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Advice for someone working full time and going to school full time!


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I will be starting my MA this fall, while working full time (four 10 hour shifts per week) and training for a half marathon. I am wondering how the hell I can pull this off...


I have always been a busy body- I went most of undergrad balancing work/school/interning seven days a week. I know graduate school is a different ball game, though. My job is also very labor intensive and I often come home exhausted; I am working on improving my diet and training for the half marathon to help improve my energy levels but who knows how much that will actually help. 


Anywho, I am looking for advice from fellow over-achievers who attempt this sort of chaos throughout graduate school. I know the importance of scheduling and staying motivated, but what other tips and tricks have worked for you in the past? Are there particular routines that help you throughout busy days and weeks? 


Thank you for your time and I appreciate the help very much!! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't have any advice, because I'm not there yet.... But I will actually be in the same boat as you. I applied for a Master's program, and with my job I actually receive a tuition stipend for any state school. (Which is why I will both work and attend school full time).

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Gosh, it sounds like you have quite a lot on your plate come fall! Best of luck!


I think that one thing that really helped me was - in addition to having a well-organized schedule - making to-do lists for each day and week. On Sundays, I sit down and write out EVERYTHING that I will be doing in the next week. This includes events outside of my normal schedule, assignments that are due, chapter readings, goals for research papers, etc. I would divide it out by each course or topic, but at the end it was usually a very long list, because then I'd come up with something else like a small grocery list, or just little things that would slip my mind that were important to remember. Looking at this list made me very aware of the culmination of work that I had to do, and the well-kept schedule made me aware of how much time I actually had to accomplish those things. Plus, crossing off things on your list makes you feel pretty good! Doing this really made me feel like I had my life together, and my productivity increased so much.


Also, don't forget to take time for yourself and friends/family. Your life may be planned out hour by hour, but you need to sit back and take a breath sometimes and just enjoy your "own time," or free time, should you have it!  Keep up with a leisurely activity that you have always enjoyed, like knitting or casual reading, for example. When you have finished things that you have to do, and you have some leftover time, they are great rewards.


Currently, my mental preparation routine in the morning is to wake up, take a shower, make myself some coffee, then make the bed, and get breakfast/lunch ready for the day. It gives me a jumpstart to feeling organized and productive. Picking out your clothes in the evening will save you minutes in the morning, too. Also setting aside workout clothes and keeping a set readily available in your car/office will give you more of a reason to find time to exercise.


When I get home in the evenings, I actually have been working on jigsaw puzzles as an "unwind" activity. It keeps my mind going, but it feels really relaxing. I also try to do all of my evening work outside of my bedroom/off of my bed because that is a reserved space where I want to feel relaxed and happy.


I feel like a lot of what I'm saying is scheduling/motivational tips, but it's the little things that keep you going, and your momentum! Know how YOU "recharge," as in what makes you feel rejuvenated and ready to face challenges. Allow yourself time for that. Know when you are most productive and make sure that those hours are when you are doing your most important work. Also know that if you are ever feeling overwhelmed you can talk about it to your advisors, fellow students, friends, etc. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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