Category Archives: Grad School

So we march on

march goals monthly walk boots shoes stephanie hughes  stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd blog

I’m feeling a little better today. I have taken the last week to get caught up on some things. I wrapped up my midterm, spent some time with friends, drank a little extra wine… I also got a hair cut this week and I already feel lighter.

I’m realizing what I think my issues my stem from. First of all, straight up, I’m just doing too much. Figuring out what to cut out, though, is the real issue.

Secondly, as some of you commented on my last post, my chemicals may be a little out of whack. I have been focusing more of hydration and taking all of my vitamins. I think it’s helping already. But I do worry about something a little more serious there. The problem, here, is that I am not sure what to do about it. Normally, I would reach out to my GI, at least to get his advice, but I don’t actually have one anymore. My GI moved on to the research field about a year after my surgery and I haven’t had a need to follow-up with one since. So I doubt any other doctor would want to give me advice without seeing my first, even if there’s not much they can do to help.

Finally, I’m noticing a pattern in my writing that I tend to get a little depressed around this time of year. I think it’s a combination of cold weather and hitting a wall after taking on too much responsibility at the beginning of the year. I should try to remember that next year… But it’s usually around the beginning of March that I pull out of it with the help of my birthday and Springtime!

And I guess that’s part of the reason I love March. It’s definitely not Spring quite yet (at least for longer than 48 hours here in NC), but we had a saying when I was a kid: March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. And that is the truth here in the South. The first week or two is still pretty chilly, but you can look forward to some beautiful weather by the time the month is over. It may be 32-degrees outside right now, but we’re looking forward to 65 by this weekend!

This month, I’m not worried about goals, I’m focusing on enjoying myself and remembering that life is about being, not doing all of the time. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month:

  • Starting up an IBD Meetup and getting to know some other people in the area.
  • Learning Italian as I drive to and from work every day.
  • My 10 year high school reunion. (How is that happening already??)
  • Lots of basketball.
  • Joining in a run challenge with friends at work. (And hopefully making it through 12 miles by the end of the month… okay, I’m not so sure I’m actually looking forward to that.)
  • Spending too much money at Anthropologie.
  • Celebrating another birthday!

A very full February

Time has just been flying by over the past few weeks. And here we are again, at the beginning of another month. It has been a blur and I’m not even sure why things have been so crazy, but they have.

January was filled with grad school classes, lots of planning and implementing new things at work, meetings for fundraiser events to support Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis research, dinners with friends, snow days and a more sick days than I prefer. I always feel that I get very anti-social in January, which is probably usual since we’re all coming off the high from the holidays, but I have been doing my best to stay connected and not just sit around my house all of the time. The thing is, I think I did such a good job at it that I didn’t get all of those things done around the house that I needed to. And I also didn’t spend enough time interacting with all of my friends online.

Getting sick last week really threw me. I thought it would be just a day or two and It’d be gone, but it dragged on for a full week. And not feeling well for all of that time put me behind on so many things that I had hoped to do. I missed my long run last week and didn’t end up doing any sorts of workouts or exercise during the week, but thankfully I was able to still do my four mile run yesterday without too much trouble. I had planned to get some stuff written to post on The Stolen Colon, but that didn’t end up happening. I also haven’t responded to any emails this week. And I have some other volunteer opportunities that have gotten pushed to the side. I’m definitely feeling a little behind.

february monthly goals busy calendar stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blogAnd then I look over February and I don’t think it’s going to be any better. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great things that are going to be happening this month and I am really excited about a lot of them, but it’s not going to make for a very relaxing time. I am going to have to stay on top of things and really push to get done all that I need to. I never cease to be amazed at how much there always is to do and how little time there always is to do it.

Hopefully we won’t have any more snow or colds to get in the way this month! And for tonight, I am simply joining some friends to watch the game and eat a bunch of football snacks. I worry about the rest of the list tomorrow…

  • The Stolen Colon
    • Be more involved in online communities.
    • Plan and write/record some great content.
  • Grad School
    • Start research on my project. (This is something you guys might be interested in, so I will share more once I have it all nailed down!)
  • Work
    • Stay focused and finalize the plan for 2014. Since I’ve only been here a few months, it’s taking some extra time to get everything in order.
  • Training
    • Run 7 miles by the end of the month.
    • Run 3 days per week and do other workouts at least 2 days per week.
  • Personal
    • Don’t get stressed out!
    • Stick to my daily schedule. (It’s the only way I will survive!)

