Balancing my life and school has not been easy; it has been a challenge. Managing my time between daily activities, fitting in classes, studying, and assignments has been a juggling act. I found that each course has been different when it came to intensity and therefore required different levels of time and attention. This meant that I had to make sure my course work was done regardless of what else I had to do on a daily basis. Everything had to be tailored according my course workload.
Attention to detail is something I take seriously, so that tends to eat at my time a lot. I find that I have to make a conscious effort when it comes to my time management. If it were not for my innate will succeed and do well in this program, I think I would have fallen by the wayside.
Now that we are on the time management topic, I cannot stress enough how imperative it is in order to do well in this program. It’s a life skill that everyone should aspire to. Last minute does not work in this program, which I found out quickly. Prior to October of 2014, I worked part time from the beginning of the program. I thought I would have been able to manage, however because of the way I study, I found that working impacted my study hours and I sometimes found myself scrambling sometimes. I had to make the decision to not work in order to put in the required hours for this program. It’s so easy to put things off because there are no physical classes to attend; only to be bombarded close to due dates. If not managed properly, the illusion of having lots of time can have devastating consequences.
Last fall, I made the decision to relocate from Ontario to Halifax to be closer for my labs and my preceptorship location. The move has been great and Halifax is a wonderful city and I’m finally beginning to settle in. Overall the move was beneficial however uprooting seven years in two weeks was the most stressful time of my life. It actually affected my performance because of the time lost to making the transition.
My family, in particular my parents, play a key role in helping me along the way and keeping me focused focus. Self directed study can be draining and it’s easy to get discouraged especially with demanding courses. In addition to my organizer and my calendar reminders from my parents as to why I started this journey in the first place and the end result of achieving my dream, helps goad me on during those difficult days.
Balancing school and life puts forth its challenges and from the feedback I’ve received I’m my biggest critic. This means that I’m very hard on myself based on the standards that I have set for myself. I am learning to give myself credit for what I have achieved thus far and to not be too hard on myself. The way we manage and balance life is dependent on the individual. In the end, it comes down to taking the path of least resistance, staying committed, determined, and focused until the task is done. We are not perfect and we will falter along the way. Once this is recognised, it is important to correct the path sooner than later.