lily on the Road said...

Have a great weekend too, thanks for the refresher Guide to Cheap Living, I remember those days (still doing it, LOL)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Suck It Up, Buttercup is my second-favorite 70s-era porn movie! I didn't even know MCM Mama was in it, but, then again, I wasn't exactly looking at their faces.

My favorite 70s-era porn movie of course, is Mister Moose's "Special" Goose, starring the dorsal side of LuMu. At least, I assume it was her. It's not that I wasn't looking for her face - it's more like it just wasn't featured.

You can actually make some pretty decent money to supplement your student income just by degrading yourself. So you have options.

Though I'd advise you to draw the line at what LuMu did in MM's"S"G.

Because you're gonna need to be able to sit to write your dissertation.

Nitmos said...

Wow, people have been responding to my comments lately with long blog posts which makes me kick myself for not asking about the meaing of life. Balls!

Viper said...

Amen for cheap living. If you want things, you have to sacrifice other things. That's just the way it is. Cheers!

BrianFlash said...

I loved my time in college, but I have to say I didn't love not having any cash.

Now that my wife makes loads of money my life is so much happier :)

Deb said...

Wowzer!! I, too, stole/borrowed the "Suck it up, Buttercup" mantra! I've employed it several times, but I can't say that it's been incredibly effective...Stoopid Buttercup.

Sometimes, though, I just rely on my favorite line from "Mister Moose's Special Goose" as my running mantra. It goes something like this: "Oh my Gawd!!!! Stop! STOP!! For the love of God, get that thing outta me!!! ARGHHHHHH!! The humanity!!"

Jamie said...

Oh cheap living. It's always good to con people out of their money as long as they don't mind :) Nice work on the streaking!

joyRuN said...

Honestly, I don't know how I survived (& had great fun) in college with NO money, given that it hasn't gotten much better now more than a decade out of school.

Must be these damn kids. Kids are expensive.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

You are right that the beard is doomed because Teh 'Bride hates it and so does Ian, really. Truth is, so do I, so it'll go, soon enough. But it was just something to do to take my mind off things, the awful lies in this world.

Like LuMu's claim that she uttered these lines in her porno: "Oh my Gawd!!!! Stop! STOP!! For the love of God, get that thing outta me!!! ARGHHHHHH!! The humanity!!"

When I saw that movie, what I heard was not a Moose in pain, but a Moose in love. Or, possibly, a Moose in love with pain.

Whatever. It's all good. Although LooMoo will probably dispute that.

Jamie said...

Just discovered your site! I'm also a student in archaeology, except I'm in Arizona, not the cool UK. :) I look forward to reading more!