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Now that fall semester has officially started, this new chaotic shift in life can definitely be a bit overwhelming. To put it quite lightly—this isn’t undergrad anymore folks! The workload is significantly heavier with professors expecting a greater deal from students, along with the questioning possibly of working outside of school, coupled with a strong desire to escape and explore the city with new friends or even set aside part of the day for much needed self-care. The main question running through all of our minds being, HOW CAN I DO IT ALL??Steps to Finding a Balance:
1.) Self Care
The biggest thing I often need to remind myself of when feeling this way is to breath and simply slow down. This may seem counterproductive at first when considering how much work I need to get done compared to how little time I have. However, taking the time to center my breathing and calm my mind is one of the most productive things I could ever do for myself. Self-care is one of the most essential practices that each of us should learn to incorporate into our daily lives. Too often we rush through our stressful lives and wonder why there aren’t enough hours in the day or why we can’t seem to sleep at night. If you find yourself scheduling your day and wondering whether reading for two hours or going on a run is more important, go on the run. Go to that yoga class, or to the gym, or that free kickboxing class you thought about trying. Get up and move. Make time for yourself. You’d be amazed how energized you are afterwards to actually finish that very reading you were considering putting-off.2.) Lightening The Load
My next piece of advice is that if you want to try to off-set some of the debt from school but aren’t sure if you can handle the workload, simply try it out and see! I understand completely that this adds a new level of commitment and yet another chunk of allotted time to each week. However, I sometimes believe that having a job forces me to create a more concrete studying regiment and also forces me to stay on track with school. There is a multitude of job opportunities in this city and Columbia also offers a helping-hand when attempting to find work on and off campus through the resource of Columbia Works.[flickr id=”9839159794″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”none”]
3.) Keeping Your Social Life
Not to mention, having a job will greatly add in funding those nights out on the town with your new friends from school! The great thing about being stressed while you’re in grad school is that everyone else is stressed out too. You aren’t alone, so take the time to schedule a night off and blow off some steam with your friends. Along with self-care, it’s also important to incorporate these kinds of activities into our lives because as human beings we need positive social interactions. We can’t hope to thrive as individuals throughout this journey of graduate school if we choose to hide away behind our books all day long! I plan to utilize this experience to its fullest potential while still reminding myself that nobody is perfect; it’s all about maintaining that healthy balance of life!