Congrats! You have been accepted to graduate school! So what’s next? Are you ready for your classes to begin? How will you balance life, work and graduate school? It’s time to prepare. Follow these steps to ensure success as you enter into life as a graduate student.
The first step to acknowledge that life will change once your graduate classes begin. It actually may have already changed without you noticing. The financial stress and time demands of graduate school can cause a shift in priorities as you try to balance it with life and work. Not only will class time and homework change your day-to-day schedule, but it will also become a new priority for you. By acknowledging the challenges that graduate school brings, you can identify the areas that will be most affected during this time.
Next, it’s time to start talking with those who will also be impacted. A good place to start is with your family and loved ones. Your close personal relationships will be impacted by the demands of graduate school. By starting the conversations now, you can talk about the support you will need during this time and the specific ways your relationship will be impacted. Another person to talk with is your employer. Just as your personal relationships, your work may be impacted by your graduate school endeavors. Ask for a meeting with your boss to discuss the impact of graduate school on your work schedule and the support you may need to help balance your work responsibilities with graduate school.
As you discuss the impact of graduate school on your life and work, you can put in place some strategies to help you succeed in balancing it all.
• Make the most of your time, find ways to use your work projects as part of your school projects and create a study group to help with sharing notes and preparing for exams.
• Prioritize spending time with your family, block time on your daily schedule to intentionally connect with your loved ones such as family meals or a designated unplugged hour.
• Make time for school work, devote some work vacation days to school projects and studying for big exams.
It is possible to successfully balance life, work and graduate school. There will be some compromises along the way and the planning you do now will help you navigate the upcoming challenges. And soon enough, you will graduate! Good Luck!