Guest Author - D. Lynn Byrne, Ph.D.
If you are a first-year graduate student, you may have already discovered that time--or enough time--is hard to come by. Graduate students, especially those enrolled full-time, typically find their personal lives taking a back seat to their professional lives. Family and friends, especially those that have never experienced graduate school, often express confusion with this phenomenon. After all, you are "just" a student. It is not like you are in class all day. Surely you have enough speare time to make a phone call, stop by to visit, go out for lunch, or attend family events?!?!?! Not!
What your family and friends may not understand is that for every hour in the classroom, you are likely putting in three to four hours in "other" school-related activities such as reading, studying, researching, writing, or group work. And, you are adding all of this class and "other" time on top of that you are probably already dedicating to a graduate research/teaching assistantship or work outside the university. All of these "little" activities leave you with very little "left-over" time to do things other than eat, sleep, and take care of your basic needs. Family and friends are usually pushed to the bottom of your "to-do" list just so you can cope with your everyday life.
But, it does not have to be this way. At least, not according to Jim Claitor and Colleen Contreras, autors of Build the Life You Want and Still Have Time to Enjoy It. Claitor and Contreras write that you can "build yourself a better life" -- even when stressed out by an endless stream of activities. It just takes some extra effort on your part and a true committment to changing your behaviors.
In their book, Claitor and Contreras have put together a series of 9 steps to help you re-create your life. Whether their method works, I cannot say for certain--I'm still experimenting with the method. But, if you are feeling the strain of a seemingly endless stream of activities and committments, it might be well worth a try. As the authors note, "Work is important. Very important. But so is your outside life."
Interested in this book? Build the Life You Want and Still Have Time to Enjoy It is currently available through retailers and online booksellers for $15.95 USD. Pick up a copy and give it a try.
Until next time!