Hi friends! I hope you all are well! You may have noticed that I was a little absent lately, not blogging as much as I used to do, but I was never away – in fact, I was here and still am, being stuck to my laptop most of the times. I am just very busy.

The past weeks looked about like this: During the weeks, I taught a couple of tutorials on multivariate statistics and latent variable modeling, some piano lessons, and worked on my thesis as much as possible, until late at night on most days, and also on the weekends. Some piano playing, cooking, taking walks, and mindfulness practices were interspersed throughout that, and every now and then, I met a friend or sat with my lovely neighbors in the courtyard for an hour or two in the evening, talking over a glass of wine.

It will always be like this from now on, but I like it. And I do not plan to abandon my blog or my lovely blogging friends, I just have to limit the time I spend on the blogsphere. However, I will not go away, and try to follow your blogs as good as I can.

Many important things are going on currently, because I am almost at the end of my studies now (maybe half a year to go still, with finishing my thesis and doing my last exams) and plan to make a PhD in social psychology afterwards. I am very serious with academia, and I feel that I belong there, but at the same time I know that it is a tricky battlefield: It is not enough to be good with what you do, but you have to be brilliant and have a good portion of luck as well as good connections if you want to hold your ground there, especially if you are a fair player. So, I am mentally preparing and upgrading my skills by reading scientific literature and gathering information. I know that I have the potential to be very good, that I can sustain hard times, and that I will have to.

Two weeks ago, I met my supervisor who was in Europe for some time and also in Heidelberg for a weekend. (He is back in New Zealand for another six months now.) He made some time for sitting down and talking extensively with me about the things I am going to face and I should be prepared for (so I will “run into disaster with open eyes at least”), my plans and my motivation behind an academic career, and how I should go on from where I am now. And he asked me whether I had written my thesis in English, which would be beneficial for publication reasons. I had not, because I was not too secure about my English skills when I started writing the first parts a couple of months ago, but this has changed thanks to blogging, so I have translated all 40 pages I had written so far into English by now.

My supervisor also recommended a few alternatives to Heidelberg for making a PhD which I should check out, and I thoroughly did and finally excluded them. I think it will be very demanding to make the PhD in Heidelberg, but the university has a very good recommendation internationally, I know the people and they know me, and I will have the possibility to work quite independently which suits me a lot – but which also means that there will be no guiding hand too much. However, this is exactly what my supervisor has prepared me for during the past year, and in retrospective, I am very thankful that he did, although it was not easy sometimes. So you see, the course for the time to come is quite set by now.

Nutrition also plays an important role in this whole picture, because I tend to react so sensitively to many foods, and there is little more having such a potential to make me feel bad, put stress on me, and weaken me, than these foods. What suffers the most when I have allergy symptoms or take a ride on the blood sugar roller coaster, next to overall well-being, are my energy levels and my ability to concentrate. So you see, figuring out my eating and sticking with that so thoroughly is not only motivated by the wish to feel better, but also by the plan to achieve and maintain my maximal performance level to sustain the work load that comes with an academic career. I see food mostly as fuel now, but this does not mean that enjoyment has to go short, as these pictures may show …

~ carrot tagliatelle and kale with scrambled eggs ~

~ carrot, plum, and almond protein smoothie ~

~ roasted chicken and pumpkin with parsley and almond butter ~

~ fresh raspberries (a very rare treat) ~

~ roasted chicken with carrots, onions, and lamb’s lettuce ~

And I also enjoy my beloved green protein smoothies on an almost daily basis. These are just the best to fuel yourself with vitamins and energy, and they are so easy and quick to prepare! I already have a vision of me being the nerd who has a blender in her office … And as you can see, I have also started to drink from jars, so I belong to the cool folks now. (It is not a Mason jar, though, so there is still room for improvement in coolness, but I may order one some day.)

~ spinach and nectarine protein smoothie ~

The next thing to do now is to finish my thesis until the end of September, because once a year, the best works are awarded with a price, and the deadline for submission is October 31th. Until then, however, it has to be corrected by both my supervisor and my second corrector, probably re-edited by me, and finally reviewed already … So there is still a lot of work to do. Please wish me luck!

Are you currently at a point in your life that calls for setting the course, or have you been lately?

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