Organized Charm: Tips for Balancing Grad School and Real Life

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tips for Balancing Grad School and Real Life


“I’m Managing a full time job, full time grad school, and a social life…help!”

Sound familiar? 

Grad school is a pretty tough time in life because you typically have more responsibility than you did in undergrad. 

Maybe you’re paying your own tuition for the first time. Or your own rent. Or you now have a mortgage (or a marriage) or a baby. 

Maybe all of the above! And don’t forget about that full time job you worked so hard to get straight out of college. 

Going back to school with the responsibility of adult life can be super challenging! Whatever the reason, the blend of college life and adult life can be a struggle for all of us. 

Here are some ways that I learned to deal with it:




Manage your time:
First of all, you are the manager of your time. Your boss probably won’t care about you being behind in schoolwork, and your professor probably won’t care that you’re overloaded at work. It’s up to you to find the balance of your responsibilities. Set limits and stick to them!


Start by prioritizing your time between the two... Yes, they may both be important, but which one is more important to your long term plan? Most likely, you’re in grad school to help further your career. If that’s the case, school is your top priority. 

Don’t be afraid to let your employer know which days you need to leave early for class. But also, don’t try to do schoolwork during work hours! Have the mindset that work time is for work and school time is for school. Don’t forget to leave time for working out and socializing! 

A good planner can really help in this area! Here are a few of my favorites!


Use effective studying skills:
Since you have a limited amount of time to study, you want to make sure your studying techniques are as effective as they can possibly be! Write down what you will work on ahead of time. This way, when you sit down to work, you can start working right away!

The Studying page of this website is full of my favorite study techniques I’ve collected over the years! Here is my overall study routine: Have a prioritized and detailed list before you ever sit down. 

-Set a timer for a certain amount of time. 
-Say NO to any and every distraction that comes your way during that time. 
-When your timer goes off, write down a detailed list of the next steps you need to take on this assignment. 
-That will be your prioritized and detailed list for the beginning of your next study session! 

Continue this cycle religiously, even using the same time and location! Consistency is key to creating new routines!


Find a great home organization system:
The final piece to balancing full time work/school and normal life is to find a quick and efficient home organization system. I like FlyLady’s system because she just says to do a little bit every day. 

She has a free app that works as a recurring checklist you can use on your phone! Plus, you can edit it to fit whatever daily chores/routines you need in your own life (“feed the dog”, “file papers”, etc.). 

Also, this simple technique is my Holy Grail of home (and life) organization!


The key to balancing several different areas of life is to make sure you’re maximizing your productivity and not procrastinating


By having these three things consistently in place, you’ll have more time to spend with friends and family (or secretly binging your favorite series on Netflix)! :) 



What tips do you have for balancing full time work and school? Share them below! 

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