Starting graduate school can be an exciting new chapter of your life, but it’s certainly no cakewalk. There are plenty of graduate students overwhelmed by their internships, research, and coursework every single day.
Whether you’re a grad student already in this situation or you’re planning for the future, here are some tips to help manage your time in grad school:
Do yourself a favor and buy a planner
Even if you’re more of a digital person, there are many options when it comes to online planning (such as Notion, Microsoft OneNote or EverNote). As a graduate student, you will have to juggle your school responsibilities, work schedule and personal life. You might think you can keep everything straight with your memory alone, but trust me it’ll be much easier to remember all of your assignment deadlines and meetings if you write them down.
Use your time wisely
You know when you finally get yourself to sit down and have a study session, but then you pick up your phone to check what time it is and before you know it you’ve spent another hour scrolling on social media? When it comes to studying and getting your assignments done, that time is precious.
Setting up time limits for social media or other distracting apps for yourself can help you make the most out of your day. It’s totally okay to take breaks, but make sure to use your time wisely.
Study smarter not harder
Search up effective study routines and find the one that works the best for you. For example, some of us concentrate better in the morning while others are night owls. Think about the kind of method that would bring you the most successful result, and try out a few different strategies. You can definitely maximize your work ethic if you find a routine that fits your personality.
You’ve heard this a million times, but don’t procrastinate
Procrastination is one of those negative school habits that dies hard. As easy as it is to think “Why do it now when I can do it later?” try to work on changing that thought to “Why push something off when I can get it out of the way first?”. There’s less stress on your shoulders if that assignment you’ve been putting off is already submitted. You never know what kind of appointment or event might pop up at the last minute to ruin your chance of cramming in that project. There’s also no better nap than the one you take peacefully knowing you have no homework.
Learn how to say “no”
Even as an adult you might be subject to peer pressure and be forced into commitments that you don’t have time for or might not serve your best interests. You need to know when to reject an offer in order to prepare for your next exam, interview or another task. Otherwise, you might struggle to catch up with everything while trying to juggle all the promises you’ve made.
Everything is about balance
Don’t put yourself down if not everything goes according to plan. It’s okay to take a break, and it’s okay to not be perfect. It’s all about finding a work-life balance. It can be easy sometimes to neglect our physical and mental health in order to meet the next deadline. However, don’t forget that you deserve to take care of yourself.
Try to incorporate healthy eating, exercising and mindfulness practices into your routine, and don’t forget to rest and reward yourself for all your hard work.