Feeling dumb

There are two kinds of embarrassment in my mind: the kind that makes you feel clumsy and the kind that makes you feel stupid. Actually, according to Wikipedia, there are several more, but these are the ones that affect me most often. And this week, I actually experienced both.

It doesn’t bother me too much being clumsy. Sure, I don’t like tripping over things or running into something. And when I do, I feel embarrassed and probably blush, but I also will most likely laugh. Even with what happened this week, whenever I think about it, I can’t help but smile and shake my head and laugh at the whole situation. And I no longer feel embarrassed about it. A little silly, maybe, but not embarrassed.

stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis feeling stupid dumb inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blogBut feeling stupid… that really gets to me. There are few things worse, in my opinion, than feeling stupid. And when I do, I shut down, I get defensive, and then I start obsessing and after I while I have a hard time thinking about anything else.

I think these feelings are especially apparent this week as I head back for my second semester of grad school. (Even though that’s not where anything happened.) But I do have a fear of not being good enough and not being as smart as the other people in my program. I feel like everyone else in my class understands how to speak “academically” and I have completely forgotten how to be in that frame of mind.

I don’t get it. Why do I let these little things, that other people likely don’t remember an hour later, get to me so much?

There’s actually a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” And it’s really true. So why do I feel this way? This isn’t how it is supposed to be. You should never let other people dictate how you feel and how you see yourself. I know this. I just don’t always live by it.

We never want to give ourselves a break. Everyone else is allowed to mess up, but any time that we do, it’s unforgivable. At least that how I feel about myself a lot of the time. And it’s so unfair. That’s something I hope to change this year. Giving myself a break every now and then.

You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.
-A.A. Milne

2014: I’m coming for you!

Happy New Year!

Here we are once again… at the beginning a new year. This seems to happen all too often these days. But I do enjoy the opportunity to get myself focused and move past the haze of the holidays and prepare to start off another year. There’s something about the beginning of a year that makes you stop and take stock of where you are in your life and where you want to go from here. I have been doing a lot of that over the past few weeks.

I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I feel like they are just about making some big change that we often haven’t really thought out and considered what all needs to go into that. I would much rather set goals for myself that are focused on moving forward and achieving something.

I do have a tendency to set rather vague goals that aren’t necessarily measurable or within a specific time range, so I am trying to be more focused and specific this year. I am also trying to not do too much or put too much pressure on myself, so I have narrowed it down to my 5 Big Goals for this year:

  1. Implement changes for The Stolen Colon: I actually have some more specific ideas here, but I don’t want to divulge the details of them just yet!
  2. Get organized/save money/stay on budget: Somewhat vague, but I have some actual steps to take like putting together a meal plan every week, saving a certain percentage of every paycheck and I have created a budget sheet to track our expenses.
  3. Stay focused on another semester of grad school: I am taking it one semester at a time and plan to spend one hour every evening studying and reading so I’m not have to cram it in at the last minute.
  4. Run my third half-marathon (this time with Jarrod): Our race is April 13 and I’ve got my training all mapped out. And I already got my first 5K in today!
  5. Plan an amazing vacation: Jarrod and I are planning a trip to Europe this Spring! We’ve been saving and are trying to get all of the details in place. We have already met with a travel agent and hope to get everything nailed down very soon. So excited!

Those are the specific things I plan to focus on in the coming months and throughout the year. However, some of those things will be over with in the first part of the year, so I did some thinking about what I want this year to look like as a whole. We have this thing we do at work where we discuss the previous weeks and work out things that have gone right and things that have gone wrong. Then we put a graph together of things that we want to start doing or stop doing or that we should keep doing or do more of or less of:

pie graph circle start stop do more less of keep doing goal setting resolutions stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog

Some of these are a bit on the vague side, but these are more of ideas and principles that I want to guide me through the year.


  • stressing and worrying so much
  • taking on too many things

Do Less of

  • sleeping in too late
  • leaving the house a mess
  • procrastinating on school work

Keep Doing

  • making the bed every day
  • putting together a bunch of freezer meals to eat during the week

Do More of

  • meditation
  • date nights with Jarrod
  • healthy eating
  • exercise


  • reading for pleasure again
  • going back to the gym
  • tracking my budget every day

I have often felt in my past that I was always waiting for something to make everything… right. There was always a big “IF.” If I could find the job that I want… If I wasn’t feeling so bad… If I didn’t have to worry about this… or deal with that… THEN I would be happy. It always left me wanting something and never satisfied with all of the amazing things I have in my life. And honestly, I finally don’t have any “IF”s. I am happy and fulfilled and excited about everything that the future holds. This is going to be a great year. Because I choose to make it a great year.