In this blog series, “Ask a Coach!” our Writing and Learning Center coaches answer our UNC-CH undergrads’ burning questions! Check out what our coaches have to say about everything from taking breaks to utilizing office hours!
Miranda: I think a healthy balance is the most important part of graduate school (or really any stage of school). If you don’t have a sense of work to social balance, it is very easy to burnout. I set specific expectations for my work versus social time. I do not check my email after 7pm during the week and try to take off at least one day on the weekend from work. Reserving time for social activities (or just relaxing time) helped to create boundaries for those times. At the end of the day it is always a give and take. Sometimes you will need to work more and other times you need to take breaks and socialize. It is about learning to know when and what you need.
Jacob: This is such an important question and one that I still often struggle with myself! I found that my work/life balance became much more manageable once I started treating graduate school as exactly what it is…a job. And like with any job, I set clear boundaries for it is my “work time” versus “social time”. Any graduate or professional student knows that no two days are the same, but I try to maintain as consistent of a daily schedule as I possibly can. Even simple goals like arriving to campus and leaving at the same time each day helped me to separate my work life and social time. I struggle with working from home so only doing work on campus is another way that I maintain a healthy balance in my life.
Tony: This is often one of the hardest things to do at any level of your academic career. I still at times find myself having to go back to basics in order to stay on top of this. This became harder once I went ABD (All But Dissertation) and lost the accountability that goes with having a firm schedule. What I will often do during my free time, is to prioritize the events, gatherings and activities that I predict will be the most fulfilling so I can get the most out of my freetime. I will also try to construct a workweek that feels more normalized and regular to recreate the sense of a more firm schedule. This also allows me to be more flexible with my weekends.
This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach, a peer tutor, or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.