Jump to content

Am I just asking for burnout?


newpsyche

Recommended Posts

Hi, all!

This is only going to stress me out further, but I've been looking online to see how much people typically work per week while in grad school for the social sciences. I just started a PhD program and have been consistently working 70-80 hours a week, and although I do love the work, I'm afraid I'm going to burn out soon. I feel guilty for working any less, even though some of my grad student friends recommend treating grad school like a 45-hour-per-week job.

Yes, everyone's experiences are very different--but does anyone have any personal experiences or advice they'd like to share about this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish I had your problem, truly ... anyway in my experience when I work constantly without taking some time off, my productivity starts to slide, then i get more determined to do more, so don't allow myself a day off, then productivity slides even further... a sort of vicious cycle creeps in. But that's me, everyone is different, I can't really say what is right for you. My personal opinion though is congratulations on having made a fantastic start on your programme, 70-80 hours per week is no mean feat, and I'm sure you have made great progress. However i do think its a bit worrying that even doing as much as your doing feel guilty for taking any time off. If it were me that would lead to stress and burnout, but as I said everyone's different. i would say don't lose momentum, but maybe having a hobby or socialising a little bit would benefit you long-term and give you a better quality of life, which can only aid your productivity and overall well being.

that's my two cents, if you want to feel really good about yourself read my post about getting 8 hours work done last week!!!!!! actually come to think of it, how do you do it??? that's what I want to know!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, starting out with a 70-80 work week is a bit insane. I think in general it's good to treat grad school as a job and remember to come home at a decent hour in the evening, spend time with family and friends, and take time off during weekends. Like other jobs, there will be times when you're busier and need to put in more hours -- but if you start out that way, you won't have any energy left for those crunch times, or else you'll work yourself to the ground and get burnt. Grad school is a marathon, not a sprint. Treat it as such.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a common feeling to feel guilty if you're not putting in "enough" hours. Nobody expects perfection in your first semester. It's your time to adjust to graduate school. Your program will be forgiving to any missteps you take for your first semester, if not your first year.

Are you working efficiently? Take a look at your approaches to studying. Remember, you are not an undergraduate anymore where you have to learn every small detail.

Graduate school requires a different way of reading texts and thinking. In fact, you should be spend more time thinking than reading. Professors are more interested in hearing your impressions and analysis of the author's argument as a whole and some parts of his/her essay/book that you find provocative than to hear you cite every small detail. So if you have a passage or two that struck you, just take the time to think about them and why they struck out and be ready to defend your position and just skim over the rest of the text so you can at least follow the conversation. You will pick up the small details over time as you continue to read on the same subject by various scholars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm struggling with a similar issue - I'm working full-time while in school full-time, coming out to 40 hrs/wk working, 8 hrs/wk in class, 20 hrs/wk or so on hmwk, and am a) struggling and B) unsatisfied. I actually think B is making A an issue and that if I was happier at work, I'd be more okay with the situation. Really lost on what to do, as I don't want to cut my work hours and lose the income but don't want to cut a course because I have a scholarship that requires I study full-time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it's realistic to treat it like a 45-hour-per-week job, but you don't need to work 80 hours every week to make it work. I'd wager that when I still had coursework I was working 60 hours a week on all things combined, and now that I don't have coursework it's closer to a 40-50 hour workweek if I'm being productive (and 30 hours if I'm not). I remember feeling very stressed out and after my third year, burned out a bit too. I feel better now, I'm just really tired of being in graduate school!

It's true that if you don't take time for yourself you start to feel resentful and productivity slides. What I do is I scheduled in one free day per week. My fellow graduate students always marveled at that - how do you avoid doing work on Saturdays, they asked me? Easy - I just didn't do it, unless it was absolutely necessary or I chose to take another day off that week. Eventually I stopped feeling guilty for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.