Week 5: Work-Life Balance

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Monday, July 5, 2021


Gina Pantano

Hello everyone!

Unfortunately, with a busy week and the Fourth of July holiday, I did not have as much time to dedicate to writing my blog post this week. However, I wanted to share an important topic with you all that I have been struggling with, which is a healthy work-life balance. I have been finding myself the past week and a half in an unproductive sluggish state. I am struggling to work consecutive work hours, maintain motivation, and make progress on the data cube class for my project. I am having flashbacks to my Spring 2020 semester when the pandemic caused my classes to go completely online. I struggled significantly to find an efficient daily routine that worked for me. I tried creating my own office space, eliminating distractions, and scheduling breaks for myself. I even worked from local coffee shops just to have a change in scenery. However, similar to back then, I am finding myself lacking focus. This leads to a negative feedback loop of procrastinating in the day, and making up for lost time at night leaving no room for other activities. I know I can be a bit critical of myself at times, but I also know I am capable of accomplishing more. The past few days I have spent self-reflecting and setting up a better work routine for myself. I am finding consistency is really important! I have been trying to make it a habit to begin and end my workday at the same time which allows me to have time for myself and hobbies in the evening. I noticed I am a lot more motivated with having a dependable routine and knowing what to expect throughout the day! I am looking forward to having a productive week. I plan to arrange informational interviews with a few NASA employees to learn about their career journeys and establish connections with them. I am also excited to make progress on the data cube class after receiving advice from my mentor on Wednesday. 

Weekly Events

I had a relatively light week in terms of meetings. On Monday, I had my halfway check-in with Kayla where she got to meet my two baby kittens. Later on in the afternoon, I attended our biweekly collaboration meeting. I was excited to hear about Joseph’s progress with his internship project. Tuesday, I attended our weekly MKID meeting and a couple intern networking events. Wednesday, I had my weekly meeting with my mentor and Trevor. We talked about solutions to some of the questions I had with the data cube class and the next steps to take. Afterwards, I attended an agency-wide event for women in engineering which was awesome to hear about the panelists' individual experiences. Thursday, I had a few meetings before work with my scholarship and research advisors at USF for my NSF GRFP application. Later in the evening, I got to listen to one of my colleagues, Carrie Volpert, give advice on graduate school and life afterward for GSFC’s “What’s Next?” panel event. I was excited to learn that it's possible to take a semester or even a year off before starting graduate school for physics, which has been something weighing on my mind. Overall, I am looking forward to next week with the new routine I created for myself and hope I make more progress with my research project!

Happy researching,

Gina Pantano (she/her/hers)