Featured Day in the Life of: Rachel, PhD student researching consumer apparel and retail.

Hi there! My name is Rachel Rose and I am a second-year PhD student in consumer, apparel, and retail studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My research focuses on the intersection of sport and apparel, and specifically considers the consumption behavior of collegiate athletes. I also serve as an academic advisor for our department!

I recently started a blog and Instagram page (@phdlooks) to help friends and family understand the daily life of being a PhD student. It has been a lot tougher than I expected and I have found that being transparent has made it just a little bit easier. It is comforting to know others are out there experiencing the same things! Feel free to follow along as I share my passions of apparel, sport, and education.


Whoops! Slept in about 20 minutes longer than I wanted to! However, I love Tuesdays and Thursdays because I’ll be on time as long as I’m up by 7am! Also- weighted blankets are incredible! I just got this one and I have been sleeping so much better!


The first thing I do every single morning before I leave the comfort of my own bed is play the New York Time’s mini crossword puzzle! I love games/puzzles and so does my entire family. Not only is it a great way to get my mind started for the day, but it is also a reminder of my family in Indiana! My daily goal is to finish in under one minute! Some days are tougher than others!


As an apparel PhD student, it is no surprise that my favorite part of the day is getting dressed! I typically pick out my outfits for the week on Saturday or Sunday. On a graduate student budget, it can be difficult to invest in your closet, so most of my pieces have been purchased secondhand!


This semester I am taking courses at two different schools. So, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I drive one hour to my second (visiting) campus! The only way I survive is with caffeine, a quick car breakfast, and my favorite podcast, Absolutely Not. It’s hosted by Heather McMahan, and she is hilarious. I can’t wait to see her on tour next week in Charlotte! It’s always nice to have a good laugh during my commute.


I’m taking a sport law class on campus #2, and today we went to the Law Library, which allowed for a nice walk by some of the practice fields! This campus is absolutely gorgeous! I feel really lucky to have the chance to experience two different universities this semester. (Note the cloud from Dorian rolling in!)


I always enjoy Thursdays a bit more than Tuesdays, because I do not have to rush back to a class at 2pm on campus #1 (home). Instead, I come back to my office and eat lunch there! I try to eat salads for lunch since my breakfasts are not always healthy. This salad is just mixed greens, grilled chicken, shredded cheese, and some craisins with balsamic vinaigrette. As a grad student we always multi-task, so I often answer emails while I have lunch.


This year I am President of our graduate student organization and today was our first meeting at 3pm. We try to keep meetings under one hour since everyone is busy- mission accomplished today. Unfortunately, our turnout was lower than expected and I am having a hard time getting members motivated to participate. As President, I am trying to rebuild the organization to its glory days, but am feeling defeated after a general lack of interest. With that said, a few of my colleagues (fellow grad students) are incredible, and there is no way I’d survive without them. They are brilliant and kind and I couldn’t ask for a better (Ph)amily.


After our meeting, I spent about 30 minutes finishing up some work. For my assistantship work I serve as an academic advisor, so interacting with students in person, and via email is always a big part of my day. I left around 4pm though because the weather was expected to worsen due to Hurricane Dorian, and I wanted to catch the bus before it started raining! Fun fact – Our university does not have special parking passes for graduate students, and I cannot afford the fancy student pass on a graduate student budget, so I ride the bus with the undergraduate students. Riding at 4pm was much better than riding at 5pm though, because at 5pm I usually end up standing!


Despite a late lunch, I was feeling hungry when I got home, so I decided to start on dinner. I received a 50% off coupon for Home Chef, so I’m trying it for a week to see if I like it! Since tonight is the first night of the NFL season, I decided to try out the “Parmesan Ranch Sliders with Apple Slaw.” Burgers seemed appropriate for game night and they seemed easy enough. I have a shrimp fajita risotto and a pork potato stew for the weekend.


I might be able to multi-task at work, but perhaps not as well with cooking. I forgot the buns as I was toasting them, and they completely burned. My apartment was a little smoky afterward. Despite being a bit disappointed, I reminded myself sliders can be eaten without buns!


The finished product turned out really well- minus the buns. The slaw was a bit sweeter than I would like personally, but the sliders were great and so was the sour cream dill sauce for the burgers. In my opinion, it was filling and worth the time/money. With the coupon I paid about $10 per meal for three meals that feed two people. In theory I hope to have six meals, since I’m cooking for one.


After dinner, dishes, and a little swiping on dating apps, I changed clothing to head to the gym. I’m not a gym rat, and I still get winded climbing five flights of stairs, but I love the feeling of doing something physical after a mentally taxing day. Luckily, I live down the road from my gym, so it’s fairly easy to spend 30-45 minutes there. This semester I have made it a priority and it’s really improving my mental health and overall outlook on life. I underestimated the toll a PhD program would take on me and I’m working to get back what I lost my first year.


I study the intersection of apparel and sport, so I often have a sporting event on while I’m working. I’m a fan of most sports, but I absolutely love NFL football. Tonight, was the season opener, so I was excited to watch. My team doesn’t play until Monday night which allowed me to focus more on schoolwork. I’m learning a new (to me) statistical program, and it’s challenging me in unexpected ways. I also worked on a case brief for my law class where I’m looking at Title IX.


Living in North Carolina, I have learned that hurricane season is real, and it is difficult to watch the devastation that occurs only a few hours east on the coast. In my area, we received minimal rain, but the wind was significant. Hurricane Dorian did take a toll on the Bahamas and the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas. If you have the means, donations are greatly needed in the Bahamas. Here is a great list of organizations accepting donations – https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/hurricane-dorian-aid-how-to-donate-to-rescue-relief-and-recovery-in-the-bahamas/2019/09/05/903ba688-cff4-11e9-a620-0a91656d7db6_story.html?noredirect=on


Just as many other millennials, I typically end the day in bed with a little Netflix. More so lately, I have also been incorporating time to read for fun. I love a good romance novel and I recently started this one given to me by my mom. Every day I attempt to be asleep by around midnight if possible, and so I try to leave myself 20-30 minutes to read for nothing but fun. I have found it to be very relaxing. And on that note, sweet dreams digital universe!

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