As a graduate student who went straight from undergrad to working on my master’s degree, while staying at the same school, I am in a somewhat unique position. While my schedule and location of my classes have changed significantly, I am fortunate that I stayed in the same environment thus allowing me if I desire to remain a part of the extracurricular activities I was involved in during undergrad.
While I am no longer involved in the organizations that pertained to my undergraduate major (public relations), I do still compete with the synchronized skating team and still coach figure skating to local kids. Both of these activities were very manageable during fall quarter, as it is not competition season. Yes, I had to put in longer hours when it came to schoolwork, but it was nothing I wasn’t used to.
Then came winter quarter.
Skating kicked into high gear from week one of the quarter, and I became increasingly more stressed. Not only are we out of town multiple weekends of the quarter, but I have work for my GA and practicum, classes and work from my internship at home as well. Another issue that cropped up, was that pretty much everyone on the skating team is in undergrad, and doesn’t fully understand that while I’m still at the school as I was last year, my experience this year is very different.
The lesson I learned from all of this is that being a graduate student and being involved in extracurricular activities (particularly those that are better fit for undergraduate students) is a balancing act, but it can be done. Prioritizing is crucial.
In the last few days, I seem to have finally gotten into a routine and have begun successfully balancing what seems like a zillion activities. The moral of this story? Graduate school is very different from undergrad, and treating it like undergrad often doesn’t work. However, it is possible to hold on to some of the remnants of those activities if you’re willing to put in some extra time.