Graduate school requires a lot of studying, reading, researching, and writing! I am currently finishing my first year as a graduate student so I can relate to the struggle of balancing work, studying, and life in general. Though you will most likely be taking fewer courses as a grad student than you did as an undergrad, be prepared to have less leisure time than ever before! The core of your graduate research and work will take place outside of the classroom. If you plan to work while going to school, your time management skills will definitely be tested, but don’t worry, we’re here to help!
Here are a few things to consider in order maintain a work-study-life balance as a graduate student and full time worker:
1. Consider the flexibility of your employer and graduate program.
Believe me on this one! There are bound to be times when you’ll have sudden demands to make changes in your work schedule in order to deal with school-related obligations. It’s important to have open communication with your boss about your graduate study plans as early as possible. Similarly, choosing a graduate program that will accommodate some of the requirements of your work will also make a huge difference in your time management. I highly recommend researching schools that offer worker-friendly programs with evening or weekend classes, online courses, and part-time options!
2. Use time management strategies that work for you.
Time management and organization tips are not a one-size fits all kind of deal. Find the best times and settings that work for you. I find that it’s easier for me to grasp what I read in the mornings. I also need a change of pace at times, so I go to local coffee shops as well as different libraries when I need to leave the distractions of home. I’m also forgetful when stressed and find that it’s easier to accomplish things when I schedule every assignment out in my planner (this includes work projects). There are other students, however, who are completely different than I am and still do well. You have to know what works for you and, most importantly, be honest with yourself and your expectations.
3. Set realistic expectations of yourself.
Set your goals and align your priorities in the very beginning of each semester. Remember that even if you were an honor student in your undergrad, you may find it to be more of a challenge to achieve a 4.0 while working full time. You don’t want to burn out early on in the semester! Make sure to figure out a schedule that works, set your priorities, and that you have support at home and work early on.
4. Keep your eye on the prize.
The main key to succeeding in graduate school while balancing work is keeping your eye on the prize. Never forget about your goals and the reason you decided to further your education and future career opportunities in the first place. If you need help preparing for graduate school, I highly recommend checking out our GMAT Prep course, GRE Prep course, as well as Time Management course. Ed2go is here to help you advance in all aspects of your education and career endeavors!