Being in grad school can be a very stressful time in your life. Trust me! I know, I’m going through it RIGHT NOW! I was that girl that said as soon as I get my Undergrad degree I wanted to go straight to get my Masters Degree, and then straight for the PhD. Yep! My goal is to earn my PhD before 30. Just thinking of that can be overwhelming, but once you commit to it, it will commit to you!
Each person has their own views as why they decide to go to post secondary school. I didn’t decide to go to school because I just wanted to get a degree to say I had a degree, or so I can go get a great job that’s going to pay me big bucks. I got it so that I could have the credentials and the valuable information I would learn. If I can be perfectly honest. I learned more at the job I’ve been at for two year than I did in my undergraduate studies. I don’t necessarily think I learned a lot of information I could apply to my life, but I did learn things like discipline, time management, how to finish what I started. You know, things that will help you in real life.
It can get frustrating when you already have a plate full and then you add to it, so you have to be prepared to really focus, hit some bumps through the process, and eliminate any distractions that distract you from the main goal. It may be a very challenging process, but what you learn through it will make you a better person.
When I was having my quarter-life crisis (ok, I’m exaggerating) but when I was stressing out about my current program I got some amazing information and tips from others that have been through the graduate school maddness. Checkout 7 tips below that will help you survive your grad school years:
-When you prioritize your tasks it helps you to be a little more organized and keeps a track on everything you get accomplished so you don’t miss anything you need to get done. I’ve learned that when you prioritize your to-do list it’s takes a lot of stress off of yourself and you can truly focus on what’s important for that moment without worrying about everything else you have to do because you already know the time for that is already accounted for.
2 Remember WHY you began pursuing your masters. Create notecards/sticky notes to put on your mirror as a constant reminder. DrLorneka Joseph
-I absolutely LOVE creating sticky notes and putting them on my bedroom mirror. Mine are filled with affirmations, scriptures, and constant reminders of my “why”. I would suggest adding some around your office or room. It’s a great way to keep sweet reminders and stay rooted in your purpose and goals.
3 Make sure you include your business and/or organizations in your course work. Butch Tweedle
-This was a big one for me. This actually helped me a lot. Being able to use my 501(c)(3) organization, H.E.R. Foundation Inc. and my personal brand, Zakiyrah Ficklin as clients for my course work was kind of like “killing two birds in one stone”. I was able to complete my course work, but also elevate my businesses along the way.
4 Self-care. Make sure you are taking care of yourself throughout your Master’s Program. Take time for things that bring you joy and help you destress. Jonathan Jones
-I can personally get so caught up in the grind I can forget to take care of myself and spend time with God. Facials, taking yourself on a date, or just relaxing can make a big difference. Spending time with God will keep you rooted and charged up.
5 Stay organized and create due dates for your work before the actual due dates. Mike Nelson
-I adopted that “I work well under pressure mentality” and had to quickly give it up. It is absolutely no fun waiting until the last minute. I learned the hard way. I remember I had an assignment due at 11:59pm and I waited until the last minute, ended up turning it in at 12:00 a.m. and received 25 points off for being one minute late. I bet you I never waited until the very last minute to turn in assignments anymore. Creating due dates before your actual due dates is a great habit to have!
6 ASK questions. Make sure you are not waiting until the last minute to ask questions about a particular assignment, or if you don’t understand something. The longer you wait the more of a hole you’ll be digging yourself into. Kareem L. Williams
-I’m all about asking questions. If something doesn’t make sense I’m that student that is all in my professors inbox. Don’t be the student that asks questions after the assignment is turned in and it’s too late. That cliché saying no question is a dumb questions is DEFINITELY true!
7 Split your workload. Find a group of students in your course and divvy up the work so it’s not too much on yourself. Terry Johnson
-Work smart not hard. When you have a lot on your plate it’s easier to split your work so that it’s not too much on yourself. Creating a system with another group of students will work in the whole groups benefit so that their whole life is not consumed with just work, work, work!
The seven tips are very effective and can help you get through the rest of your graduate program. Just remember to prioritize, remember your “why”, take care of yourself, stay organized, ask questions, incorporate your business, and find a group of students that can make the course a little easier. It’s amazing how developing a routine, shifting your mindset, and staying focused can make your graduate program experience so much better!