And Everything Else

By Megan Reilly

As I’ve been traveling and seeing old friends and family over the holiday season, spanning Thanksgiving to New Years, I have got the same questions over and over again about how graduate school is going. I appreciate that people care and love sharing the good things in my life with the people I love.

The question usually is a simple but genuine “how is life?” and from me, it elicits a response along the lines of “oh you know, just busy with grad school, and everything else.” I’ve heard myself say that exact line more times than I can count.

When I caught myself saying it for the millionth time last week, I paused and asked myself exactly what I was including in the “everything else” I had so casually been mentioning. Because although grad school has kept me busy this past year, I wouldn’t say it alone consumes my life. I was done with all but one of my classes before Thanksgiving and only had one 2-hour exam in December. I only took one weekly class this semester and two smaller seminars that only met once for a weekend. So was it really grad school keeping me as crazy busy as I have been saying I am? No, it was definitely the “everything else.”

And by “everything else” I think I meant all of the other experiences and commitments that you slowly tack on because you want to get the most out of being a graduate student. I learned very early in my graduate school career that the golden ticket to meeting people or gaining new experiences or trying new things is that you are asking for things in the name of learning. No one is going to turn down a knowledge-thirsty grad student just DYING to learn. Because I learned this early on, I probably have bitten off a little more than I could chew in terms of commitments.

I’ll admit that fall semester was a tough one for me. Not academically at all, it was probably one of my easiest academic semesters ever, with the sole exception of my legal final which was worth exactly 100% of my semester grade. But it was tough in the sense that while balancing a full time job and three classes, I still had to make time to be a sorority advisor, to work on a potential publication, to create a poster to present at NASPA in March, to create college resource guides for a local nonprofit that helps teen parents go to college, to build my network by meeting with people I had met at conferences, to plan events for my cohort as an executive board member on the higher ed student association group, to be a graduate ambassador by planning events for all graduate students at the university, to be an international student mentor, AND to write a weekly blog post for this blog (which is my favorite on the “everything else” list!). Oh, and in the meantime, trying to still be a good friend, girlfriend, daughter, and sister to all the people who matter most to me.

I think the word I really should have used when people have asked me how I’m doing is… exhausted. I talk about New Years resolutions on a different post, but I cannot remind myself enough that 2015 is going to be and truly NEEDS to be dedicated to not wearing myself out like I did in 2014. The “everything else” that we as grad students pile onto our plates like mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving needs to be only enough to enrich our experience, teach us more than we were already learning, and not too much to overwhelm us. Lesson learned.

Follow Megan on Twitter @MReilly90!

Student Affairs - the First Years

Phasellus facilisis convallis metus, ut imperdiet augue auctor nec. Duis at velit id augue lobortis porta. Sed varius, enim accumsan aliquam tincidunt, tortor urna vulputate quam, eget finibus urna est in augue.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be afraid! We love to hear from our readers!