How to Survive Graduate School While Working

What’s with the disappearing blog act? Well, I learned that it’s difficult juggling grad school, a full-time job and life. To others that are about to embark on this same journey – congratulations! Your future selves will pat you on the back for investing in your career and passions, but first you have to make it through this lifestyle change. The following five steps will help you manage the transition and stay motivated to reach graduation day.

love-hate-homework

Invest time wisely by focusing on classes that help you grow.

Set expectations.
Ideally you already discussed schedule accommodations with your boss prior to applying. You should also inform friends and family that school is a new priority that will demand much of your time.  In addition, let them know they will play a critical support system role when you are tired or doubting the decision you made. Trust me.

Choose classes wisely.
Day of the week and location are important factors, but your class selection should be primarily driven by relevancy. You will be less motivated to participate in a class with no connection to your work or academic goals, even if it’s logistically convenient.

Follow a consistent schedule.
For your first couple weeks, experiment to see what schedule works best for you. Should you study after work at the office or do you need to go home and unwind before hitting the books? Do you prefer week nights or weekend afternoons? Find what schedule fits and stick to it.

humane-society-volunteer

Dog walking can be good for the mind, body and soul.

Take care of yourself.
Self-awareness may seem obvious, but people often forget during high-stress moments. Just be sure you get enough sleep, keep hydrated, stay active and set aside time for yourself. You work hard, and you should reward yourself with the occasional night off.

Continue living life.
I initially decided life stops until after I get my degree. No more volunteering, no getting engaged and no buying a house. I thought this would alleviate street and help me focus. It actually had the opposite effect, I felt as if I was standing still while those around me moved forward. I started volunteering again at the local humane society and am now planning a wedding for this fall.

These steps have helped me manage change, but did I miss something especially helpful for you? Please share your tips and advice in the comments section below. Good luck and happy studying!

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