Master of Science in Organizational Development

Balancing School and Life

If you are considering earning your graduate degree or have made the decision to do so, congratulations! You will be earning a credential that can provide you with new knowledge, tools and skills to help you in your current or desired role, and often in your personal life as well.

The excitement of embarking on your graduate degree often comes with angst over adding an additional commitment into your already busy schedule. Students often wonder how they will manage it all or if they should wait for a “better” time to go back to school. As much as we always hope for our lives to become less hectic, life unfortunately seems to consistently keep us busy.

That is why, if earning your graduate degree is important to you, you owe it to yourself to look at what is keeping you busy and how to adjust your time to accomplish this important goal. As busy as you are, with a little determination, focus and organization, attending school is definitely achievable.

There is no secret recipe that will work for everyone, but below are a few suggestions to get you started:

Focus on your end goal. Define what is motivating you to pursue your degree and what you hope to gain as a result. Knowing this will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your program.

Share your goal with friends, family and work associates. Having a good support system in place is essential. Those close to you will want you to succeed and can help provide you with encouragement throughout your time in the program.

Pre-schedule study/class time. Assess your current schedule and identify pockets of time to fit in study time. Throughout the day, you may have blocks of time that you could turn into study/school time. Consider getting away on your lunch hour; taking public transportation to work to use that drive time to read or study; or commit to 30 minutes right before you start your work day or right after. Finding increments of time each day will add up to several study hours over a week’s time, without seeming so taxing on your schedule.

An increasingly popular option for attending school is choosing a program offered in an online format. This can make attending class much easier, as you can “attend” at times that work best for you, from anywhere with an Internet connection. It is still very important, however, to ensure you predetermine your school-work time and schedule it just like you would any other important appointment.

Exercise and eat right. It is also important, as busy as you are, not to neglect your health. Choosing a healthy diet and fitting in regular exercise can help you de-stress and feel better when it comes time to study. To fit exercise into your busy schedule, consider a workout video you can do at home; or if you already have equipment at home, dust if off and put it to use.

Schedule time for fun. Scheduling time for activities you enjoy is important, too. After a big project or between semesters is a great time to plan for these types of activities.

Stay the course. There are bound to be periods of time that seem busier than others or when there are more demands on your time. In times like these, stay focused on your end goal; re-prioritize things based on that goal; take a deep breath; and before you know it, you’ll be hanging your framed diploma on your wall.

Finally, as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t – either way you are right.” Believe in yourself, follow that with action and you can accomplish what you set out to do. Best of luck to you and God bless.

This article is sponsored by Abilene Christian University (ACU). ACU offers several online programs, enabling students to integrate a faith-based education with the demands of their professional and home lives. At ACU, you will be part of a university that is a national leader in Christian higher education, and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni strive to make a real difference in the world.