Ok, here the deal. Grad School wrecks things, like your life.
Not that this is a bad thing, sometimes things have to be broken down to be fixed. Grad school is one of those times where, if you go in and don’t have a plan, you’re going to have a REALLY hard time at it. So you gotta get your crap together to succeed.
This is going to look a lot different to different people. For me, it required going to a shrink, getting help, and rediscovering the joys of a day planner. I’m not going to talk about my mental health journey here, but if you have questions you can reach out to me.
Schedules, however, that I will talk about.
Take this past week for example. I was convinced I wouldn’t forget to put out two posts this week and what happened? I got sick, had a sick spouse, got distracted with school stuff, and put a post out at the last minute.
In my defense, I did get my school work done, but still. The point is, make a schedule and stick to it, then you just trust the process and adjust as needed.
So, Make a schedule 101:
- Get a paper Day Planer.
- Get some colored pens/writing markers
- Get or Print off a monthly Clanader to hang where you can see it daily.
- Learn to use your Google calendar and reminders.
- If you really wanna be special get some small stickers that you like. (there’s no shame in stickers.)
Yes, I recommend all this. Much like in archaeology, redundancy is the name of the game. Use your Monthly calendar to record your big overview, like every other Thursday at 7pm I have a DnD game, and Every Monday I go see my brain doc. I know these are going to happen and I write them on my monthly calendar to remind myself. I also write down school dates, due dates, article, and podcast due dates, and so on. The other nice thing about the monthly calendar is other people can see what you’ve got going too.
The day planner is to keep track of your minutes and hours. When I’m not working in the field, I break my days down into 2-hour blocks and focus on one task in those 2 hours. When I am working I pick one thing a day to work on in the evenings. Whichever, I plan by the week, so I know day to day what I’m doing. Also, I write down my due dates from my calendar on the planner week, so I know what I need to do.
Lastly, make sure to put your important dates in your phone/computer calendar so you can set up reminders.
It seems like a lot, and it probably is at first. but this allows you to know what you are doing any given day and month, so you know what else you can commit to, and when things are due.
Schedule Your Study Time and Posts Too.
Ama, one of the other participants here on What’s Up Archaeology, put together a fantastic posting schedule for us all to use. I recommend doing something like that for your study schedule too. If you have a syllabus that’s a good place to start, chipping things into manageable bites. If you’re making things up as you go along (ahem) then you need to take stock of what you think you need and break that down.
This looks like a bunch of lists that then break down to bulleted lists that move in some kind of order. When doing this, it’s so important to know when things are due, that way you know what timeline you’re working in, and you don’t miss important dates. Like Conferences.
Well, with that, I need to get back to working on maps and critiquing TV shows. I’ve got due dates looming.