As we head into the last two weeks of the quarter, some of you are completing your first year of graduate school, wrapping up a capstone project, writing a draft of a dissertation chapter, or eagerly anticipating graduation—all the while juggling family and community responsibilities. Many of you are in the midst of a job search and interviewing for future employment. We at Core Programs understand that it’s crunch time, and we’re here to encourage you to keep your momentum going. Here are some tips to get you through that last leg of the quarter:
Plan and prioritize. Make a daily list and prioritize what you must complete each day. De-prioritize anything that can wait. Because your time is scarce, create a “wish list” for things you can do after the crunch time has passed, and since they are on a separate list, you can trust you won’t forget about them!
Utilize your strengths. We wrote about this a few newsletters ago. What time of the day are you most productive? Whether it’s the morning, afternoon, or evening, do your graduate work during the time you feel the most motivated. Incremental bursts of work will allow you to be more productive, rather than setting aside unrealistic chunks of time. You’ll also feel satisfied because you’re actually getting work done.
Get support. Meet with a peer or two to review drafts of each other’s work or do mock job interviews in preparation for actual ones. Plan to debrief or release stress with a friend or colleague after you’ve worked through a milestone. Working with a colleague not only decreases isolation, it increases accountability.
Self-care. It’s important to renew your energy level, especially during crunch time. Go for a 5-minute walk after writing for an hour, grade a set of student papers and then listen to relaxing music, or make plans to share a healthy meal with a friend before continuing work into the evening. Do whatever reduces stress, feels rejuvenating, and allows you to get in “me time.”
Acknowledge and reward milestones. You’re nearly there, and that’s a feat in and of itself! Take time to recognize all your efforts each day and give yourself a treat for doing so! You definitely deserve it!
To all graduate and professional students who will complete your programs this year, we applaud you for your sheer dedication, tenacity, and passion. Best wishes in all your future endeavors! To all students who will be returning the coming year, Core Programs in the Graduate School will be here to encourage and support you! As always, we love hearing from you—your ideas, successes, frustrations, and thoughts on how we can better support your graduate experience. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.