Day in the Life of a Coffee Blogger – NJ Cafe Hopping VLOG

Hello! I’ve been drowning in grad school assignments so I haven’t been posting as often as I would like. I’m hoping to go more in depth with updates in my next post but for now here’s how I like to spend my days off from work and grad school – cafe hopping, what a surprise!

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I hope you have a great week/weekend!

As always thank you SO much for all of your support,

Lots of love,

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How I am Going to Graduate School Internationally During the Pandemic

Happy Sunday!

I filmed an updated full Masters Journey. I tried to make the video more cohesive than my original one. I go more into detail on some of the more recent updates. Thanks so much for sticking with me through this journey!

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As always thank you SO much for all of your support,

Lots of love,

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ALSO

What kind of content would you like more of from me?

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Positive Masters Degree Updates – Feb 2021

I have an EXCITING life update.

If you’ve been keeping up with my masters degree journey of the ups and downs, the questions & the unknowns…

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BUT if not, here’s a quick rundown: I applied to get into a masters program in Australia last year that I was dreaming of, got rejected, was told I didn’t quality for the degree but I reapplied, got accepted, was told I could do some courses online as I’m still very much stuck in states, tried to enroll in courses, was told last week that it might actually not be possible to start online with all of the lab and field work, and FINALLY last night was told that I could officially take courses online (at least part time to start) and I WILL be able to start my masters degree while stuck here in the states with the Australian borders being closed.

Here are a few other posts going into my journey.

Emo International Masters Update – this keeps getting harder

I guess you could call this part two of “road to my masters”. Just me being honest here. I got another update on the graduate program I’ve been trying to apply to for very close to two years now. Here’s the next update: Thanks, as always, for all the support, Ashleigh

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okay, that was a lot, but yeah, that’s what’s going on.

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So, I get to start at least two courses this month (the start of the Australian semester) and they sound incredible i’m so excited! and then if I’m still unable to get into Australia by July (fingers crossed I’ll be able to), there are some courses lined up for me that I would be able to take second semester this year. so it’s been a rollercoaster of yes and no’s, ups and downs, and LOTS of anxiety.

Sadly the rollercoaster is far from over but I am so thrilled to say that I will FINALLY be able to start my masters this month. WOW.

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I ALSO filmed a full video update going more in detail into all of this and I will be posting that later this week!

As always thank you SO much for all of your support,

Lots of love,

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An emotional chat with my masters professor

Here is an update to my post yesterday so check that out here first!

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My call with my professor last night went more somber than i ever thought was possible. I’m feeling much better today than I was yesterday.

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Basically, it’s up in the air if i can even start my masters online since the degree is a lot of lab and field work (which i knew but I was under the impression that it was still possible to start online). I was recommended to think if i even still wanted to continue with the degree I’ve been fighting for THREE years now. I was asked to think about if i was to defer my enrollment, pushing this mess back even more time + can i just say I am so sick of all of this “pushing back”?? I know i’m very much not alone but seriously. all our lives have been on pause for a year now.

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So as I already felt so anxious and like the biggest turd for it taking three years for me to even get into a masters program, now no one know if I’ll even be able to start it. so my mind is beyond in the gutter. I’m questioning everything and anything about my life. I’ll be okay, just an update there.

I emailed my professor back and mentioned that I still want to continue on with my degree the best I can online.


I’m most active over on my Instagram so check that out!

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Lots of love,

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Starting Graduate School Online – An update – it’s been too long

Hello!

Long time no real talk. I apologize for that! I guess I haven’t really felt I had anything interesting to really post about. After everything with the holidays and my family my mind has been overall great, but still all over. More than anything, my first graduate school semester is creeping up.

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With Australian International borders still being very much closed, my graduate school degree will be starting online. I’ve thankfully come to terms with although this isn’t an ideal situation, I understand it’s out of my control. Thankfully this newish degree (not the one I originally applied for back in June 2020, but both degrees are within the same department) is able to start some courses online. The Australian semester starts end of February so I still have some time to mentally prepare for that.

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Actually this week’s graduate school saga has mainly been focused on enrolling in my courses. I attempted to earlier in the week but when I went to actually enroll it said the courses were only available in person… soooo….

I reached out to the professor I’ve been in contact with over there and we are thankfully chatting tonight. I’m hoping the chat will really sort out the jumbled mess that is my brain right now haha. I’m like will my classes be live? will I need to become a night owl to take them with the time difference? do I need any textbooks? are academic advisors a thing in Australia? I have so many questions.

I also have been struggling to come up with helpful, worthwhile content on here. Last year it was a bit easier as I could post about a bunch of past trips and such that I’ve been on. With the pandemic still being full force, I barely have left the 20 mile radius around me.

