If I look back at 2016, a lot happened. But the one thing that seemed to consume most of my time and definitely all of my free time, was grad school.
It was on the forefront of my mind most of the year and while in and of itself it would not have been too bad to handle, on top of working full-time and coaching, it was rough.
That being said there were a few things that made life a little easier! After comparing my list to some friends’ lists, here are the things that helped us through.
- Music. Probably the number one thing everyone said was music. Personally I have a Spotify subscription and absolutely love it. I am someone who loves to study with classical music but also likes cheesy pop music every now and then and Spotify has it all.
- Headphones. This goes along with number one but there is nothing more important than good sound. Since I am doing my master’s through an online platform, I also need headphones for every class and group meeting. Favorites? Beats in ear headphones. Not bulky to carry around but provide great sound and a good amount of noise canceling.
- Notebooks. A good old notebook to take notes and write down ideas (they must be pretty). Ideas can often come at the oddest times and having somewhere to write them down means you won’t forget. Having a small notebook for each class is a great way to keep track of everything, whether class notes, questions or just random information.
- Tea, Coffee or your favorite comfort drink. Personally I love my Special T machine from Nestle and you can always find me drinking rooibos or peppermint tea. But really what is important is to have something that keeps you going. I’m not a fan of coffee or energy drinks but whatever works for you. Just stock up, you’ll need it.
- Food. You’re going to need fuel so keep a good stock of healthy and some naughty food! Late night study sessions may just require a snickers to make it through. Refer to the next item on how to combat the unwanted weight.
- A distraction. You can’t study 24/7 and sometimes you just need a little break to recharge. Personal favorites are adult coloring books (also like the kids ones), Lego sets, knitting, or pretty much anything else that uses my hands. Sport is also a great way to get out of the study funk and to try and keep those inevitable pounds from piling on.
- A planner. I’m old school when it comes to keeping track of everything I have to do. For 2016, I tried the Erin Condren Life Planner and so far so good! There are different layouts and awesome stickers available to liven it up.
- The Cloud. Keep everything there. It makes life so much easier when switching from a home computer to a laptop or to a work computer when travelling. Knowing that you have access to everything at anytime is a great stress relief. Only caveat is if you’re working with video files, then invest in a good quality external harddrive!
While that covers the material list of things, there are non-material things that are just as important for your sanity.
- Really good friends. Those that get what you’re trying to achieve and won’t think any less of you for not making it dinners, birthdays, random get-togethers or just being horrible at communicating. They know once you’re done with it all you’ll be back to your normal self.
- A shoulder to scream/cry/rant/say nothing/go crazy on. It could be a few shoulders or just one but having someone that will be there for the late night “what’s the point of all this?” conversations and to pick you up when you’re feeling down. Most importantly they will be the people that you celebrate with in the end!
Everyone’s list will look different and some of the answers I got included paper textbooks vs e-textbooks, alcohol, your reason for doing it, there is light at the end of the tunnel, time management, sleep, a sense of humor, a good laptop, and Netflix. But the most important thing is to know what works for you and have those things ready!
What has helped you through a busy period? I’m ready for 2017 🙂