It can be difficult getting back into the swing of graduate school after summer. Reading, coursework, and the other stresses of grad student life feel extra overwhelming after the short break. Here are some things I like to keep in mind at the beginning of the fall semester.
- Put your health first. Unhealthy eating habits can arise as the semester begins. Remember that cooking, cleaning, exercising, and doing laundry are not leisure activities. Household chores are important even if they aren’t academic in nature.
- Take breaks. If you’re having trouble concentrating, you might genuinely need to indulge in a guilty pleasure like Gilmore Girls or Pretty Little Liars. (Trust me; watching one forty-minute episode during a meal won’t ruin your study plans!)
- Find the organizational methods that work best for you. Pretty planners or to-do lists might be great motivators for some people, but don’t bother with them if they don’t work for you.
- Try to step outside of your department for social activities. It’s important to develop relationships within your department, but you might find that you end up talking about schoolwork even outside of class. Having friends outside your department can help you remember that there’s a world outside your area of study.
- On that note, read articles or books outside your area of study. Young Adult novels help me unwind after heavy course reading. Reading works outside your area of study can also help you come back to the works you’ve been studying with a fresh perspective.
Now for my favorite motivator (cheesy though it may be): Motivational quotes!
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” —Maya Angelou
“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.” —Toni Morrison
“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” —Ray Bradbury
“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” —Kurt Vonnegut
Stacie is a Masters candidate in the Department of English