There is never enough time. As a graduate student I feel that I am bound by the hands of the clock. I am caught somewhere between the minute and the hour hands, constantly trying to keep up with the seconds as they mechanically march like an automaton into tomorrow. But I’m tired. The daily chase is hard. It’s 1:47 a.m. and I still have one more page to write for this case review. In the morning I will have to make it to the campus by 8:00 a.m. for our school’s breakfast career series with a senior engineer from Obrien and Gere. That means that I am going to have to get up by 6:00 a.m. to catch the 7:00 a.m. bus in order to…*dozing off*…noo!! Got to stay awake!!… And O&G is actually a company that I really like. I just hope I don’t fall asleep during his presentation. That’s definitely something I don’t want to do if I intend to network after his talk…sigh…the struggle is too real. If I had only 4 more hours in each day I would be content. How else am I expected to complete assignments, study, do additional readings, put in hours at my part-time job, keep up with the news, stay fit, eat healthy, do my laundry, keep on the job hunt, get the recommended 7 hours of sleep (it really is a nice thought) all while having a social life. There are simply more activities than I have time.
That was then.
Grad life is impossible—that was the only conclusion I could draw at the time but I refused to remain chronologically challenged. I summoned the powers of my organizational and time management skills. Surely they were enough to create the order that I needed. I made a spreadsheet with the 13 weeks of the semester in rows and the courses that I was taking for the semester in the columns. I added 2 extra columns for career building and personal pursuits. Instantly I could see my schedule way in advance. I could prioritize accordingly and could set action items for myself so that I would not neglect key tasks. I also implemented “time compression techniques” (as I called them) doing many items simultaneously or just reducing the time on a given task. I would utilize apps that read the news to me while I was cooking or in the gym, bought a bike to reduce my walking time, changed my reading technique to absorb more in a shorter time, among other things. Apart from scheduling, just taking careful note on how much time I allocated to each task and making an effort to do it more efficiently produced the hours that I was so in need of.
Fast forward to 12:27 a.m., today.
I’m finishing this blog and right on time for my 1:00 a.m. “bedtime.” Time waits on no man, and definitely not for me, is what I have come to learn. Graduate school has taught me how to be a better master of time instead of a slave to it. It is valuable preparation for the real world where success in the workplace is largely determined on how well one can maximize the time given. Time after all is money—and those who make the best use of time will be that much richer.
– Levon Whyte ’13 (MS)
“Scribendo cogito- I think by writing”