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How To: Balance School and Life

Balancing school, family, friends, and a career requires time, effort, and a bit of juggling. But while finding the perfect balance can be a challenge, it’s far from unattainable. Consider the following tips to get more out of grad school (and life).

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Know When to Say When

Before your classes begin, set expectations with yourself, family, friends, and colleagues (if that applies). Earning a master’s degree is about more than attending class, completing assigned reading, and taking tests — team-based projects are an essential part of the tight-knit, interactive learning experience at the W. P. Carey School, and as such your schedule must allow for meetings or calls with teammates.

Program obligations may limit your ability to partake in spontaneous trips or outings, but this doesn’t mean your downtime lacks importance. Make an effort to prioritize obligations, take time to recharge, and communicate with your spouse, parents, friends, boss, and co-workers should conflicts arise.

Manage Your Time

Getting Things Done, the Pomodoro Technique, Evernote, and Remember the Milk are only a few of the hundreds of personal productivity tools available today. Whether it’s an app, software, notebook, or calendar, an effective time management system will help you prioritize and execute projects while finding time to unwind, for an optimal school-life balance.

Stay Active

Exercise can help you make it through a particularly trying day or project, so you might want to reserve a little time for a daily walk, jog, or bike ride. With the rigors of your schedule, getting even a little exercise (and making room for it in your schedule) will help you focus and give you more energy from program start to finish.

Pass the Ball

Remember: Grad school is truly a team effort at the W. P. Carey School of Business. From time to time, you may have to delegate some of your responsibilities, request that someone else take the lead on a big project, or ask your spouse to pick up the slack at home. Delegation can be a compromise in certain situations, but the people around you will know what to anticipate if you set expectations early on.

Whether you’re going back to school full-time or squeezing it into an already busy schedule, it’s possible to get your master’s degree without sacrificing your life. Set yourself up for b-school success by prioritizing your time, continuing to communicate, and staying down to earth.