It’s Not Impossible to Work Full-Time and Attend Grad School
- 759 Views
- November 16, 2020
- Graduate Students
By Shantina Addison, Daemen College assistant director of graduate and special programs enrollment
Are you considering graduate school, but the thought of juggling school and working full-time makes you feel overwhelmed? I have worked in graduate admissions for a few years now and the common concern that most students express when they inquire about a program is, “how will this program fit into my already busy schedule?” It is certainly a valid concern, especially because the rigor of graduate school can be daunting.
Graduate school requires a hefty investment of time and resources. As a working professional who is also a student in an MBA program, I have first-hand experience of what it is like.
I have developed five “hacks” that have helped me combat managing the two.
- Your calendars must be intact, in order to stay on track!
When managing working full-time and attending graduate school, if you try to rely on your memory alone to keep track of important deadlines and events, trust me, you will forget something, and then things will start to spiral out of control.
How do you avoid this situation? Read below for some great ways to stay ahead of the game.
Use the calendar apps on your phone and computer – Put deadlines and important events on your calendar. As soon as you receive your syllabus or course schedule for your classes, plug in the deadlines into your app right away.
Remember, electronic calendars update in real time – The best feature about calendar apps is if you need to make changes to dates, it will update automatically and sync across every device that you have the app downloaded on.
Turn on your reminder notifications – You can go into your calendar app settings and set your calendar to send you reminder notifications on your devices. This feature is perfect for those times when you have a deadline that is not coming up for a few weeks. Set your reminders for a couple of weeks prior to the deadline, so that it stays on your radar.
Buy a planner – I know you are probably wondering why it is necessary to have a planner if you use a calendar app. There are a few reasons why having a planner may contribute to your success of tackling working full-time and attending grad school.
- Writing and repetition helps with memory reinforcement. Writing down important deadlines also helps to keep it in your brain!
- There are things that you can write down in a planner that you may not want to put on your calendar (especially if other people have access to the calendar) such as “pick up laundry after work,” or “return Amazon order,” or even, “cancel subscription service.”
- Here is a link to the planner that I use. I like this planner because it is nice and big and has ample room for me to write notes on each day of the week. It also has positive quotes to reflect on daily (trust me, you will need the positive reinforcement to keep from going crazy!)
- You’ll be fine if you don’t waste valuable time!
Utilize your down time – To keep up with your workload, you must be intentional about how you utilize your down time. Do you spend hours after work watching Netflix or scrolling through social media? What about before work? Are there opportunities for you to wake up earlier and accomplish some things before work? You will need to be specific about how you utilize your time before and after work, as well as on the weekends.
Do not wait until the last minute – Graduate school is very reading and research intensive. It is almost impossible to wait until the last minute to work on assignments. If I know I have a paper due in two weeks, I give myself a deadline to read the related text for the paper. I set another deadline to complete my first draft and then I set a final deadline to revise my draft to finalize it for submission.
- You need to rest to do your best!
Remember, you will only put out the best quality work when you are well rested and your mind is clear. Set aside one day to decompress and reorganize yourself for the week ahead.
- Focus on your #goals
The sacrifices you make today will be well worth it in the end. On the days when you are feeling overwhelmed or like you want to give up, remember why you started in the first place. Whether it be to advance in your career or to develop an expertise in a specific field, let your goals motivate you to power through to the finish line.
As the great philanthropist Oprah Winfrey once said, “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
- Talk to the Graduate Admissions Office
Be transparent – Don’t be afraid to express your concerns to your admissions counselor and let them know if you are worried about juggling graduate school and working. Admissions counselors work with students in your position all the time. They will be able to let you know if your program of choice will be conducive for your schedule. That is, of course, if you have a good admissions counselor.
Daemen College has supportive admissions counselors – At Daemen College, we have a great graduate admissions team who can help guide you through the admissions process. Our counselors all have firsthand experience with working full-time and attending graduate school.
Daemen’s graduate programs were designed with you in mind – The great thing about graduate programs offered at Daemen is that they are designed with the working adult in mind. A lot of Daemen’s graduate programs have on-line, hybrid and evening scheduling options.
To learn more about Daemen’s graduate programs, visit our website at daemen.edu/graduate.