This has been on my mind since we are in the midst of midterms: keeping a “work” and life balance while in grad school. At the Rackham Graduate School as well as the School of Public Health orientations the speakers hammered in the importance of having a life. This can be hard to do when your to-do list gets longer even as you cross things off. There’s always class reading, mini-projects, assignments and various other academic distractions.
I don’t know how my fellow students are taking care of their stress (it’s not just me, right? Right?) but I try really hard to have time that’s not devoted to school. I have to constantly remind myself that being in grad school isn’t about getting the 4.0 to get somewhere. It’s about learning how to apply concepts and think critically. It’s definitely one of those struggles that I feel many students have because they’re used to measuring the amount that they know or understand by their grade. Unfortunately, many teachers also subscribe to this and so a vicious or “futile” cycle (thanks, EHS 630!) ensues.
Anyway, back to dealing with the school and life balance. For me, there are some things that I will do no matter how busy or stressed I am such as cooking and preparing my meals. Is this time-consuming? Yes. But, I love being in the kitchen and knowing what goes into my food is very important to me. I’ll also take time out to go to the Wednesday and Saturday Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market. I could sleep in on Wednesdays until my 10am class but I’d rather be a little sleep-deprived and ensure that my fridge is stocked. Also, I indulge myself with a bagel and coffee at Zingerman’s Deli.
Dinner parties with friends also keep me sane. We’ll toss a couple of chickens on the grill, make a huge salad and crack open some (homebrew) beers. The best time for these parties is during the week so that you can totally forget about school for a few hours.
Also, having pets. Watching my cat lounge around definitely calms me down.
What about you? Do you try to maintain a balance? What sorts of activities do you use to diffuse the stress?