What tips can you give me to help me finish graduate school?

Transitioning from an undergraduate program into graduate school can be an adjustment even for the most hard-working and disciplined individuals. Obviously, cramming for exams at the last minute or not completing the recommended readings for class simply won’t fly in graduate school. Although the amount of work you will have as a graduate student will depend on your field, program, school, and personal work ethic, it’s safe to say that you’ll be pretty busy over the next few years so you can finish graduate school.

Go to Work

One approach to managing your workload to finish graduate school is to treat it as a day job. As a full-time student, assume that about 40 hours per week may be spent either in classes or completing reading/writing assignments for your classes. Therefore, you should work a regular schedule (9–5 every weekday) in the same location (your home office or in the library). Give yourself a lunch break each day, and then return to work. Taking breaks is important to refresh your mind, but schedule your breaks so that you can remain efficient and can make the most of your time each day.

Remember to Go Off the Clock Sometimes…

Carve out a bit of time every evening or on the weekend just for “me-time.” If you must work and attend graduate school full time, then you may not have much time for your personal time. However, you should still learn how to prioritize and schedule free time to unwind and relax at least once a week. You will be more productive and will produce better quality work if you allow yourself some time to relax and reenergize..

…Except When it Comes to Networking

Just like in your career, you never know who you may meet and what connections you may make before you finish graduate school. Attend department and university events, and keep an eye out for people who may have similar research or academic interests to your own. Try to present yourself professionally at all public functions, even if the functions are not school related.

There Will Be Overtime

Treating graduate school like a job by setting and following a strict schedule, taking regular breaks, networking, and working overtime may help you better manage your workload and ultimately finish graduate school.


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