Grad school is no joke. Even while the classes are more targeted to your passions and goals, the workload and expectations are not less demanding. Here are four tips for staying sane during grad school that any student needs to hear.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
Remember that your ability to succeed directly correlates to how you feel, both physically and mentally. There is such a thing as pushing yourself too hard, too quickly.
Always include space in your daily schedule for things like snack breaks, exercise, and socializing. Mood and self-care trackers can go a long way for fitting in the necessary well-being upkeep between classes.
Dial Time Management Skills to 11
Time is one thing grad students don’t always have to spare. Turn to the time management strategies and tools that got you through undergrad and dial them up to 11. Try always to leave room for movement in your schedule, so that time blocks aren’t overly restrictive. The last thing you want is your time management tools to turn into a source of stress.
Set and Track Realistic Goals
While you have your agenda out, always set realistic and achievable goals. If you set your expectations too high, failing to achieve them by the end of the day contributes to a cycle of stress and damages your confidence going forward. Sometimes, discovering what goals are realistic is a process of trial and error that you need to allow time for.
Tracking said goals is a fantastic way to discover what works and doesn’t. Pay attention to patterns in the time of day you’re most productive, what work blocks don’t cause you to forget self-care, and which courses are easiest to work through on a difficult day.
Recognize How You Got Here
Gratitude is a powerful tool for staying sane during grad school. Once you recognize that making it to grad school is a significant accomplishment, it’s easier to follow the trail of help and hard work that got you there. Take time to reflect and recognize the effort, work, and people that made this possible. Whether you write down your reflections or reach out and thank your mentors, showing gratitude is a powerful grounding tool to defeat stress and worry.
All said, do your best to speak kindly to yourself and appreciate what great strides you make each day. Pursuing higher education is a tumultuous balance of life, passions, and an academic culture that doesn’t always align with being a human. You made it this far; don’t forget to take pride in that.