What to Do When You’re Struggling with Your Master’s Degree
Entering a master’s program after graduation can be exciting, but it can also become exhausting. If you’re returning to school on top of work, then you may feel as though your professional life and academic one is constantly vying for your attention. You have to choose one over the other or only dedicate yourself partially to both. Trying to make everything work while juggling all your typical responsibilities can quickly lead to burnout. Getting back on track is essential, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental health. Luckily, there are ways to get over burnout without taking a break.
Identify Your Priorities
Setting priorities means you have to be willing to assert boundaries. Your time is valuable, but it is not infinite. You will have to choose which tasks to dedicate yourself to and reconcile with the fact that some things will have to be put on the backburner. There are other responsibilities you may have to delegate to others. While you might feel like you have to do everything, the reality is that you can’t do everything well. Success comes from the ability to prioritize both what must be done and what is most important to you. Anything else is flexible, but you must be willing to relinquish some control. It’s okay to step back and say you have a lot on your plate, so you can’t handle more right now.
Figure Out Your Finances
Money is a huge source of stress, and it can worsen burnout. Make sure that you are working as best you can with the money you have available. Think about how you can pay for your graduate degree and finance your future without putting yourself into a more stressful position. Explore student loans from private lenders online, using sites that are easy and user friendly. They help you compare loans and find one that works for you. Alleviating stress may also come from getting more serious about savings. A scarcity mindset can cause you to overspend, which in turn fuels the stress that comes from not having enough money. Easing stress by saving more will free up mental space, allowing you to focus more on your studies and less on finances.
Set a Study Schedule
Even if you are attending a program full-time, you need a schedule that leaves plenty of room for breaks. There are periods where you will be pushed harder, but there is a difference between being challenged and being run ragged. After a certain point, you may lose sight of your effective exam preparation techniques and your overall studying is no longer productive. Instead, you’ll find yourself rereading the same material without absorbing any information. You rush through assignments, hoping they sound articulate and well-versed, when in reality you can’t even recall a thing you’ve done the last week. Schedules should reflect your most productive hours and available time. Some people study better during the evening while others are most alert and engaged in the morning. Do what works for you, and set reminders to take 10 to 15 minutes each hour to recharge away from books and screens.