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I’ve been really enjoying slower mornings. The pandemic really opened myself up to them. I’ve been still loving my pour over coffee at home and of course my cat. I hope all of you have been well!

Lots of love,

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Emo International Masters Update – this keeps getting harder

I guess you could call this part two of “road to my masters”. Just me being honest here.

I got another update on the graduate program I’ve been trying to apply to for very close to two years now.

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Here’s the next update:

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Thanks, as always, for all the support,

Ashleigh

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My Entire Graduate School Journey + Updates

I decided to finally sit down and lay my entire masters journey out. Check out the video below (it’s a long one) while maybe sipping on a nice cup of coffee. I really wanted to create a cohesive bit with everything from how I got into marine science, how I chose my masters program and hopefully where I’ll be going from here.

*spoiler alert* there were A LOT of bumps in the road and there will continue to be – especially If you’ve read this post.

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I go into detail about my post graduate journey and what I’ve had to go through trying to get into a masters program for marine science research. This is what my undergraduate degree did not teach me and what I wish it did!

Grab a coffee and listen to me start with my college journey from the very beginning and hopefully where I will be going in the future. With my marine science background I get into how I decided on my college major and what pushed me to pursue a masters degree.

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Thanks for coming along on the ride!

Lots of love,

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LIFE UPDATES! EXCITING FUTURE PLANS

I haven’t done a life update since this, where I went into a lot of detail with my future graduate school plans in Australia.

So if you haven’t read that, or haven’t been keeping up with me over on my instagram, then head here to get more of a back story on what I’m about to get into.

Gold star to those who have been keeping up with me and my life.

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Before we get into the exciting graduate school update,

What have I been up to the last month?

I live in New Jersey in the States and we have been one of the worst states with virus cases due to the close proximity to New York City. So I have been on lockdown since March 16th I think… super close to THREE MONTHS!

There have been some positives to all of this mess, I’ve gotten to spend a lot more time with my cat, my parents and my brother (I go into this a lot more here). I’ve also gotten the time to really reflect on myself and my values and how I want to be a better friend to myself. Increasing my self awareness has really helped with that!

Has quarantine given you a lot of time to self reflect?

Besides family time & self reflection I really haven’t done a terrible amount. I have been working on this blog a lot over on pinterest and also trying to keep up with all my content over on my instagram. There’s been some baking here and there, ooo and some Chloe Ting workouts!!!! fun stuff!!

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Okay, now for the exciting part.


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My Masters Degree Plan

As I’m sure so many of you can relate, the virus has altered my future and left a lot of unknowns.

Last I spoke to you guys over here I mentioned that the original plan (as of early March 2020) was to move to Tasmania, Australia this coming July to start my two years masters program by research. Of course with the current state of the world and the endless border closures/travel restrictions, there is a slight hold on all of it.

soooo how is the virus altering plans exciting you might ask?

Well, it’s not. The exciting part is that with all of the extra time I’ve had, I’ve been able to finalize my research proposal and officially SUBMIT IT to the university in Australia. This research proposal was the FINAL step to submitting my application.

This application process was super weird to me where I technically got accepted to the university in Australia last year where I was told I qualified for this degree program. But once you qualify, the next step is teaming up with a professor to be your research supervisor. Once doing that, the student (that’s me!) comes up with the research plan from scratch! My proposed supervisor, of course, helped me but it was all on me to decide what specifically I wanted to research.

If you’re familiar with the scientific research world at all, it is very rare for a student who is fresh out of their undergraduate to get to specifically propose the research they want to carry out. Typically, especially with masters programs here in the States, the student will just tag along with an already existing project that the supervisor has already planned out.

So, for example, my back up plan was to work with a professor out at a university out in California and create a masters thesis with a data set that was already predetermined. It would have been a great opportunity, and a full ride scholarship, but at the end of the day it wasn’t what I was specifically interested in researching. In Australia, and I’m almost positive New Zealand too (correct me if I’m wrong), I was told we get to choose what we want to research and from there determine if it’s feasible.

So last year I was asked:

what do YOU want to research? what are YOU interested in?

& immediately I was so overwhelmed, yet so grateful. So grateful to feel trusted and capable of creating a two year full funded research project from scratch.

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Okay, okay, I’ve completed my application and I get to come up with my own project. What does that exactly entail?


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To sum it up:

My plan is to research the baseline thermal physiology of Australian fur seals using infrared thermography. We will be using infrared thermography (heat cameras) to see how heat is transferred around their bodies in their natural habitat.

At the moment, there is barely anything known on how Australian fur seals react to thermal stress. This becomes increasingly important with the growing need of answers due to climate change. In order to predict how our ecosystems will be altered in the future, we need to first understand how it is in their natural environment.

