By: Nicole Willens, Class of 2018
When I started the Master of Science in Health Communication program, my biggest concern was how to balance school with work and life. As a professional program, MSHC hosts classes on Saturdays and is meant to allow students to work full-time during the week. For me, the transition was particularly difficult as I started a new job the Monday after classes began. Now, halfway through the first quarter, I am starting to adjust and find my MSHC rhythm. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from both my successes and failures over the past six weeks.
Plan out your time.
One of the most basic components of time management is planning. Whether you are making plans to study, see friends, workout, or even do laundry, creating a schedule for yourself will help you balance your life and make sure you get everything done. For example, with Sunday being the only day off your entire week, it is tempting to not make plans on Sunday and enjoy anything you would like in the moment. While that may be necessary at times, it can also leave you feeling unproductive and stressed with the ‘Sunday scaries’.
Make time for your social life.
Don’t forget to be you! By making time for what you enjoy in life, whether it is a hobby or simply seeing friends, you will be happier and feel more like yourself. Setting aside time away from work and school will also make you more productive when you do have to study or do work. MSHC is meant to broaden your understanding of health communication to supplement your life and help you along the right path; it shouldn’t be a hindrance to who you want to be.
Don’t hesitate to rely on others.
People often take pride in their autonomy and hesitate to seek help when they are stressed. In fact, my initial reaction to being offered help is to say no as I don’t want to be bothersome. However, I’ve learned that by leaning on others, you actually become stronger, gaining from their strengths and even helping them with their weaknesses. MSHC is one of the strongest communities I’ve ever been a part of and the people are the best resources. Whether it is a fellow student, a professor or a teaching assistant, there is always someone around the corner to provide the support you need.
Expect to be overwhelmed.
At the end of the day, no matter how much you plan or prepare for a situation like this, you will get overwhelmed. Work, school and life on their own can stress anyone out, let alone when they are weaved together. Nobody expects you to sail through graduate school with straight As and a constant smile on your face. It is okay to be stressed or overwhelmed and feel like you need to break down. Just remember, you have the entire MSHC community to help you get right back up.