Why we need to raise awareness and learn to identify risk markers.

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Femicide: “The killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.” — Oxford Languages definition

On the 11th of February 2021, Magali Blandin, a French instructor, aged 42 years old, suddenly went missing. A few months before disappearing, Magali had decided to divorce Jérôme, her husband and the father of her four children, and had moved out of the house.

“The worse is not knowing where Magali is”*—Jérôme Gaillard, Magali’s husband, on the days she was missing

The authorities looked for Magali for weeks, before Jérôme finally confessed. …


Navigating the maze of limitless possibilities

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“What if I had done it differently?”

Who never asked themselves this question?

More often than not, I wonder if I took the right decisions. Do I really want to work in research? Did I make the right choice starting a Ph.D.? Was it worth it to move out of the city where my family and friends are living? Do I really like what I do? Every big decision seems to come with its load of doubt. “Maybe I should have studied medicine instead of computer science.”

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be…


The standard is that there is no standard.

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Following society’s conventions, I am just a common woman. I am not gorgeous.

Like many teenagers back in high school, I used to be obsessed with how I looked. “My ears are too big”, “I have too much acne”.

Then in the first years at the university, it didn’t improve much. I studied computer science, so I was part of the 20% or less of girls there. Many of the boys’ comments about women were strongly focused on the socially constructed ideas of beauty. I won’t go into details, but many comments were even disrespectful.

In the first year at…


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Hint — it’s not about being grateful for what you have.

“Be grateful for what you have” might be a lesson, but it’s not the point here. I know how irritating it can be when people throw that at other people’s faces, along with a “there is always someone worse off”—a soft way to imply, “stop complaining”.

It is true, yet we all have our own battles to fight and we should not compare them with anyone’s. Maybe this comparison contributes in some way to us feeling embarrassed when facing socially excluded people, pushing us to ignore homeless persons in the street. Yet many of them have a lot to teach…


But I had simply become more self-aware.

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A few weeks ago, it felt like I was looking at a different person in the mirror. I was not acting the way I used to before.

I had heavy workweeks. Focusing on my Ph.D. project took more than the supposed 40 hours of work per week —not surprisingly. On top of it, the doctoral classes required around 20 additional hours each week. After a few weeks, I was close to burnout. Yet little by little, I stopped complaining and started to prioritize better. I got rid of unessential tasks, and most of all, got things done without “whining”.

In…


Friday Prompt: At what point are you good enough? When are you self-improved enough to accept yourself?

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We begin our life journey with 20ish years of ongoing learning, studying, growing — both physically and personally. While teachers encourage us to be more attentive and improve our grades, parents try their best to make us improve our attitude. Throughout these years, our surroundings push us to focus on self-improvement, self-growth, and personal development at the same time. They just don’t put specific words on it.

When Googling self-improvement, the first proposed definition refers to it as “the improvement of one’s knowledge, status, or character by one’s own efforts”. …


Friday prompt — “You were born to create”

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The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the verb “to create is “to make something new, or invent something”. “Creativity” thus simply refers to the ability to do so.

We tend to relate these words with artistic activities such as painting, playing music, writing. But if being able to create involves being artistic, then we’re all artists in some way.

As a matter of fact, our lives started from creation. Then, even before being born, we had already created all sorts of emotions in the people around us. Hope, happiness, joy, fear, and so on.

At school, we started out as artists…


“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”—Oscar Wilde

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There was a time I was more worried about being alone than committed to being a true friend.

I was only around fifteen at the time, but I remember how it hurt my friends when I let them down. At that time I would have done anything not to eat alone in the cafeteria of our school. I was too preoccupied with what others thought.

Ten years later, I still feel embarrassed to have let my friends down. I’m ashamed of myself for having been a shitty friend at some point in my early teenage years.

I’ve also been a…


Trying to figure out how to deal with being repeatedly disappointed by people’s actions.

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When I was a teenager, I couldn’t understand why my dad would always see evil all around.

He’s always been a joyous and funny guy, but when it comes to trusting someone, he is extremely cautious, even suspicious.

“Be careful who you lend your money to.”

“I don’t trust this friend of yours. You shouldn’t either.”

“I don’t want you to sleep at your friend’s. I don’t know her.”

“Don’t be too kind to people. They will take advantage of it.”

As a teenager or college student, I found it easy to give my trust to someone.

I would meet…

Mariana Gls

Curious mind trying to have an impact on some people | Ph.D. student | she/her

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