This week I will be completing my graduate program, which is overall very exciting, but at the same time what the hell am I going to do with all of my extra time?
I have gotten accustomed to having everything scheduled to the minute to make sure assignments are completed, time to study and research, work full time, get in my exercise, etc. I even started this blog while going through my graduate program like I didn't have enough on my plate. Since I will be completing my graduate degree I thought I would share with all how I did it.
No Life! Just kidding I still had a life but it wasn't as spontaneous anymore. As I stated I had to plan everything to the minute and that was a little tough with my S.O. who is extremely spontaneous. I had to have a talk with my family members and friends about my schedule. Yes they would get disappointed about me saying no all the time, I even stopped getting invited to things. But I needed those who loved me to respect me and to understand that my education goals needed my full attention. As I'm reaching the end I am messaging all friends and family and letting them know I am free and want to see them. Full days with those I love! I'm super excited.
Stay Organized. This may seem obvious, and should honestly be the first point. Get a planner or use your phone to organize your commitments. I personally like writing it down because of the visual aspect and I honestly just started putting everything in my phone, it's weird and I can't see everything at once. Keeping your commitments written down will allow you to organize everything else around it and even set you up mentally for the week or day. It may drive you crazy at first when plans with others change last minute, but look at it as an opportunity or a blessing in disguise. Go at it this way, if you have some work that can be carried with you, do so, so that way if there is any kind of delay you're not postponing any work you had planned later in the day. Also part of this, don't over promise. If you can't make food for a potluck or host something, speak up you don't need the added stress.
Schedule time for yourself. I cannot stress this enough, I wish I could yell this off a mountain or whisper it in your ear daily (maybe a little creepy). If you don't focus on yourself or give yourself a mental break you will get burned out. You can't put all of your focus on something without being taken care of. This one took me a long time to figure out. I would push myself day after day until I was in tears. I started scheduling appointments with myself, yes, I literally blocked an hour for myself either in between tasks or during to give me that break. I would do various things like exercise, go for a walk, or even just be lazy. There were some days that I just wanted to snack and watch an episode of Friends.
Find your limits. In the previous point I stated that I pushed myself to the point of tears. I didn't give myself a break and it took me longer than desired to find my limits/breaking point. I gave myself more realistic timelines as well as a continuing to-do list. I couldn't prepare for everything, so I made sure I put the more important items at the top of the to-do list so if anything needed to be transferred over to the next day it would be okay.
My four pointers have definitely helped me through my graduate degree. It wasn't all rainbows, there were definitely tears, but above all I survived. Use these points as a starting point and create your own method. If you make it your own you'll be more than likely able to follow it.
I'm ending my graduate degree with a cruise to the Bahamas. We leave this upcoming Saturday! I can't wait to share this adventure with you all!