Sometimes Coffee Isn’t Enough

There is a simple explanation for my lack of frequents posts, and it is simply this: Grad school is hard.

I’m sure that all of my peers are feeling the same squeeze on time that I am–those late nights trying to finish your reading, having to decide which class will require you to be able to thoroughly discuss a book rather than just give your ‘impressions’  and then finishing that book while getting only about 50 pages into the other (and then feeling horrible about leaving a book unfinished).

Then there are the classes that require reading responses (to spur conversation, of course) or even workshop with the three stories and novel on top of that, plus readings and networking…

Oh, and on top of all that–don’t forget to write and revise a book-length thesis and read with full comprehension 50 books, all by your defense date.

That is just general graduate school busy. Others have to teach 1-2 classes which involves grading, class time and office hours. Or others, like myself, support our graduate school habits with a part-time job or internship. So on top of everything that is expected of you in grad school, there is always something else on top of that.

But it is possible to survive this, and this is how:

1) Prioritizing. I don’t love this advice, but it’s honest. If I can discuss a book or complete and assignment without reading the entire book, I won’t bother finishing the book. I may go back later and read the rest, but it would be irresponsible of me to spend time that I could use for something more pressing, reading a book for an assignment I can or have already completed. Don’t spend time doing things you don’t have to. Again, I hate this–but sometimes getting it done is just more important.

2) To Do Lists. I have about four To-Do lists running right now. One has everything I need to do for school, one is the exact same except listed by priority. The third is a list of basic chores to do around the house. The fourth is a mix of reminders, work, and other school-related things that didn’t fit anywhere else. I am always rewriting them and keeping them neat. This is the only way to know what has to be done. And crossing things of the list feels fantastic.

2) Time Management. I watch about 1-2 hours of tv a week now, which is significantly less than the past few years in undergrad. I just don’t have the time to waste anymore. Find things you can cut out and watch your schedule open up.

3) Multitasking. Downtime between classes? Do homework. Lunch break at work? Do homework. Waiting on an important email? Get something else done. Idle time is wasted time.

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