Juggling Act: Balancing Grad School and Internships

I have this track record of being a great juggler.

During my undergrad, I worked two jobs, took 18 credits and was active in several student clubs on campus. “Busy” has been my middle name since I was a child (best Girl Scout in my troop, just saying), but now that I’m in graduate school, I’ve realized it’s a different ball game.

People often ask me, how do you do it? By “it”, they mean a full graduate school course load, a graduate assistantship, and an internship with the Bravo Group.

Looking at in retrospect, I’ve realized it’s really about balance and being honest with yourself.

One of my favorite quotes is, “You can have it all, just not at the same time.”

I’ve always tried to prioritize my responsibilities. For me, first and foremost education comes first. I want to make sure I put my best foot forward academically because as my mom used to tell me, “knowledge is something no one can take from you.”

Color Coordinating CalendarsOnce my schedule is complete I try to adhere to different rules to keep me sane. The first thing I do at the top of each semester is make a weekly calendar. I then color code my responsibilities. The first thing that gets entered is my class schedule. That allows me to see what I have time for and when I can dedicate free time to extracurricular activities.Once my schedule is complete I try to adhere to different rules to keep me sane. Some of them are:

  • Fill in all due dates at the beginning: I go through my planner daily to see what may be coming up for the week. This way I won’t be overwhelmed with assignments.
  • Leave at least two days a month for you: I learned this the hard way. Getting burned out is easy. Cross off a couple hours from at least two days to refocus. I’ve found that those “debrief” moments allow me to appreciate my recent accomplishments and catch my breath if life is moving too fast.
  • Give yourself internal deadlines: This can combat procrastination. If I’m burning the midnight oil, I’ll tell myself, assignment X must be done by 7:00pm. By doing this, I produce quality work rather than continuing on an assignment for an unnecessary amount of time.
  •  Keep the main thing the main thing: When I worked as a mentor during undergrad, I had to remind my students that the primary goal is an education. As long as you hold fast to that and making the best out of your experience, everything should fall into place.

Keep in mind, everyone’s different and these things may not work for you, but to only way to know what works and what doesn’t is to try.Hope these tips help! Now go and be awesome on purpose!

-Minette

Picture Caption: http://www.blogs.commons.georgetown.edu

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