Student Essay: Balancing Grad School, Work & Life

Kristen DurkinJuggling life, graduate school, work and projects has always been a priority for me. Keeping all of the important elements of my life either in the air or the security of my hands is something I am forever learning. On occasion I “drop the ball” … I forget to publish an article, eat my dinner or sometimes to finish my reading – though with the cost of my tuition, I rarely forget to finish my reading!

 Time Blocking is one method I use to manage the chaos of life. I learned this early on in my career. In business, smart companies encourage employees to designate small amounts of time throughout the day to precise tasks, which should be completed (while uninterrupted) in a specific time frame. I have taken the method of time blocking and applied it to many areas of my professional, academic and personal life. Not all of my hours are blocked into time breaks,  sometimes a day of the week is designated to accomplishing a single goal.

Here’s an example:

Gym (in the morning), Work*, Homework 9-11 pm,

Work, Homework (lunch break), Schedule/Edit articles for She Takes on the World, Yoga (7 pm)

Work, (Class 6 pm), Homework 9 – 12 am

Gym, Work,  Class (6 pm), Write article for Huffington Post

Gym (in the morning) Work, Family fun time!

Saturday & Sunday:
Go with the flow

*Keep in mind work is usually broken down into at least 4 time blocks

The aforementioned schedule is often tentative. When I am in the thick of my schedule I often think “What am I doing?”

Pursuing the things I am passionate about makes being busy worth it. Writing a blog article, editing an article or attending a conference for education is not a chore because I enjoy the topics I cover and learn. It also helps that being in graduate school is fun – it’s difficult, but it is also fun.

By the time you reach graduate school, hopefully you’ll be learning topics you’re thoroughly interested in … and school becomes less about grades and more about career advancement, progression and passion.

Find graduate schools. Find business colleges.

* * *

Kristen Durkin is a graduate student at New York University, editor of She Takes on the World editor, Huffington Post blogger and marketing manager at Kforce Inc. 

She will be on the Campus Explorer panel at #140edu.

2 responses to “Student Essay: Balancing Grad School, Work & Life

  1. Kristen makes a lot of good points. My experience with MBA students is that the MBA-WorkLife-Wellbeing issues, that is the non academic issues create the greatest problems for them while they are earning their degree. Many of these issues can be dealt with prior to the start of a graduate program. I write about some of the ways to deal with some of the issues in the MyeEMBA Blog.

    Good luck with your degree,

  2. People talk so much about work-life balance, but rarely about college-work-life balance. Great tips!

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