No Breaks in Grad School

No Breaks in Grad School

Let’s be honest, grad school is tough. It doesn’t matter what program you’re in, the workload will seem impossible at times. Even during breaks, you’ll most likely be doing work. While in high school you’re able to just stay home for a week and enjoy things like Thanksgiving and Spring break, but in grad school you’ll be doing work every day of the breaks to stay afloat- if you’re smart. If you’re like me, you’ll be so tired of school and work that you’ll resist the little voice in your head telling you to do work for as long as you can. When you absolutely can’t resist it anymore and the stress starts catching up to you, it’s time to get down to business. Here are a few quick tips to help you manage your time and stay on track.

Prioritize

Every professor will tell you their class is super important and you should prioritize it above all others, but most of the time that’s just not the case. The only person who can really tell you what to prioritize is you. If there’s one class you’re really worried about that you feel the need to put above all the other ones you’re taking, I’ve been there so I get it, do what’s best for you– just don’t completely neglect your other classes!

 

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

While flipping through syllabus after syllabus may get annoying really fast, it could save you in the long run. Knowing all of your important deadlines and how much time you have to get everything done can help you stay on top of things and not be quite as stressed once all those deadlines start creeping up. I recommend keeping a planner where you can write all important dates down, but also writing little reminder notes and leaving them in places you’re sure to see them so there’s no excuse for missing deadlines.

 

Take Breaks

In the spirit of honesty, I’m going to tell you that forcing yourself to keep doing work when you’re mentally and physically exhausted just won’t end well. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I’ve never done this, but I will say that when I force myself to power through no matter what, my work and wellbeing suffer. Because of this, I’m a huge fan of taking breaks in between work sessions to clear your mind and take care of yourself. Obviously these breaks shouldn’t be days or weeks long because then nothing would get done, but taking an hour or two for yourself in between strenuous projects is really helpful for staying sane.

 

 

Stay on Track

Even though you’re taking breaks in between your work, it’s important to stay on track so you don’t fall behind. If you do happen to fall behind ( it’s easy to do and sometimes out of your control, so don’t feel bad, we’ve all been there), just do your best to catch up and if you just can’t make it work, a last resort is to fully explain the situation to your professor and hope they have mercy on you. I only offer this as an absolute last resort because it’s usually really hard to get extensions on work unless you have a good reason for needing one.

 

Reward Yourself

Last, but definitely not least, take the time to reward yourself for a job well done. Or, if you don’t feel great about the work you’ve produced, just celebrate the fact that you got it all done. This can go hand in hand with taking short, but very necessary, breaks between work sessions. Giving yourself a small reward, anything from a nap to a bubble tea to anything in between, will not only boost your mood and make you feel more content, it will also make you want to be more productive and get more work done so you can reward yourself again. Be careful though, don’t just do your work solely for the rewards, try to take pride in the work and do the best you can do.

*Disclaimer: I’m definitely not an expert on work ethics or anything like that, but I hope something from this post helps you out in some way and makes your days in grad school just a little less stressful.*

 

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Rachel Burt
Rachel is a graduate student in the Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism program here at Newhouse. In her limited spare time she likes to read, take photos, sing and watch Netflix.

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