If you could boil it down to one thing, what has been the most helpful advice you can offer that helps you feel balanced with school life, content creation, and taking care of yourself/spending time with friends and family?

Balance is so important! I have found it helpful to block out time for taking care of myself, spending time with friends and family, and content creation. If I allocate time for these things at the start of the week, I find I stay more on task to finish my school work. Doing these things outside of school helps me recharge. When I feel particularly burnt out I will stop and do something else such as spend time with friends and family, workout, or do something for the blog.

What lessons have you learned from your journey thus far that has surprised you the most?

Just when you think you have control over what you are doing, you quickly find out that you don’t.  Medicine and science are about always putting yourself out of your comfort zone. You are either talking to a patient with very limited knowledge about what disease they could have, or you’re running experiments based on many assumptions you are making. Medical and graduate school have taught me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It may sound silly, but it is such a valuable lesson. I constantly remind myself when experiments, presentations, exams etc. do not go as predicted that medicine and science are still a mystery in almost every aspect and that even though something might make logical sense it might not be true biology! Reminding myself of this prevents me from seeing errors as failures but rather as learning moments in my path to becoming close to understanding and treating human physiology.

What message do you wish to impart on those that want to follow in your footsteps and embark on the PhD/MD journey?

We need more MD-PhDs, especially women and other underrepresented groups! The bridge between medicine and science is an exciting area with so much possibility for discovery in so many different fields. If you are interested in becoming a physician-scientist do not give up! It is the effort each day that makes the difference, so keep going, strive to be better, and you will be able to achieve your goals.


What compelled you to go back to school? Why now?

Working at the bedside taught me that I want to get on the front lines of healthcare to empower patients through preventative education and treatment before they end up at the hospital. I have witnessed so many patients experience the same chronic health issues because of the lack of holistic primary care and I know this can be changed. I pursued my Nursing degree knowing I wanted to be an Advanced Practice Provider and after my experience at the bedside, and I truly believe that it is my calling. It’s a good time now because I believe there will never be a perfect time. I want to start now, get involved now, and stop putting it aside out of fear of not being ‘good enough’ or of what others may think. 

What is your best advice for someone that is spinning many plates- work, leisure, family time, school, social media, etc.?

There is no such thing as balance. Stop looking for how other people ‘balance it all’. You have to find what works for you. Wearing many hats is difficult, you’re being stretched in so many ways, but it’s because you have so much to offer to your community, others, and the world. Take a step back when you feel overwhelmed and prioritize what is important to you in that moment, that week, that year, or that decade. Then balance will find you, because you have identified what is most deserving of your time.

What message do you wish to impart on those that want to follow in your footsteps and become a nurse and/or nurse practitioner?

It requires discipline and self-sacrifice. After all, you are in the career of putting others before yourself. However, this does not mean that you give up on yourself completely or give your life to your hospital, your job title, or your patients. Your patients need you to take care of yourself first and foremost, so that you can be attentive, caring, and present. Don’t fall into the trap of romanticizing the medical field for the sake of your patient. You deserve your lunch break, you deserve a raise, and you deserve to take care of yourself. Advocating for your patients is important, but who is going to advocate for you if you don’t advocate for yourself? When it feels like too much, take a step back and remind yourself that if you’re doing your best then that’s simply enough.


What compelled you to choose occupational therapy as a career?

There are so many reasons I chose to pursue occupational therapy. It encompasses creativity, psychology, and the sciences–areas I am very passionate about. The deeper I dive into the material each semester, I get even more excited that I chose to pursue a career where I get to combine my interests with helping others. I enjoy the holistic perspective/approach to help individuals get back to their meaningful occupations whether that includes self-care, play, leisure, work, or education.  Also, the possibilities are endless. I get to work in a variety of settings ranging from pediatrics, mental health, adult rehab, hospitals, hand therapy, and school settings. Currently, I’m interested in pursuing mental health or pediatrics.

What has been the biggest reward and biggest challenge in balancing being a grad student and your food blogging?

Food blogging is one of my passions, and I love sharing insights and everyday eats with my audience. It’s a way for me to step away from the stresses of graduate school and focus on something I truly enjoy. Cooking and baking is my favorite leisure activity and one of my favorite ways to balance my weekly schedule. At the beginning of the program, I tried hard to post every day and keep up with blogging; however, it was challenging so I had to take a step back to focus on my studies. It’s definitely overwhelming at times, but balancing the two has become easier when I started to place less pressure on myself to master it all. 

What message do you wish to impart on those that are multi-hyphenate and want to pursue more than one passion as a healthcare professional, but don’t know where to start?

Just do it! Quit thinking about it, and take small steps to begin pursuing your passions. It won’t be an easy journey and, like everything, challenges will arise and emotions will be tested, but that is where the growth happens. It has helped me become aware of how much I can handle and how much I may have to let go. Also, talk to others who have delved into what you’re interested in. Speak to them about the time commitment and overall just be realistic with your goals. Having a mentor or friend to support you through the process is always beneficial as well!



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