If you’re reading this, it means that you’ve made it at least this far into the fall semester. Whether you are working full-time, going to school full-time, working a grad assistantship, or really any combination of the above. If you are operating on the academic year rather than the calendar year as many of us do, your year has just begun.
Now, I am by no means a seasoned expert, but I have seen my fair share of years in the field, so here are a few pieces of advice from me to you in your time of (sleep-deprived, caffeine-ridden, anxiety-laden, candy-covered) need.
- To Do Lists – Even if they aren’t usually your style, it might not hurt to try this trick. It can help make your tasks feel more manageable when they aren’t just bumbling about in your brain. This is also a good way to identify the difference between important and/or urgent tasks. Urgent does not mean important and vice versa; understanding the difference is key to prioritization.
- Motivation – Find whatever motivates you; intrinsically or extrinsically, and work it into your life. If after a finishing a tough school paper, you get to go out and see a new movie; or if you schedule coffee with a mentor to talk about why you are doing what you are doing and your passion for it. Whichever works best for you, figure it out and add it in.
- End Goals – Each semester takes about 3 months to survive and we all remember from Einstein that time can be relative. There will be days that feel like a week and there will be a month that flies by in the blink of an eye. The trick is reflecting on your end goals. Regardless of what you do, this semester will end. That can be good if it is taking all you’ve got to make it through the day and that can be frustrating if you have a deadline looming nearer each day. Remember the phrase “This too shall pass” and do what you must to get to whatever, for you, is next.
If you have any additional words of wisdom, we would love to read them. Feel free to post in the comments how you plan to survive the semester in one (mostly whole) piece.