Being in graduate school and also working at the same time has its many challenges, such as the daily internal conflict of convincing myself to just get out of bed when I am running on three hours of sleep and have twelve hours worth of work to finish. Meanwhile, when it is time for me to rest, my mind is on a constant recycle of planning for the next day instead of focusing on the very moment I am in.
I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take a step back and process my experiences, reactions, and obstacles and not just go off of my initial impulse. I have finished my first year of grad school with another to go, and in that time, I’ve learned three tips about balancing grad school and work.
Have a healthy diet and get enough sleep daily
Sleeping and eating well can contribute to having the energy and focus you need to productively navigate and complete the many tasks in line with your responsibilities. When you do not have a good balance with sleeping and your diet, these aspects can negatively affect your mood, increase your stress and anxiety levels, and your overall experience with obtaining a degree. The stress and anxiety if not under control will make you hate what you are doing and question your purpose in completing graduate school.
Have a plan for your degree
Know your purpose meaning once you earn your degree. Have a plan in mind of what you want to do with your knowledge. Having a strong sense of purpose in what you are doing will assist you in creating a work-life balance, because establishing your intentions will set you on a path for successfully completing your program. The focus you will have is on what you need to get through furthering your education. A solid foundation between your schooling and work will remove all hesitation, confusion, if ands or buts. If you are unsure of what you want, then this questioning will directly affect your efficiency.
Create a schedule
Follow through on all your commitments. A schedule will keep you on track and help prioritize what assignments need your attention first. Please keep in mind that you are not a robot and you cannot finish all your duties in one day. Last minute planning or doing assignments at the last minute are the kryptonite for you balancing school and work. Times will get hard but remember to keep a positive attitude and constantly remind yourself that your education is one of your greatest investments.
Graduate school and working at the same time will not last forever, so when times are tough, take this thought into consideration when you feel like throwing in the towel. You will not be in school forever, so get everything you need and do everything you dreamed of, such as an internship or studying abroad. The plan is to look back at your graduate experience and have absolutely no regrets. This is your present and future you are currently living in, so create your legacy and brand your empire through your education and work.