I am officially 6 weeks into my master's degree and I can honestly say I am loving every second of what I am learning. It has been the most informative, interesting, exciting time of my academic career thus far. With that said, I am not going to pretend teaching full-time and doing grad school is easy, because it's not. But I will give you a little insight into what I have learned over the past six weeks about surviving your career while working on a degree...
I consider myself an expert planner, but I have had to be EVEN MORE disciplined in my planning since I began. I started my semester going through my syllabus' and writing down every due date and assignment for the whole semester. This helped me to map out my weekly goals and when I wanted to accomplish each thing. This also helps to give me a heads up on those final projects that often sneak up on you. I can schedule my work for those out before I even start. I also use different colors to coordinate with my different classes. Visually, I am able to see what I have for each class without having to write the name down next to each assignment.
I have also found it incredibly important for myself to schedule in free time. I could work 'round the clock if I really wanted to, but it's not good for my health. I try to schedule in time to hang with my husband, catch dinner with friends and visit with family. I also try to schedule time to get out for a walk, go to the gym or hit up a yoga class. These times are paramount to my success academically and in my career. Without these times I don't think I would be able to have clarity of thought in the times that I am working or enjoy what I am doing as much as I do.
Now all of this planning working times and free times means nothing if I don't exercise self-discipline. My grad school is very different than my college experience because I am working full time, have bills to pay, have a husband to take care of and am completing my degree online, not in person. With all of these compounding factors, it would be easy to blow off my work to go out with friends, catch a movie or run to the mall. Those things are important to do, but ultimately I am the only one who can make the choice to complete what I need to get done. I find that if I have discipline in completing homework and work when I have it scheduled to complete, I have plenty of time for those extra things like free time to binge watch some TV and seeing family and friends.
I knew that it was the right move for me to begin working on my master's degree and I could not be more excited that I have. I can't wait to continue learning and growing as a person and educator. I know that these six semesters will go by in the blink of an eye and all this hard work, dedication and time will pay off in the end. If you want to know more about my grad school experience, feel free to message me or leave a comment and I would be happy to talk to you!