The Great Compromise

By Christine Pitts

Over the past year I have learned a lot about time management, stress levels and the important of self-care while in graduate school. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I came into my second year as a student affairs graduate student with higher confidence in my abilities as a graduate student. This has made time management with self-care much easier than it was during my first year.

During my first year of graduate school I would get very stressed about one or two papers. A paper that was more than seven pages freaked me out and I would begin working on it weeks in advanced. In the grand scope of things, this was not necessarily a bad thing. My writing was not up to par, so by completing my papers, or drafts, early I could hand them in for critique. I think this aided in my writing becoming much stronger, as well as helped boost my confidence on writing. However, it left very little time for self-care. I was consumed by my work. This lead to burnout. Burnout had an emotional and physical impact on me. It took me an almost entire year to get this under control.

Now, as a second year student I joke often with my graduate school friends about how we can “bang out papers like it is nobody's business”. Seven page papers no longer scare me. As I write this blog I have eight papers due in the next three weeks, along with two projects. Yes, it is a lot, but it totally manageable. I’ve made a list of everything due and dates I want to have them completed. The dates I set to have them completed are not necessarily the due date of the assignment, but it helps me manage my time this way.

When managing my time I always work in self-care, too. Whether it is hanging out with friends, or making sure my Saturdays and Sundays are free for football. However, sometimes things don’t work out perfectly. Since I have a large sum of assignment due in the next few weeks I have official set up my station in the library. It is where I always get the most work done, because I can concentrate with little distractions. It is Saturday and there is Rutgers Football game on. Normally I would either be at the game or out with my alumni friends watching it. However, today the updates stream in the background of my computer as I write some papers in the library. It is a compromise that I have made as a graduate student.  

Student Affairs - the First Years

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