Congratulations and welcome to MBKU!
In the months leading up to PA school, I joked around a lot about not seeing people for the next 27 months, but a part of me also believed that I truly would not have the time. I went in with the mindset that school would be my biggest priority, not allowing for movie dates or chit chat over coffee and eggs benedict. However, burnout is the limiting factor in my productivity and I quickly learned that as important as school is, my biggest priority needed to be myself. I also chose to get into a long distance relationship 1 month before school started (a little crazy, I’ve been told); I knew for that to work, I needed to find a balance. Here’s a list of how I’ve managed my friendships/relationship and prevented burnout so far:
- Set both a dedicated time to study and when to stop.
With the exception of a couple days before exams, I don’t study past 10 PM. I sleep around midnight, which gives me about 2 hours to decompress with a netflix show or valorant game. This also allows for scheduled relationship time, which is how my boyfriend and I have been able to cope effectively with the distance. Setting this boundary from school has been essential for me in preventing burnout, because it ensures I have space and time in my life daily for what I love.
- Take advantage of the weekends following an exam, but make sure you rest too!
One of the best things about the curriculum and scheduling here at MBKU is the fact that exams are almost all on Friday. Once you pass, you can use the weekend to get ahead on some material, but I recommend using a majority of that time to do something or to see someone you love. Avoid stacking your plans too high though, so you don’t run low on energy for the following week.
- Incorporate people into your errand runs and meals.
I often forget that life keeps going and that there are things I have to take care of outside of school. It feels less like a chore and more of a nice break when I’m able to take someone I care about with me on a snack run or for car maintenance. When it’s a classmate, we like to sporadically quiz each other on material while we’re out. Also, regardless of how much school work needs to be done, I still gotta eat! I definitely use that necessity as an excuse for lunch or dinner dates with friends.
- Make plans you can look forward to and plan ahead.
Having plans to look forward to has served as a big source of motivation for me. Knowing what’s on your social calendar in advance also means you can set some extra time aside during the days leading up to it to study. I often try to wake up an hour earlier than I usually do, or stay later at school to study the week before, if I know I have something coming up where I won’t be able (or won’t want) to study during.
- Accept that some days, your brain needs to recharge.
It’s easy for me to feel guilty when I’m not studying, but I’ve found that if I’m trying to learn something and I don’t get it after a few times, it’s not going to stick. Taking full days off here and there and trying again the next day has helped me grasp material more readily. On those days, I like to engage in activities I find relaxing – yoga, face masks, light tidying up, etc.
I hope if you choose to implement any or all of the above, that you find yourself with the energy to excel in grad school. No matter how hard imposter syndrome hits, remember that you are meant to be here and deserving of all your success. Good luck!