Recent Posts

book cover for Grad School Life: Surviving and Thriving Beyond Coursework and Research by Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund. It shows a piles of papers behind the title, with a small potted plant on top of one stack, and the bottom half of the page covered in blue as if underwater

Book Update #5: Grad School Life: Publication Day is March 19, 2024 + Cover Reveal

Exciting news: I have a book cover and pub date! Plus, details on the rest of the book production process, receiving page proofs, and figuring out book promotion.
the little blue engine that could pulling the train of toys over the mountain

Book Update #4: Chugging Through Copyediting

How is a book edited and produced? Here what's happening with my book on the slow road to publication.
Jacqueline wearing a red dress smiling and holding a robot the size of a large pumpkin; the robot is fuzzy and red with blue stripes and blue plastic around its black and blue face

How I Built A Career From Strengths and Interests—And How Your Kids Can, Too

What will your kids do when they grow up? Who will they be? And how can you help them? The key: People build lives and careers out of what they love, not what they hate.
a book with its pages fanned out in the air reting atop three other thick volumes that are also open

Book Update #3: Revisions Complete, Entering Production!

I'm inching my book from idea to final product! Here's what the review and revision process was like, and my next steps as the book moves into production.
the cover of the book A Field Guide to Grad School by Jessica McCrory Calarco

Book Review: A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum by Jessica McCrory Calarco

To succeed as a grad student, you need to know lots of stuff that isn't explicitly taught. This stuff is 'the hidden curriculum'—and it's all explained in this book.
Jacqueline smiling, wearing glasses and a tshirt saying I <3 my, holding a blue dragonbot robot in front of a stripy background at the MIT Media Lab

How Do You Decide What Projects to Work On as a Scholar?

How do you know you're working on the right projects and not wasting your time? Here are ways to know whether you've taken on the right work, and ways to improve daily task management, too.
big green leaves on a thin branch in dappled sunlight

What Does it Mean to be a Scholar?

Drawing on the insights of a Ronin Institute Women IG+ discussion, I explore what ties us researchers and writers together. What makes a scholar a scholar? Is it a title, or a state of mind?
the cover of the book Is Graduate School Really for You? by Amanda I. Seligman, featuring a road splitting left and right with the title in a big yellow street sign above, and a person looking out of a stopped red car on the right road

Book Review: Is Graduate School Really for You? The Whos, Whats, Hows, and Whys of Pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. by Amanda I. Seligman

A practical, informative question-and-answer book about the culture, expectations, and experiences of graduate school.
the cover of the book A PhD Is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman

Book Review: A PhD Is Not Enough! A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman

While this book is a fast, easy read with straightforward advice, it also suffers a lack of depth and a datedness that diminish its helpfulness.
Four furry robots sitting around a wooden table inset with a tablet. From left to right, a red dragonbot, a blue dragonbot, a teddy bear robot, and a green dragonbot.

Why I Went to Graduate School

Ten years ago, I started grad school at the MIT Media Lab. Why'd I attend? Because it was going to be fun. Here's how I made that decision, and why you should consider the fun factor in your own decision-making.
a fancy pen resting on a lined spiral bound notebook

Book Update #2 (A Complete Manuscript!)

I've finished the first draft of my book on thriving in grad school while staying healthy and happy! Read about my writing process and the next steps: Feedback, reviews, and revisions.
book cover of Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

Book Review: Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide by Christoper Caterine

As billed, practical advice for both grad students and faculty on transitioning from academia to the wide world beyond—though it does leave a few things to be desired.
book cover of So what Are You Going to Do with That? by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

Book Review: "So what Are You Going to Do with That?" Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

A helpful book for anyone in the academy—grad student or faculty—who wants out!
a stack of books about graduate school

Book Update #1: Drafts, Notes, and Editing the Manuscript

I'm writing a book about thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Curious about my progress? Here's where I'm at this month.
the cover of the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Book Review: Designing Your Life: How To Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

How you can use a designer mindset and iterative improvement to build your way forward to a coherent, satisfying life.
silhouette of a person with arms outstretched on wintery day, in front of bare-limbed trees at sunset

Book Deal Announcement: #PhDone

I'm writing a book! Specifically, a pragmatic, up-to-date guide to thriving in graduate school while keeping a healthy personal life. Here's the scoop.
close up of an MIT brass rat class ring

Why I Left Full-Time Academia and What I Do Instead

A PhD doesn't mean you're stuck with a traditional academic career. Flexibility, family, freedom: Here's how and why I decided to take a different path.
pens on a small notebook in front of a computer and mouse

How I Manage Deadlines: 5 Ways to Keep Projects on Track

In college, I never pulled an all-nighter and often turned assignments in early. Here's how I did it—and how you can get better at managing projects, reduce stress, and never pull an all-nighter again.

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About

We're Jacqueline and Randy, a blogging duo with backgrounds in tech, robots, art, and writing, now raising our family in northern Idaho.

Our goal is to encourage deliberate choices, individual responsibility, and lifelong curiosity by sharing stories about our adventures in living, loving, and learning.

Learn more about us.


Connect:

whoo@deliberateowl.com

Start here

Curious about our life and journey? Here are some good places to start reading:

Jacqueline and Randy leaning their heads together smiling at the camera

A Blog About Education, Lifestyles, and Community

A brief history of how the Deliberate Owl came to be and why we're writing a blog about us, our lives, and how we're living out our values.
Priests in red and gold celebrate a traditional Latin Mass

Discovering the Traditional Catholic Mass

How I discovered the traditional Latin Mass a few years ago, why that discovery changed everything for me, and what was wrong with the Novus Ordo Masses I'd attended.