Balancing Grad School and a Full-time Job — Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

My best friend’s 30th birthday party is tomorrow. Her actual birth day was a couple weeks ago but she wanted to hold off celebrations until after she survived her first finals as a MBA student. Her last test was yesterday so now it’s time to par-tay!

Returning to school for her masters at age 30 hasn’t been an easy adjustment for her. She had to reacquaint herself with the idea of professors, homework, cramming for tests, group meetings and actually being graded on her work. She has also had to rebalance her already full life.

My best friend is married, works fulltime, has school twice a week and teaches a children’s dance class at least once a week. Plus, she manages to squeeze in board meetings, exercise, time for friends and family, and, oh yeah, sleep! I feel exhausted just thinking about it but I love her persistence and dedication. Her life hasn’t changed much since she got married a year ago or started grad school in September. She pretty much does everything she’s always done and more! She’s tired a lot and butts heads with her husband (and myself) over her tightly packed schedule, but she’s determined. She’s someone who not only wants it all but does it all… or at least tries her best to.

Transitions are difficult times in general, given that it means you’re getting used to something new. And when you’re transitioning back into student mode or going back to work after being out of the game for a while, it can be even more frustrating. You remember what it used to be like and you know you can do it because you’ve done it before. Yet, somehow, it feels harder now. The reality is that you have to let go of the old image and perception you have of “the good ol’ days” and keep in mind that your life is very different now.

Back then, school was often our biggest responsibility and it was our routine for so long: we went straight from elementary to middle to high school to college. Once when you’re older with more experience and responsibilities… it takes a little longer to adapt to new schedules and rebalance your life. Face it, it’s difficult enough just getting used to Daylight Savings Time; and when you’re merging two different lifestyles – like those of a student and an employee or a parent and a business owner – it takes patience and, often, sacrifice.