To the Mom Considering Grad School

Stop right there. Reign those ambitious thoughts back in and find a new hobby, or a new TV show. {I highly recommend This is Us, if you’re asking.} Grad school is hard. Like really hard. You have to use parts of your brain you thought you were done with. And the papers. ALL the papers. Remember MLA from high school? Right. Now you understand where this train is going. In grad school, you have to take exams and do group projects and read textbooks.

Are you ready for that?

To the Mom Considering Grad School | Houston Moms Blog

In all seriousness, if you are considering pursuing your master’s or doctorate degree, I applaud you. It’s hard enough to go to graduate school, but also to be a full-time mom/wife/employee/human while going to grad school adds a whole new layer of complication to your life.  However, the rewards upon completion can be tremendous.

The good news is that grad school looks a whole lot different than it did even ten years ago. With online schools, blended programs, and in-class options, there truly is a program out there that can fit into your lifestyle. Before you sacrifice two of your most important assets – your finances and your time – consider this advice from someone in the throes of it all right now.

You manage your calendar; it does not manage you.

A wise wizard gave me this nugget of advice, and it has made all the difference. I doubted said wizard at first, but once I actually started to schedule in my time for reading and homework, I felt less anxious about my studies. I do about half of my homework during the work day; I just schedule the time around my meetings and obligations. I do the other half after I put the kids to bed. I try to get it all done during the week so that my weekends are free to spend with my family. Lesson learned: wizards are smart.

You actually cannot procrastinate.

Remember in college when you would put off studying and then pray your professor changed the exam date? That doesn’t happen in grad school. Especially in an online program. I had homework due on Thanksgiving. Can we just take a minute? THANKSGIVING. So brutal. Anyway, instead of letting the homework infringe on my family holiday, I worked ahead and turned my assignment in earlier in the week. As the self-proclaimed queen of procrastination, I’ve even impressed myself with how I manage to stay on top of my assignments.

Ask yourself WHY?

Why do you want to go to grad school? It’s a whole lot of time away from your family, no matter what kind of program you are interested in. Are you aiming for a career goal, looking at a promotion, or trying to earn more money? Make sure you have a solid WHY to fall back on, or you will be unmotivated and unsuccessful. I’ve given up many naps to do homework, which was a big sacrifice for me. I’ve also learned to like coffee … which was a big sacrifice on my bank account.

Make a friend.

Once you get into your program, find a friend, even if it’s just an e-mail buddy. This will help you to clarify questions you might have that you don’t want to bombard your professor with. Check-in periodically with one another; you need a counterpart to vent to and to bounce questions off of. Trust me.

You probably need this.

Let’s face it, girls. In many career fields, it’s {still} a man’s world. This master’s degree might be just the thing you need that lands you a substantial raise, or helps you to get your foot in the door for your dream job.  I truly believe that bachelor’s degrees are becoming irrelevant in the marketplace as employers are sometimes preferring candidates with a master’s. I know it’s just a piece of paper, but it’s JUST the piece of paper that you want to have hanging on your wall. 

At the end of the day, the grad school decision is yours. In some ways, entering grad school is like parenting: you’re not quite sure what you are getting yourself into, and you are losing an awful lot of money and precious hours of sleep. However, you’re pretty certain that in the end, it’ll be worth your while!

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One Response to To the Mom Considering Grad School

  1. Brooke Cole February 12, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    I can’t agree with this more! I’m a mom in grad school as well and it is HARD. Like ridiculously hard. Whether your program is online or on campus there is no option but to bring your work home with you. You’re basically resigning yourself to years of constant stress. BUT totally worth it. I was a mess for the first few months but creating a self-care routine, a support system, and a rhythm makes all the difference. I’m actually working on building a community of Grad Moms because moms like us need all the support we can get 🙂

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