In my blog intro, I promised to reflect on the life of an MBA student and full-time working professional. I think I'm past due for a "how to balance it all"-specific post.
I still remember my first term, and to be completely honest, it was pretty overwhelming. Getting used to new teachers, new subject matter, and a new way of learning - all while keeping up with the day-to-day - was certainly not an easy feat. To make it all work and to push down the feeling of "what have I gotten myself into?!?", I started out with a very disciplined approach. I looked at my work for the entire week and used a planner to record what I wanted to accomplish each day. This tactic of breaking things down into smaller chunks worked very well for me. After a few weeks, I got into a groove and began to see that merging a student and professional life together was indeed very possible.
Now, it is about 1.5 years later, and I am only 4 classes away from completing my MBA and another 4 away from getting my MSSM. I can't pinpoint the exact moment, but somewhere along the way, perhaps in my 2nd term, everything just started to fit together. With each class, it became easier, more natural to find the time to get my assignments done to a high standard while still fitting in socializing time and sleep. Class no longer feels like this extra thing that I have to squeeze in; rather, it is simply a part of my day. With that said, I do believe that strong organization and discipline have remained key components to my success.
In addition, I found tools and techniques that worked well for me after a little bit of trial and error. I still use a planner to record all assignment due dates for the entire term during the first week of class. This allows me to see what I'm up against for the next 3 months and even gives me the chance to plan some small trips and other social activities. As far as actually tackling the assignments, I like to get my reading in during my lunch break and do some work each night so I have free time during the weekend. However, I know that other students prefer to do the bulk of their work over the weekends, treating Saturday and/or Sunday like a full workday. The takeaway is that there is definitely more than one way to be successful in this program; it is in the hands of each individual to find the balance that works for his/her lifestyle and priorities.