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Peer Advice: Making time for yourself and your hobbies

Photo of woman relaxing behind her desk

One of the more difficult things about graduate school that I found is having enough time for yourself.

Going to class/labs, studying, and practicing your skills take up the majority of every student’s day, along with the other necessities of everyday living, and it’s easy to settle into this routine. It’s almost a challenge for students to do the things they personally enjoy outside of school, but I believe that this challenge should be taken on in order to prevent potentially negative outcomes. With the amount of studying that graduate school requires of its students, stress, anxiety, and burnout can all build up quickly. Therefore, your hobbies should not be seen as taking time away from studying; in fact, doing your hobbies can allow you to study better and more efficiently. If we split the day into its separate components, I think we can always find an hour or two each day to do something that we enjoy. That could be working out, playing video games, watching a tv show, playing sports, etc. I don’t think it has to necessarily be productive. It’s simply something to look forward to every day, giving you time away from school. Personally, I always make time to go to the gym. Not only does it give me alone time and space from school, but it gives me the energy and desire to actually go back to my studies. I think the success that I found in my first year of optometry school is largely attributed to this. If I can dedicate an hour and a half for something that I enjoy doing, then I get that hour and a half back when I study because I am less distracted and not dilly dallying as much. Overall, the benefits of being able to do your hobbies may be invaluable for students’ mental health. Good mental health is critical for one’s studies and will help in long term success.