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
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 affordable...as 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.