Interview with Christine Streeter

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Christine Streeter

PhD Student in Social Work & Political Economy at Carleton University and Founder of Scholar Culture

What is your PhD about?

Well, I am a second-year PhD Student in the School of Social Work at Carleton University, so I am still figuring it all out. I just completed my course work and my next step is my qualifying examinations. After that, I will begin my research. My research uses a case study approach to critically explore how employment experiences are being shaped by current conditions of precarity for social work graduates, and the mainly women who make up the majority of the profession. This research will contribute to the dialogue on new public management and precarity in the public, not-for-profit and social service sector while seeking to improve conditions of work for the most vulnerable.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Now that I am done by course work, everything is about to change. But while I was in my courses, here is what a typical day looked like for me:

7:12 AM – Alarm was set for 7 AM but I snoozed of course – if you don’t snooze, are you even a real human?

7:25 AM – But first, coffee.

8:10 AM – Morning yoga and meditation. My favourite pose – feet up the wall. Allows my anxiety to settle and puts me in a good headspace for the day.

8:45 AM – What’s on the agenda today? Checking out my Trello board (see blog post on why I love Trello here)

10:00 AM – Getting in a good Instagram shot – lighting was on point. Oh, and another coffee of course.

11:11 AM – Homemade chicken noodle soup for lunch. I love making a big batch of this so I can eat it all week – why does soup make you feel so good?

11:45 AM – Off to my PhD Seminar (starting at 12:30 PM), have my trusty backpack with me, I love it – check it out more here 

2:53 PM – Leaving school and taking the O Train to get home

3:35 PM – Readings for my Theoretical Foundations course

8:30 PM – Dinner is served. Better late than never right? It actually took me 5 hours to get through a 12-page paper – yikes.

10:36 PM – Skype with my boyfriend who is in Toronto, while I am in Ottawa – long distance BLOWS

11:00 PM – Time to pass out – I have a bit of a headache, hoping this peppermint essential oil stick and a lavender eye mask will help! Sweet dreams.

What is your side hustle & why did you start it?

My side hustle is my blog ‘Scholar Culture’. I created Scholar Culture two years ago when I was accepted into my PhD. I didn’t know anyone else who had pursued a PhD and was looking for guidance. Ever since I have been sharing my journey on my blog and Instagram. One of the main things I have noticed in academia is that it can be soul crushing and sucking. As someone who tries to generally stay positive, I do not accept this destructive environment.

Scholar Culture aims to bring life back to the academic lifestyle. It recognizes the major structural and systemic issues with the academy such as a lack of mental health support and funding, as well as the rise of precarious jobs and advocates for changes in these areas. But Scholar Culture also provides tips on the academic lifestyle for grad students to stay healthy and bring happiness back into their work and life.

What advice would you give others looking at starting a side hustle?

If you are starting a side hustle, I have three pieces of advice:

1. Make sure you take on a side hustle that you absolutely love. If your side hustle aligns with your passion you will never work a day in your life. Just kidding, you will likely work even harder, but you will love it so much that it won’t matter!

2. Continuously check in with yourself. It’s so easy to take on a side hustle and push yourself to your edge. When we are passionate about something, we typically put our all into it. This has serious side effects on our mental, physical and emotional health. Check in with yourself and make sure to give yourself the love that you so freely give to others.

3. Just start. I was hesitant to start as soon as I started my PhD. I am a big perfectionist so I thought, “well I should see what the PhD is all about first”. I didn’t wait, I just went for it. Whatever you are sitting on right now, don’t wait for it to be perfect. Press go. It’s the only way to learn.

How can our readers find out more?

Learn more about Scholar Culture over on the blog at www.scholarculture.com or follow @ScholarCulture on Instagram for daily updates. Feel free to DM me on my Instagram or e-mail me christine@scholarculture.com – looking forward to connecting with all of you!  

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