Blog Post by Leanna Patricio
“I should’ve always been in grad school! I love the readings, I love being in class and I like my classmates, too! What? Are full-time classes and work too much to handle at one time? Not at all, but ask me again in a few weeks and I’ll let you know!”
That was me during week one of the quarter.
The topic at that morning’s water cooler was my first day of grad school. Living the dream, I enthusiastically recounted the first night of class and I included every detail right down to the group discussions and readings. Realizing how excited and intense I might have been to the sleepy passersby at 8 o’clock in the morning, I toned it down and added that last bit about asking me again in a few weeks. And to be honest, I said it rather facetiously. I mean, how could anyone get tired of grad school?
Now, fast forward those few weeks and you find me tired, overwhelmed and not nearly as enthused as I was in that first week. What happened? Why was full-time work and grad school so bearable before? Basically, I had a reality check from a couple of old friends from undergrad: Mr. Time Management and Ms. Pace Yourself. After only a couple years since graduating with my bachelor’s I had already forgotten about those two dear friends and very important pieces to balancing my life.
You see, I was used to working 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Weeknights were spent on going to the gym and watching reality TV. Weekends were spent hanging out with friends and family, and lazily scrolling through strangers’ boards and pins on Pinterest in between folding laundry or cleaning. I had become quite comfortable with my version of the ultimate work/life balance, and once school started I was swiftly front-kicked off balance by adding three classes into the mix. I still thought I could do all of those things for the same amount of time in addition to doing my readings and assignments.
While this is still my first quarter in the program, the biggest lesson I’ve learned since starting grad school is understanding the value of time. No matter what we are doing beyond classes— be it work (full-time or part-time), GAships, hobbies or taking care of family— the key is spending time wisely and including some extra time for you. Take care of business and take care of yourself. We all have 24 hours in a day and so we’re never going to magically find the time to do everything, however; what we can do is evaluate all aspects of our lives in order to make time to do everything.
So I was walking down the hall at work the other day and a coworker stopped me and asked how classes were going. Less energized, but a little bit wiser, I told the coworker that things were still going great. I still love the readings, I still love being in class and I still like my classmates, too. The difference is that now I love doing all of those things during planned times. I go to work and go to school at designated times, do chores and clean up at designated times, and even scroll through Pinterest during designated times. At some points I feel like I can’t do everything I want to, or that there’s so much left to be done, but with every task that gets done I realize: I’m doing it.