I’m a stubborn person, so it took me some time and flexibility to learn how to best manage my schedule when it comes to schoolwork, work, and the rest of life (errands, grocery shopping, housework, personal time, family, etc.) while getting my Master’s in Strategic Communication.
I work in Washington, DC at the Navy Yard and commute from Frederick, a small town in north western Maryland in a vanpool with nine others that live around me. Using my time effectively is essential, both on the ride to and from work, and throughout the day. The majority of the deadlines I face in school take place on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. That means preparing ahead of time what the week will look like (well, what I want it to look like). I oftentimes use my Monday morning ride into work to watch the weekly videos, start the weekly readings, look at the discussion posts, and check out what the weekly assignment will be.
What helps me to manage the work in the online MS in Strategic Communication is to break it up into chunks. Mondays and Tuesdays in the van to and from work, as well as during my lunch time and then after work consist of the readings and videos for the week. The discussion posts, usually due Wednesday or Thursday evening get worked on once I have read and watched the content needed to prepare for the discussion post. Replies to other classmates’ discussion posts are due by Thursday or Friday evenings. The weekly assignment(s) always due by Sunday at midnight consisted of several hours of my time on Saturday or Sunday. So, how do I make time for work, school, and a personal life? Time management.
Like I said before, I’m pretty stubborn, so getting back to Frederick by 5:30 pm, cooking myself dinner, showering, and being in bed before 9:00 pm to be up for work at 4:30 am the next morning requires some dedication and diligence. With the right amount of planning ahead, using time wisely, and sticking to a schedule, managing a school/work/ life balance is hard at times, but achievable.
As I have previously offered advice in my other blog postings, I will offer another piece of advice for AU graduate students: make sure you make time for yourself. Take time to get a massage, a facial, talk to a friend, to visit parents, etc. It is important you talk to others and make time for a social life as well. Being caught up on getting a 4.0 is not realistic. Don’t set your expectations too high, but still, work your hardest.
To learn more about American University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, request more information or call toll free at 855-725-7614.