The hope is that Australia will open their border to international students by September (as the Australian economy really depends on us for their economy) and go from there. Of course nothing is certain, but I’m hopeful that I will be able to move to Tasmania by September the latest. This could work out as the Australian fur seal breeding season (so when I will be collecting data in the field) wouldn’t be till October anyway. Even if I can’t get into Australia by then, we have multiple backup plans (which really helps with my anxiety).

I hope that made sense.

I have a couple more mini life updates, but I didn’t want this post to be 2098092 paragraphs long as I could really talk forever.

Thanks so much if you read all that, I know it was a lot of words. I’m sorry to anyone who has had their future altered due to this pandemic mess. It’s a hard one.

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keep updated

with me on my journey

Moving to Tasmania for Grad School: why Tasmania?

I mentioned I was going to do this sort of explanation post here and this is inspired by my explanation of why I chose New Zealand to study abroad here.

Quick back story: I graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelors in Marine Science (concentration in marine biology if that matters) last May. The last (almost) year I’ve been living home saving up and waiting to head to graduate school to get my masters.

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Okay now that we’re caught up let’s get to why Tasmania out of all places.

The story starts back in October 2018, my fall semester of my senior year of college. About this time is when I knew for sure I wanted to go get my masters in marine research and I sort of had an idea on what kind of research. I sent out emails to maybe 30 different professors all around the world asking if they had any room in their labs for a masters student. Over the course of couple months, probably over 100 emails including circling back to different people, I heard back from a couple professors.

Along the lines of me wanting to move to NZ for a semester (here) , moving to another country or across the world was definitely in the question for me. When researching what professors to reach out to, I was the most interested in the poles (Arctic & Antarctic). I always had a fascination with the colder, more desolate places (hence, me vacationing to Alaska almost every summer with my family growing up). Those areas were almost always the least studied, and had the most questions to be answered. Furthermore with climate change and all that jazz, the poles are going to be the first regions to be severely affected.

I became determined to research in the regions that still had so many unknowns. I want to conduct my own research that will make a difference in the world (cheesy but true).

Okay, so now we know the cold areas are the way to go, but why Tasmania, Australia then?

Amidst searching for professors to contact, and going through insanely cool publications, I came across the University of Tasmania. For those who are unsure (it’s ok if you are), Tasmania is an island state of Australia. The University of Tasmania has research connections to Antarctica.

How much more cold and desolate could you get than Antarctica?

Many professors in their Marine and Antarctic research department have conducted their very own research in Antarctica, and also have contributed to many publications surrounding extremely interesting topics.

More specifically, the interesting topics they conducted research on was seals. I have grown an extreme love and fascination for seals. It grew especially when I had the insane opportunity to be a summer intern up in Alaska and take care of harbor seal pups and sea otter pups. It’s still insane to me that I got to do that as a freshman in college, a time when I was so naive.

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*these are New Zealand fur seals i saw in Kaikoura, NZ*

Anyway, go past me! wooo!! I came across a few professors at the University of Tasmania who did research on seals, sea lions, penguins, etc. all around Australia, NZ, Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic Islands.

Not only with seals, but will many many organisms, not much is known on how they are, or will, cope with climate change (the rising temperatures, increased storms, etc). Which creates an even bigger need for scientists to have some fun in some and figure it all out. Because if we don’t know, or can’t predict how organisms will cope to the change, we could very easily screw up every ecosystem in existence (dramatic but true).

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So long story short: I have been talking with a professor at the University of Tasmania since October 2018 about conducting my masters degree in Marine & Antarctic research alongside her. More recently we’ve determined that for accessibility purposes it would make the most sense to start researching Australian fur seals in my first year of my masters. Then, in my second year of research, depending on the results of the first round of data, maybe include other species too. It’s taken this long to figure out everything because….

  1. If I want to research seals in the Southern Hemisphere (specifically Australian fur seals), their breeding season, aka their most active time of the year, is in October
  2. It makes the most sense to start my degree at the beginning of semester & Aus/NZ semesters are not Spring/Fall they are semester’s 1 & 2. Semester 1 starts around Feb and semester 2 starts around July.
  3. I wanted enough time before the seal breeding season starts to prep my methodology and background
  4. I needed enough time after I graduated from my undergrad in May 2019 to get a student visa and move across the world
  5. I wanted enough time to breathe

*breathe*

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Hence, I will hopefully still be starting my Masters by Research in Tasmania at the start of their semester 2 this coming July. I am planning to research the baseline thermal physiology of Australian fur seals and maybe their heat flux. –> So how they handle temperature changes & heat, how they produce it, how they get rid of it and how they cope with it.

I think this is the most cohesive way I’ve ever explained all this so gold star for me! I hope this makes sense.

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