The Balancing Act: Work-life-school

Guest blogger: Shay Bevard

I started grad school full of energy and a renewed sense of purpose. I worked as a manager, and my hours and workload were very manageable to also handle school. I lived around the corner from work, so it was easy to see my little kids and spend quality time with them and my wife. As school and work progressed, work and school started to balencechange; the easy time was not as easy, and the little things that needed to get done kept being put on a backburner. So did my family life: My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We spent a week in the hospital, and a whole change in lifestyle occurred. My juggling act was not so hot at this point. My work stress increased so much that I had to make a change. I did. I switched jobs and became just a working man. My stress dramatically decreased, I stopped constantly feeding the stress and lost 10 lbs. I thought I was stress free. The switch was not without consequence. Yes, I fixed that work stress but as that happened, both my home life and my school work became more demanding. I switched jobs, and just worked, but I work hours that do not work out for spending time with the family. I cannot use computers for personal use at work (can’t get homework done), and I am on-call which eats into the school and family time. I am in the final stretch of finishing grad school and now more than ever I fight the stress of the work-life-school demands. To add to this stress, my wife is finishing grad school as well, and we fight over study time.

Now that I shared a snippet of my work-life-school life, I am sure that most you have shared my stress in some parts or another. So yes, we all have stress, and as grad students we have a big juggling act. How do we deal with it? We deal with it in many ways, some negative, but let’s focus on some positives. As I researched this topic, I noticed a few consistent ways to help deal with stress. Here is a link to a graduate and professional services blog page from UC San Diego that provides a number of practical strategies for reducing stress, including learning to recognize when you’re feeling stressed.

We live busy lives, and being grad students with full time jobs, family and community responsibilities, the stress can take a toll on us. The key is to identify the stressors and work on reducing them. I would like to leave you with a few questions to think about and share if you would like.

  • What are some stressors that you face in the work-life-school balance?
  • What are some things that reduce your stress?

References

Grad: Working full-time and studying full-time: Is it possible? – idealist.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.idealist.org/info/GradEducation/Resources/Preparing/WorkStudy

Horowitz, J. (n.d.). CAPS: Blogs for Graduate & Professional Students. Retrieved from http://caps.ucsd.edu/grad_web/grad_blog.html

Mayo Clinic Staff (n.d.). Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress – MayoClinic.com. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-and-stress/SR00036

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About Meade Peers McCoy

I am driven to learn, about the world and the people in it, learn to do new things, learn to see things in a new way.
This entry was posted in Careers, Guest Student Post, Learning at Roosevelt and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Balancing Act: Work-life-school

  1. Kathy says:

    Hi Shay:

    Your post spoke to me–because I too was a working/mother/student for four years. Fortunately, we did not face the added complication of health issues during that time, so it amazes me that you have been able to complete your studies.

    I think that the only thing that kept me going as I completed my doctorate while working and parenting was the knowledge that it wouldn’t be forever–that it was a finite situation and that eventually I would finish my degree. Also, support from my husband and his family helped immensely.

    All the best to you and your family as you finish your studies–the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer!

    Kathy

  2. Eric E says:

    Shay, you really captured the essence of the balancing act. I find myself identifying a hierarchy of priorities and extras, and then I start cutting away from the bottom. I remind myself that this educational pursuit requires sacrifice. Sure, everybody says that they understand but, they all don’t (though they do care). Alignment with the positive forces of those that can contribute to my development is important. I need their insights and encouragement, and I am committed to putting their contribution to good use.
    Stressful? Yes!

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