Around this time last year, I was getting myself ready to start my first year of graduate school. I knew it was going to be a challenge adding evening grad school classes to a full time job and a blogging side hustle. But graduate school has been on my mind since my sophomore year of college and I knew was an experience I needed in my life.
During my calm weeks, like the start of the quarter or after midterms, I was spending close to 60 hours working, blogging and going to school. During my busiest weeks, I probably spent up to 90 hours a week getting everything done. Unfortunately midterms and final papers don’t disappear when your work schedule ramps up or your blog and social content is due to your PR contacts/brand collaborations. Regardless of my crazy schedule, I’m thankful that last year was an incredible year of lessons of expanding my limits and stepping out of my comfort zone.
With only a few more weeks until my last year of grad school, I feel so much better prepared than I was last year. Now I know what to expect, change, and when to be flexible. So today I’m sharing how I’m prepping for grad school and how you can prep too!
Here 5 Ways to Prep for Grad School this year:
Prep for Grad School Tip #1: Review all your work, school, and side hustle schedule at the beginning of the week
With three important commitments in my life, I’ve learned how important it is to plan, add events as they pop up, and look at the week ahead of my two different planners.
At work we use Outlook to send meeting notices, propose new times, and book conference rooms. So I manage my work calendar on Microsoft Outlook. On Mondays, I do my best to update my work calendar with meetings or deliverables I need to complete that week.
My biggest tip to managing my work schedule is: I’ll literally block out time to work on certain tasks so people don’t schedule over them (sometimes they do and I make it work). For instance, if I know I’m going to be presenting in front of our executive leadership on Thursday, I block out 30 min to myself on Wednesday. I’ll spend this time just practicing my pitch in a conference room.
On a separate notebook planner, I organize my school assignments, weekend workshops, and all my blog events/content calendar. Once I get the syllabus from class at the start of the quarter, I write down all of the assignments, tests, and events in my planner. So when I sit down on Sunday/Monday to look at my planner, I at least know what homework assignments are due.
After look over my school items, I review and add any blog events or social content on my calendar. I typically slow down on all in person blogging events during the school year. But if I do have an event, I make sure to write it down so I won’t forget it. With blog content, I try to at least have my two blog posts at least drafted at the beginning of the week. I also pick the two days I want to publish the blog posts and write them down on my planner.
Prep for Grad School Tip #2: Print all your readings at the start of the week
When I look at my schedule at the beginning of the week, I specifically look up and print out all my readings due in class that week. Even though it’s convenient to read on my laptop, I’ve always known that I consume and retain the information better when I can read through, highlight, and physically make notes through the reading.
I like to print out all my readings at the beginning of the week so I’m prepared to work in a coffee shop after work where there isn’t a printer. Even though this is a small tip, it will save you time and a headache to print out all those readings at once so you have access to them!
Prep for Grad School Tip #3: Grab everything you need at once
When the school year starts, I’m definitely crunched for time. I’ve learned to grab everything you need at one time vs. making trips to the mall or grocery store throughout the week. I try to do this at the start of each month or quarter. I pick a place where I can get everything I need at once! The school year hasn’t started yet, but I’ve already implemented this tip.
With New York Fashion Week, a work trip to LA, and a trip to Oregon all planned in this month, I knew I needed to grab my back to school essentials early. Luckily the Tacoma Mall and I teamed up this month to make sure I got all my back to school and fall essentials. Here’s what was on my list:
A nude lip color and highlighter from BareMinerals
A denim skirt from H&M
And a comfy, preppy top from Forever 21
And button down dress from Tilly’s!
I was excited to grab all of these things for the school year and for New York Fashion week! If you live in the South Puget Sound/Tacoma area, Tacoma Mall has everything you need for a one stop shop! I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day and did my Holiday shopping at Tacoma Mall this past year already.
Whether you need make up, clothes, shoes, or workout gear, the Tacoma Mall has got you covered. By the way, did you know there is a Lululemon Athletica Pop Up Shop that opened a few weeks ago? My sister and I stopped by and was surprised to find how big the pop up shop was! I personally love Lululemon workout leggings and headbands so I was excited when I learned that the Lululemon pop up shop came to the mall. The pop up shop will be at the Tacoma Mall through the Holiday Season!
Thank you to the Tacoma Mall for helping me get ready for this school year!
Shop all my pieces:
Disclosure: This blog post was made in collaboration with the Tacoma Mall. All my opinions are my own.
Prep for Grad School Tip #4: Continue to let others around you know about your schedule and commitments each quarter
I’ve shared this tip before in a previous blog post: 4 Pieces of Advice for Balancing Grad School, Your Full Time Job and Side Hustle. And I’m sharing it again because I’ve learned that the endeavors I take also affect others around me. For instance, when I my class gets out at 10 pm on Wednesdays or I sign up for a Saturday class, I know I’m going to spend less time with my loved ones. I do my best to update my boyfriend, family, and friends of my schedule.
If you’re getting ready to start grad school, a new side hustle, or switch jobs, my advice would be to let others around know of your plans. It’s nice to have a support system when you make those changes or transitions in life. And your support system will also appreciate it if they’re in the loop.
Prep for Grad School Tip #5: Research all the classes you’re interested in at the start of the school year
Registering for classes can be stressful – especially if you have NO IDEA what classes you want to take. I’ve learned to read through all the program classes that were offered in the past and to write down the ones I want to take. So when the classes are released for registration, I don’t have to stop and research all the classes since I have my list of classes that I want to take.
Last year, I was dead set on taking a video storytelling and UX Psychology class. So when the classes became available for registration for winter quarter, I jumped on them. For this year, I’m super interested in taking audio storytelling (setting up podcasts), UX classes, and a project management class.
What are your tips for preparing for grad school?
For more tips about balancing grad school, a side hustle, and a full time job, you can also check out:
How to Find Balance in Your Life – When You Blog, Work Full Time, and go Grad School
How I keep my blog going with a full time job and grad school
Thank you for reading!
Karya Schanilec Photography