Graduate Student Challenges Numerous challenges exist that a student faces during graduate studies. This paper will focus on three of these challenges that this writer is facing; time management, stress management, and financial responsibility. “You must know where you want to go and what you want to achieve before you start your journey into education. ” (Harvey,2001, para. 2). The challenge of time management in a graduate program is vital to curricular success. Graduate programs require a commitment of time and effort to succeed.
How will you juggle family, work, and a personal life as well as further your education? Organization is a critical skill for success. Becoming organized in your daily life will make the assimilation more likely to end in success. Let your family know just what a commitment you are taking upon yourself. Get the family involved by delegating tasks you normally do but are able to share with others. This means planning your housekeeping, study time, work demands, shopping needs, and of course, time for fun.
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An excellent strategy that will allow for success is to develop a map of your academic responsibilities and mesh them with your daily responsibilities. By using your syllabus, the student can create a calendar of weekly demands and assignment due dates. This will enable you to plan out your study time, meet deadlines, and plan other activities in your life. How much work will you accomplished when your mind is consumed with worries related to classroom issues? When your academic life is in order you will be able to enjoy your time spent in other pursuits. Learn to say no.
Sometimes people take on more than what he or she can handle. Recognizing this will also help you to better manage your time. Being realistic in your time availability is important. Putting in a 20 hour day, every day, is not possible. Do not put off assignments or study time till the last moment. A student will not be as productive or produce quality work in haste. Stress management is an unavoidable issue that every student faces. How we face this challenge varies from student to student. Prioritize your needs and demands. By recognizing what we can and can not do, will help save valuable time.
Be mindful that you can not do it all. Again the strategy of delegating is helpful on stress levels. By delegating the student can lessen some of the responsibilities he or she is facing. Stress management will be critical. Coming into a graduate level program requires emotional support. Feelings of doubt and uncertainty require support system responses. Our perceptions to stressors will vary, but the underlying cause has not. People enter into programs at various stages in their life, thus creating various professional and personal responsibilities.
Take into consideration your entire being. One must look at emotional health, social and cognitive states. These three will play a factor into your University educational experiences. A person is not prepared to learn when stress has become overwhelming. Self-awareness of stress will help you identify when you need a break. Everyone has different stress outlets. Whether it is physical activity, meditation, a trip to the spa, or quiet time with your favorite music, the point is time must be made. By keeping a handle on your level of stress will enable you to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
Making the transition back into a student life can be difficult for the student who has been away from the classroom. Try to embrace changes as they arise. In order to adjust to the change, learn to juggle different roles in your life. Finding time for you is important. Having a person to relate with is extremely beneficial. This person can be a family member, coworker or classmate, anyone helpful to share ideas or just take five minutes to vent frustrations. Speaking with people with graduate experience is of particular benefit.
People with graduate academic experience can share their strategies and tips with you. Learn to ask for their advice is a good way to trouble shoot problems. “You may find that they have a wealth of information or other ways to find resource information that you may not have thought of. ” (P. 2 Harvey). Unless you are independently wealthy, financial responsibility is another common challenge. The decision to pursue graduate studies is not one made lightly considering the time, effort and cost involved. When researching programs, financial aid must be taken into consideration.
Schelin (2006), points out that to ensure adequate funding, one should add a little to the final number to give you a bit of a cushion in financial planning. Develop a financial plan that includes your cost of daily living. Don’t overspend, now is not the time to exceed financial costs. Look into tuition reimbursement at your workplace. Many employers today have various incentives for the professional seeking to return to school. Make sure you become familiar with their requirements for tuition reimbursement.
Nothing is worse than taking the course and passing only to find out you did not meet your employer’s procedures for applying for reimbursement. You will most likely be denied. Looking into scholarship availability, work-study, and the availability of other non-loan funds is important. The money is out there. Finding funds can be a matter of proper research and diligence. Be mindful that you are not the only one applying for limited resources and meeting application deadlines is imperative. Stress, time management, and financial responsibility are all a major factors in succeeding or failing a program.
Clearly visible is how the three challenges overlap one another and universally shared. Finding the right program, early planning, developing support systems, communicating your needs and personal honesty will help promote academic health and success. “Life is inherently stressful, but you can accomplish work, school, and family with a little planning and a lot of conviction. ” (Harvey, 2001, para. 12). References Danesco,B. (2006). How to address the challenges of returning to graduate school. How To Do Things Site.
Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www. howtodothings. com Harvey,J. (2000). The balancing act: Attending graduate school. Nursing Spectrum, Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://community. nursingspectrum. com Kramer,L. (2007). A personal reflection; graduate study challenges and strategies for success. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 26(4), 158-159. Schelin,S. (2006). How to surmount the challenges of returning to graduate school. How to Do Things Site. Retrieved October 15, 2007, from http://www. howtodothings. com