6 February 2015
I am constantly working to organize my blog and to keep it up-to-date. Imagine my surprise when I realized I never posted how my first semester of graduate school ended!
Below is a much condensed version of my original post that became buried in my mountain of “to do’s”.
p.s. I have about three concrete t-shirt ideas I’m almost ready to move forward with into samples. I didn’t want you all to think that goal fell by the wayside. I needed time to get the creative juices flowing. As part of that planning, I will share with you the story of a local female service member who is tackling the subject of female service in a similar and slightly different fashion. I’ll write a little more about her here soon.
The pressure of this semester is finally alleviated! This first semester was exciting, draining, insightful, and amazing. It’s hard to imagine it’s gone by as quickly as it has, but I made it. The month of October made me pretty nervous my grades would be in the dumps; I tried to tack on some extra post work activities, but one day of traveling to Phoenix taught me, I don’t have the energy to “do it all.” At the same time, I also balanced additional work responsibilities so I quickly reached my limitations of sanity. I can only handle so much sleep deprivation before I’m either a sobbing mess or just this side of angry and desperately want to punch someone in the face. (Note: I won’t, but the desire is still there.)
I was hardly a 4.0 student for my undergraduate degrees, so I am excited my hard work paid off. A significant portion of my success happened behind the scenes and I’d like to share that information as well.
1. Do Your Homework
This one probably goes without saying but it’s hard to be successful if you don’t invest the time and energy to know the material. For my graduate program, my work entails a significant amount of reading. One of my courses provided more reading materials than we had to keep up with, but my instructor reminded us to focus on key pieces to get the most out of our experience. As well, there were some days where I had to reread a couple articles several times before the material made sense. The plus side is I was also better prepared to engage in classroom discussions and I do feel more confident as I get older sharing my opinion. The feedback I receive in gauging how well I understand the material and can apply it to my future goals.
2. Utilize Your Support Network
My husband as you may know is a full time undergraduate student and a VA contracted work study. He and his parents helped throw a lot of support my way as I tackled this semester. Our daughter,Avery, enjoyed lots of extra time visiting her grandparents and my husband picked her up almost exclusively this semester. He also did a majority of the cooking, when we weren’t enjoying fast food outings, and kept the house relatively tidy. I also enjoyed the good company of my friend,Jennie, who listened intently to my stories of graduate school. It’s fun that we enjoy discussing human behavior as much as we do. It’s never a dull moment with us.
3. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
This semester was tough. We were short staffed at my work and I took on extra overtime on numerous occasions just to stay on top of my regular responsibilities. However, I stayed up late when necessary to excel in my schoolwork and I cut back on social outings when necessary. I cut myself some slack for those days when I fell behind on eating well, working out, keeping a clean house, and the laundry. The reward for letting go and being persistent in other areas paid off in discovering potential areas of research and ending the semester on a high note.