The first six weeks of classes have now come to an end. This can be a beautiful or challenging time depending on how well you have prioritized your life. One key piece of advice that I would like to is to take the time to reflect. The excitement of new opportunities, classes, professors, and peers makes the beginning of the school year sounds like an academic vacation! Build from that excitement and start early. Begin to order your prioritize your academic, personal, and professional life. For me, I begin with my personal life, then my academic, then my professional life. It is all about a customized schedule that helps you to function efficiently and successfully as you meet your individual goals.
I look at the first six weeks as the honeymoon phase because it can be easy to forget that the entire semester is 16 weeks of progressive responsibilities. Each challenge you face is able to be accomplished, but graduate school requires a new approach to tackling life.
Before you get to campus, consider what is most important for you to succeed and create strategies to help you to work towards your goals. My first year at IU was definitely challenging because I wanted to take advantage of ALL the opportunities available in research, professional development, working with students, and extracurricular activities. Things changed dramatically when I hit one week where every responsibility required something from me. I was overwhelmed and stressed out which made the fact that I was prepared to handle my responsibilities disappear.
Take time to reflect throughout your time in graduate school and learn to adapt new strategies to assist you in meeting the challenges you may face. Remember, obtaining your degree is the ultimate goal, but requires a dedication that you can never imagine you had to give. But hey, the journey is worth it!