Thoughts on Working Full-time, Going to Grad School Full-time, and Balancing Life

Let's start with honesty. I am overwhelmed. I know, I shouldn't share that info with the world. We're all supposed to be ...




Let's start with honesty. I am overwhelmed. I know, I shouldn't share that info with the world. We're all supposed to be perfect all the time, right? Well, no. I am overwhelmed, but I am getting through it.

Sometimes I ask myself (or my hubby) why am I doing this? Why did I choose go back to graduate school full-time, while also working full-time? Hubby constantly has to remind me - you've wanted this for so long. And that's true. I've wanted to go back and get my master's since before I'd even earned my bachelor's. It took years, but things finally worked out and I was able to pursue my graduate-level degree.

But let's be honest. It can be hard sometimes. I am only a month into the program (about a quarter of the way through the first semester), but this really is different from undergraduate coursework. First off, I'm taking three classes, which is considered full-time at nine credit hours. My schedule looks like this:

Class One (Student Development Theories): Mondays 2:30-5:00
Class Two (Basic Counseling Skills): Mondays 5:30-8:00 (partially online, which means I only meet face-to-face for classes twice a month)
Class Three (Counseling Theories): Online

That may not seem crazy, but also realize I generally work Monday through Fridays 8:00-5:00. Obviously, my schedule has to be adjusted weekly for my 2:30-5:00 class on Mondays. Also, I've already had to submit two papers (one being 10 pages), and we're only a month in. Graduate school is very fast-paced, there is a ton of reading (re: 30-50 pages per class per week at least), and as a student, you're definitely given autonomy. It's important that I stay motivated, or everything could crumble.

So how do I make sure I'm getting my work done for both school and work, while also maintaining a sense of self and freedom? I'll let you know when I figure that out.

So, my daily plan has been to follow the schedule below:

Monday-Friday
5 am - wake up and head to the gym (read on elliptical).
7 am - read/study.
8 am - work.
1:30 pm - read (pleasure) during lunch.
2 pm - back to work.
(class on Mondays)
5 pm - head home.
6 pm - dinner.
7 pm - enjoy me time (read for pleasure, watch tv, etc.)
8 pm - read/study.
9 pm - shower and hit the sheets.

Saturday-Sunday
hubby time, free time, reading, etc.




What's actually been going on:

Monday-Friday
4ish am - wake up and change my alarm to 6:30.
6:30 am - wake up and do about 10 minutes of pilates, pack lunch, get ready for work.
7 am - head to work.
7:30 am - read emails, check facebook, etc.
8 am - work.
1:30 pm - read (pleasure) during lunch.
2 pm - back to work.
(class on Mondays)
5 pm - head home.
6 pm - dinner.
7 pm - enjoy me time (read for pleasure, watch tv, etc.)
10 pm - read a chapter or so for class.
11 pm - shower and go to bed.

Saturday-Sunday
hubby time, free time, reading, etc.


So the good thing is, I've got a plan. The bad thing is, I hate to wake up in the morning. I'm really hoping to get into the habit soon of following the plan. I think it will suck to wake up, but overall I'll be more productive and less stressed. Because believe me, right now, I am stressed. Textbooks are tedious and dull, so I'm really not making the most of learning by struggling to fit in just a little time learning before bed.


Are you in school, or did you develop a plan when you were in school (or for other busy schedules)? How did you make sure to stick to your plan and make the most of work, school, and life?









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2 comments

  1. Wow girlfriend, you do have a lot going on...but a plan is key. I started my MPA but had to quit due to changing jobs and my new one no longer giving tuition assistance. I loved it, but it was a lot of work and when Ethan was younger and I didn't have to help as much with homework, studying, projects and before I blogged. Unfortunately I have NO advice for the mornings. I go to bed early and still set 4 alarms for the next morning and snooze until the last one goes off. I'm so bad. At least you're working out, me--NONE. I need to get back in to it. I'm sorry I don't have sound advice, but a big HIGH FIVE to you for doing what you do-you rock!

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    Replies
    1. I do the same thing with my alarms. It's terrible. I will never understand how some people can wake up so easily. And I'm not doing a ton on the work-out scale. But I use the Blogilates books - Hot Body Year Round. And do some moves from there most mornings. Some are tougher than others, but you can definitely feel it the next day.
      I appreciate your kind words! It's women like you who inspire others. :)

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