Spring quarter can be a hectic and nerve-wracking time. Many of you are preparing to graduate while in the midst of job searches or considering job offers. Others are continuing work related to earning that graduate degree next year — or within the next several years. Every day this quarter, we truly see how hard you’re all working.
Last week on the Seattle campus, first-generation graduate students gathered and utilized collage-making as a creative practice to focus on things re-energize them for this last leg of the quarter. As you gather your own energy for these final weeks, consider some of the prompt questions from that gathering. We hope you find these strategies useful:
List out, activities, responsibilities or other things that are draining your energy right now. Initially, this may seem like an odd prompt to consider. Yet sometimes, when we’re overwhelmed, anxious or just plain frustrated with the sheer amount of work we do on a daily or weekly basis, we can get in a real funk and start believing that we don’t have any control over our lives. We recommend taking just three to five minutes to brainstorm a list. Then step back and consider what things you can let go of, minimize or set boundaries around.
Focus on what you do have control over. Do you have too many commitments, some of which you can realistically hold off on? Would breaking down projects into manageable tasks be helpful to you? Is your workspace cluttered (we are guilty of this one!), and can you find a different space such as a cafe or library to work? Are you taking breaks from social media, especially when your news feed feels like too much? Are there individuals in your life who zap the energy out of you, whom you don’t have to interact with? (Note: this last one is complicated, because what about individuals whom we have to interact with regularly? Check out this article).
Make room for moments, people and activities (cultural, spiritual, creative, community-based) that bring you energy. On your bathroom mirror or in your workspace, post a quote that you helps you feel motivated. Start your day by listening to a song that energizes or soothes you. Make time in your schedule to call or spend time with a friend or loved one. Step away from work and take a 10 minute walk outside to enjoy the sunshine. Participate in activities or hobbies that validate all of who you are — because you are not just graduate students but whole people. If it helps, create your own vision board collage with images of your favorite energizing elements so you can see them everyday.
We hope that you take time to participate in one of several end-of-year celebrations across the University of Washington. You deserve it!
Core Programs Team