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Dear <<First Name>>

It's been three long months and I've missed writing to you. How have you been?

The last time I wrote to you I had just submitted the first 2,500 words of my 10,000 worded dissertation. I'm happy to report that after shedding literal blood, sweat and tears, I submitted it🎉. Life even threw in a few travel adventures (Edinburgh was EVERYTHING😍), a second case of the rona which I conquered (Hallelujah!), delicious food, and heartbreak just to keep things interesting you know... Anyway, after such an eventful journey, I think it is only fitting that I share the lessons it taught me.

So grab you a cuppa and let's sip! 🫖

1. Write about what matters to you

I got this advice from one of the dissertation workshops and I'm glad I followed it. I decided to investigate the construction of menstruation taboos in male-dominated workplaces such as the built environment profession because wom_n having better menstruation experiences matters to me. My Honour's research project was on lean construction and while I care about environmental sustainability, it was one of the worst academic experiences. In fact, the only thing that kept me going was my amazing teammates. While writing my Master's dissertation was still as difficult, I would still feel a certain hum, a sort of buzz, urging me to power through whenever I felt like giving up.

2. It's a 9-5 sis, plan accordingly

I don't know why I thought a dissertation would be a matter of putting in some hours here and there...Waaah! That thought reminds me of the TikToks about entrepreneurs who leave their 9-5 jobs hoping for freedom but end up working 12-12 😭. I had to adjust to the reality and make a plan on how to put in at least 6 hours, okay at least 3 good hours a day. Okay fine, many all-nighters were pulled towards the end🤪 whatever gets the work done, no? A major perk was my nocturnal self got to thrive. I also learned that it helped to take some leave days, keep my weekends sacred if I could, and that a lil' vacation is great for melting that writer's block.  

3. Guard your health

I went through it with my Master's coursework but the dissertation was on a whole other level. It's like it was the perfect dancing point for all the hectic feelings: impostor syndrome, procrastination, sadness, anxieties... It was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. So I asked for extensions, checked the nasty voices in my head, asked for help (even though I find it hard to do), took breaks, forced myself to go out on walks for my sanity,  picked some calls, hydrated, signed up for hello fresh and so on. Now, full disclosure when these healthier ways failed I resorted to a bottle of wine here, some creme cookies there, some, no lots of Netflix bingeing... I did what I had to do to stay sane and I am glad I did because I still got unwell so imagine if I hadn't! Lastly, it also took a tonne of pressure off to remember that nobody is expecting me to change the world with my dissertation.

4. Find your hype team and believe them. 

There would have been no dissertation without my hype team. I had amazing supervisors, encountered cool authors, and had a friend who would get on a Zoom call with me for at least three hours of focused study. They all kept me accountable and inspired me. However, I wish I had believed all the great feedback they gave me. Ah! that would have saved me so much time wasted in impostor syndrome hours but here we are - living and learning☺️

5. Haba na haba hujaza kibaba

This is my favourite Kiswahili proverb maybe because I love taking my time with things, with life. It loosely translates to "little by little fills a lot", google also said something about 'kibaba' being a piggy bank but I'd have to check with my Tanzanian friends. The bottom line is that like with most projects breaking down my dissertation into stages was helpful. Eventually, I was able to do it 250 words by 250 words, paragraph by paragraph!

6. Trust the process

The most recurring thought throughout my writing process was "this does not make sense". Looking back I wanna scream at my anxious self at that time, "of course, it doesn't make sense, it is not meant to!" The more I wrote the more sense it made. I usually like to establish meaning and purpose first so I see why this was a challenge but it paid off in the end,  the dots connected backward.

7. Everything ends

At some point when writing purposefully, planning accordingly, taking care of my health, having a supportive team, breaking it down, and trusting the process all failed, there was only one thing that kept me going - the fact that everything must inevitably come to an end. And it did! As I eagerly wait for my results to come out, this same fact is helping me through my transition stage. Everything, good or bad/exhausting or refreshing/ sad or joyful, ends.

And that's a wrap!  I'd love to hear from you. Also, if you have words of encouragement for someone job hunting, I'm in need of those🤗cuz wow just wawu!👀 🔥🙆🏿‍♀️✨

Song of the month
This song has been on blast while I apply for jobs. I sing to this verse the loudest!
🎶Mommy say I gotta be a go-go-getta
Got the devil tryna tempt me but I know better
Never been the type not to acknowledge all the signs
It's the fact that everything I want is in front of my eyes
So, when I see it, I...Point and kill, uh 🎶
Go gerrit you go gerra! 😁😌😘
Sending Light & Goodness,
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