Starting graduate school in a pandemic is something no one would have ever expected. Obviously I chose to enter graduate school at this time but it was not easy. I have had to adjust how I learn compared to attending classes in person. There have been a few steps I’ve taken that I believe led me to have a smooth quarter!
Find Some Study Buddies
Making friends and study buddies was so necessary! There is so much that goes on in graduate school and finding people to share it with made the quarter more bearable. I was lucky enough to make some friends before school started and in my small group that was assigned. Related to making friends, remember that you are your own person. Just because someone else is working on ABC or studying for XYZ does not mean you need to be too. Trust your own judgment and work on things at your own pace. It’s not a competition!
Creating a Study Space
One of my favorite things about going to a college campus is the amount of study spaces available. Obviously, due to COVID, many of the spaces are limited. I was also only on campus once a week (or less) and I live about 35-40 minutes from my campus. For a while I enjoyed sitting outside at a coffeeshop but making my own study space at home became necessary. I already had a vanity, so I converted it into a desk space. If possible, keep this study space outside of your bedroom to separate a space for rest and a place to get work done. I like to keep everything I need (pens, pencils, markers, post-its, notebooks, etc.) I’m very lucky that I have a space in my room and a place in our office. It is so nice to have a spot dedicated to do my classes, coursework, and homework.
Stay Organized and on Top of Things
This is extremely important when taking online courses. In my program many of our lectures are asynchronous so we are expected to read, look at a PowerPoint, and listen to a lecture before our synchronous class. This means that there was much more time on our own than was planned. It was crucial for me to keep all my lectures, readings, and assignments in order, so I was prepared for courses. I like to use my planner to plan out my days, assignment schedule inserts in my planner, and sticky notes on my desk to hold myself accountable!
Taking breaks, getting rest, and relaxing was necessary to stay sane this quarter. Engaging in self-care nights, working out, and just stepping away from the work is so important to maintain occupational balance. I felt super stressed halfway through this quarter because the only thing I was doing was school. I made sure to include more of my self-care activities, felt so much less stressed and I still ended the quarter with great grades!
These were some of the tips I think helped me power through these last ten weeks and have a successful quarter!
Thanks for reading!