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Jennifer Sierra's blog

I Am a Ph.D. Student from a Muggle Family

Recently, more than halfway through my second year of graduate school, I experienced a major breakdown. On my two, three-hour flights that took me back home to Colombia, I questioned my sudden decision to retreat for three weeks to get myself together.

“Is this going to affect the way my professors see me? Do I now seem like I am not committed to my Ph.D. program?” These are the questions that ran through my head.

I tried to breathe through the anxiety while I listened to the Harry Potter audio books that my friend downloaded for me to get me through the flights. “You can’t go through life without knowing about Harry Potter, it’s criminal!” I heard him say in my mind.

A Productive Day

7:30 a.m. I hear a loud noise which I quickly identify as my alarm clock. I wake up at an earlier time than I would have wanted to. The guilt of not having been productive on the previous day gets me out of bed.

10:00 a.m. I finally manage to get myself out of my studio in the West side of town. As I walk downtown, I decide that the windows at Literati would inspire me to get some work done.

10:30 a.m. Literati is unsurprisingly full. I can’t get a table there. I feel a quick rush of jealousy for the people who have managed to get themselves to work earlier than me. I am forced to think of a plan B.


The views expressed in this post are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Rackham Graduate School or the University of Michigan.