End of Semester (or college, for some of us) Marathon

So it’s that time of the year when things can get really stressful. If you’re like me and graduating, too, even though you’ve done this whole “end of the spring semester” thing several times before, the stress can pop up in surprising ways.

You may not be feeling overwhelmed, and that’s a-okay. In fact, that’s great, and I hope you keep feeling good! But you may also be like me and feeling a roller coaster of emotions (just today it was grumpy, sad, calm, elated, panicked – and I’ve only been up three hours), which is also a-okay. This can be a really challenging time full of changes and uncertainty and oh my gosh what is even happening. Yet it can (and I hope is!) also be a time of fun and frolicking and last-minute hangouts on the lawn.

But I bet all of us still have at least one super big-deal academic thing we must get through before the end of the school year and/or graduation, so here are some tips I’ve started using to help myself deal with the final countdown to thesis completion on days when it just seems IMPOSSIBLE:

  1. Set small, manageable expectations and be gentle with yourself. In the times when thesis really just isn’t happening, I will set a goal of literally one sentence and insist that I cannot yell at myself for being unproductive as a result. Usually, having more gentle expectations allows me to get at least two sentences done or even a whole paragraph and hey, that’s more helpful than getting nothing done and feeling even more unmotivated when I berate myself. A favorite way to phrase this manageable step approach in the office is “bird by bird:”
    Try to take your work “bird by bird.” As Anne Lamott (whose wonderful book, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” is in the WW office) tells it, her father once advised her younger brother, who
    was overwhelmed and struggling to write a paper on birds, “just take it bird by bird, buddy.” In other words, break your writing or studying up into bite-sized pieces (e.g. writing just one paragraph), and focus on
    that one piece without letting your mind wander to what else you have to do–the overall project, your other classes, your to-do list…Take a short break between each “bird” to stretch or walk around. You’ll be
    amazed at how much you can accomplish this way, and pretty soon you’ll have a whole flock of “birds” and your work will be that much closer to finished.
  2. Get support. Whether you need a listening ear, a tissue, or a pep-talk (three things I currently need in great measure on a typical day), try to reach out to your network or to the various offices on campus to get some support. Not sure where to start or feeling unsure? The Well-Woman office is here to help you figure out resources on campus, listen to your concerns, or just give you some tea and a chance to decompress.
  3. Take care of yourself (that includes having some fun). You sit on that lawn. You enjoy the sun on the steps. You watch that episode. Then you go do some work “bird by bird,” hopefully feeling refreshed and recharged from a fun break. Same goes for sleeping, eating, moderating the caffeine intake, or anything else that helps you feel well – keep up healthy habits you have already developed as best you can. It can be really tempting to let go of self-care habits when the going gets tough, as I do sometimes too, but it’s especially important to be kind to yourself during stressful times (and kindness includes being gentle to yourself if you don’t meet your self-care goals).

Those are just some ways I’m trying to stay grounded in this very often overwhelming time. Here’s to doing our best rather than aiming for perfection!

Internal Condom Instructions

Hey folks! I was refilling the free barrier methods that are available outside of our WW office and I noticed that not many people have taken advantage of the internal (also known as female) condoms. Internal condoms can be a great barrier method choice, allowing more sensation for the penis haver and being able to be inserted hours before actual penetration. Check out Oh Joy Sex Toy’s great explanation of how to use them and their pros and cons.



Like feminism? 

You may have heard of some of the controversy surrounding a Duke student’s decision to do pornography. If you are interested in current issues within the discipline of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, you should check out this article she wrote about feminism and sex work. 


“I Don’t Want Your Pity: Sex Work and Labor Politics” by Belle Knox



Craft for the crafts, craft for the memories, craft for the mental health benefits!

Many of us here in 119 Reid appreciate the value of a good crafting session, and now (well, a few years ago) the journal of Occupational Therapy International chimed in with their approval! This literature review describes the various activities that have been shown to help promote well-being and counter dementia later in life, and knitting – along with crafting, drawing, meditation and reading – makes the list. According to the article, this may be due to the “flow state” that people sometimes enter while engaging in creative activity, which is a state of “effortless attention” where the individual is intensely focused on the present moment, has an altered experience of time, and finds the activity they are doing intrinsically rewarding. However, some of the biological markers that are claimed to come with the flow state are difficult to measure, so the jury is still out on whether it really is responsible for benefits of creative activity.

Regardless of what you believe is the source of your crafting calm, the you can share your thoughts with the Clandestine Knitting Club (which meets on Wednesdays from 7-8pm in the Well-Woman office)! And if knitting is not your outlet of choice, the office is also well-stocked with origami paper, coloring sheets, markers, crayons, and glitter. Here are some crafts that have been peer-ed tested and approved:

DIY Rice Hand Warmers

Origami Crane-folding

Painter’s Tape Murals

Paper Chains

Good old-fashioned cards!

For non-crafters, there’s always tea, chocolate, the massage chair, and the company of our new books and board games! (We now have Connect Four and Apples to Apples).


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s…the sun!

I am known to my friends and acquaintances as the one who loves the snow, the cold and the winter.  But I admit that this warmer weather and sunshine is absolutely refreshing and welcome!  As the semester winds down I want to encourage us all to take some time to peak out from the corners of our textbooks and laptops to enjoy the beautiful days that we have coming.  Some of my favorite things to do are…

- walk through one of the many parks that surround out campus

- try out some new frozen yogurt (I recommend Cafe East, one the first floor of Lerner! It’s amazing!)

- eat lunch on Low Steps or Lehman Lawn

- watch the sun set from the top of Sulz tower (an all year thing, but especially nice since the sun doesn’t set till later)

- buy some fresh flowers from a bodega or Trader Joe’s to bring spring time into my room

Sending sunshine and smiles to everyone!



It’s that time again…

Hi everyone!

As many of you probably know, the first day of Barnard’s Room Selection for the 2014-2015 year happened today. Regardless of the outcome, this process almost always comes with a lot of stress, tension, and worry. Choosing where you’ll be living can feel very high-stakes, and having to form groups can be really challenging, especially for those of us who can’t think of enough people with whom we’d be willing to live, or are having to choose between too many potential roommates, or who don’t have good enough lottery numbers to get a suite for their group in the first place. In light of the added stress that will be present on campus during Room Selection, I wanted to remind our community that you can stop by Well Woman in 119 Reid for a place to vent, or to just hang out, drink tea, and eat chocolate! Staff office hours are from 1 to 4 pm Monday through Friday, and student office hours are from 7 to 9 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I also wanted to leave you with this picture of happy wild swimming pigs, and a link to an article about their island home.



Enjoy your weekends!!


Hi all! Hope everyone is enjoying their spring break – whether you are somewhere warm and sunny like California or somewhere less warm (but still sunny!) like New York.

As it is spring break, I have been spending a lot of time just relaxing. I find that everyone has their own way they like to relax – some people like cooking, some like knitting, some like hiking, running, singing, etc. I happen to like looking at pictures of cute animals (Especially dogs that remind me of my pup back at home!).

So, if you want to try out this relaxation technique (or just gush over pups), here’s an adorable blog about this woman who took a picture of her son and dog canoodling during naptime. She shows both of them as they grow up and it is just too cute!