I’m beginning my fourth semester of graduate school here at Texas State University majoring in Agricultural Education. I am currently working on my thesis as well as an additional publication with my advisory professor Dr. Tina Cade, while serving my second term as Graduate House Representative for the College of Applied Arts and also working full-time for the university as an advisor for the Upward Bound program. It is one thing to start graduate school but quite another to learn how to conduct research and work 40 plus hours a week and remember to save time for studying, writing papers, and maintaining somewhat of a social life. It was not until I found a happy medium through healthy, learned time management skills that finally made it all possible.
Conditioning myself to actually integrate the concept of micromanaging my time into my daily routine the first year brought with it a whole new kind of stress I had never experienced. It took me a solid year before I really understood and embraced the meaning of micromanaging my time. I finally realized the key to managing the stress of so many deadlines and papers was to account for all those seemingly lost minutes throughout the day. I also had to remember crunching for exams was out the question and breaks are crucial when spacing out extended hours of studying. I used to look forward to the weekends and getting out on a regular basis, but now when Friday night rolls around I honestly really look forward to hiking and going to the river with my dog, Boomer. During the semester my weekends are generally reserved for resting, catching up on reading, papers, research, and working at the Bobcat Blend compost site for additional research.
I have definitely found an ideal time to catch up on reading and research is during Spring Break. Spring Break has proven to be an exceptionally valuable time to utilize extra hours for catching up on not only research, but rest as well. The majority of students leave for the break and our small town becomes really peaceful and quiet, turning the local coffee shops into the perfect spots for posting up and studying all day long. Last spring break I spent nearly 40 plus hours completing nearly half of all my data collection for my thesis proposal.
The advisors and professors here at Texas State University in the Graduate College are the reason I will be successful and achieve my dreams out in the real world. Working and maintaining an open line of communication among my professors has been key to dealing with the stressors of graduate school and genuinely understanding the material and opportunities presented before me. They truly understand graduate school is not easy, but their willingness to mentor and assist in any way possible along the way make those exhausting days, long nights and early mornings possible.