Managing the Whirlwind

At times, my life at HGSE can be a whirlwind. On the academic front, I am enrolled in 18 credits across 4.5 courses (the half coming from a half-semester course). On the extracurricular front, I serve as the VP for Communications for the Student Government Association. And on the employment front, I work as a Special Projects Associate at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester and also help Harvard Square Library digitalize archival materials (and manage their e-newsletter) … all while developing and updating the portfolio of websites of the company I own and manage. It can sometimes put the standard 40-hour workweek to shame when you add it all up.

Lest I’ve scared you away from graduate school, I want to emphasize that my schedule is usually manageable. I’m definitely not perfect myself; there are times when I have to put a note in my calendar to remind me when to eat lunch or dinner. Still, with a little bit of planning mixed with just a dash of time management, it should be possible to juggle both a full course load and a 10-20 hours-per-week internship (and even if you have to pencil it into your calendar, you should definitely have time for lunch and dinner each and every day). As a quick aside, internships are an amazing opportunity to develop and apply your skills to a real world position that affects real people. And not only do some internships pay, but off-campus internships can also be a great mechanism through which you can become better acquainted with the Greater Boston area, especially if you’ve never lived in Boston before (which I never had prior to attending HGSE). The HGSE classmates that I know who have internships have all enjoyed their experiences thus far and have been able to balance the competing time commitments.

I’ve found that setting and adhering to blocks of time for specific tasks and activities can ensure that you complete the things you need to get done by their respective deadlines, while minimizing the amount of time frittered away on procrastination-induced escapades (if you’re unsure what I’m talking about, one of these escapades begins with “face” and ends with “book”). I try to be cognizant of my responsibilities and demands on my time, and don’t let my sense of politeness keep me from saying “no” to some of the countless extracurricular invitations I receive. Unless I figure out how to be in two places at one time, I won’t be able to attend all of them anyways.  When my schedule does free up, there’s always plenty of activities and events I can attend around Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston. By the same token, I set aside blocks of time for fun, and don’t let my academic and work life completely obliterate the rest of my life.  Continuing my pastimes gives me a much-needed break and a sense of continuity with my past.