Budgeting Your Time as an Online Graduate Student

Written by Odessa L. Isaac

The decision to go back to school after having a baby was not an easy one to make. How would I be able to raise a child, attend school, and work? It seemed like there wouldn't be enough time in the day to accomplish everything. After deciding that obtaining another Master's degree would be the most beneficial for my family, I realized I would need to learn how to manage my time effectively so that I wouldn't fall behind in any area that depended on me.                

Being in the online Master's of Public Administration program, I knew that classes would move at a fast pace, only lasting 8 weeks at a time. At the beginning of each module, I write down all chapters to read and the assignments with due dates. I've also realized it's important to prioritize.  There's not a lot of time for leisure activities once my child goes to bed--yes, that means I no longer watch television or movies (unless I complete everything for that week!), but that's only a small price to pay to better my future. I devote my time to reading assigned chapters, homework, papers, and studying for exams.

Another important concept to remember is incentives--reward yourself!  It's easy to want to take a night off and just relax, but the sooner you get everything finished, the better.  After reading all of my assigned chapters and completing everything that's due, I treat myself to an ice-cream and a good movie.  It may not sound like much of a reward, but it's nice to have one night a week just to relax.  If I don't get everything finished by MY set date, I don't reward myself.  It really makes me work harder the following week. It's not easy being in graduate school with a family and a job, but it is possible. I don't get to do many leisure activities now, but I know that everything will be worth it for my family in the future.

Published on October 28, 2014