Saturday, February 09, 2008

How I Juggle Working Full-time and Being a Full-Time Student

Grad school is hard.

I have questioned myself many times over during this first month of classes. Is this something I really need to be doing? Is the fatigue and stress worth it? Will something good come out of this? I still believe in what I'm doing, but I do admit that it is harder than I ever thought it would be. Add to that the personality conflict of my artist/idealist dreamer personality that is in stark contrast to the give-me-the-facts/numbers-don't-lie hard-edged business world, and I have an interesting dilemma: can I survive business school with my true self intact? I know I'm only doing this for my own reasons, but are they enough to get me through?

I only reduced by work week by 4 hours, so I still am considered a full-time employee. Since I am limited as a graduate student to 12 credit hours per semester, I thought I was taking it easy. After all, as an undergraduate, I took a minimum of 15 credits per semester and worked in at least one part-time job on the side.

Little did I know. Those 12 hours are pushing me to the limits of my strength. Only six of my hours are graduate-level, and they are online classes (Business Report Writing and Survey of Economic Theory). The two evening classes I take (Legal Environment of Business and Survey of Accounting for General Business) are undergraduate, but equally time-consuming.

As one of my coworkers pointed out, I live two, if not three separate lives all at once. There is my work life, my student life, and my personal life. All three lives require an investment of time, energy, and emotional strength. My brain is being over-clocked! No wonder I crash into my bed and groan when the alarm goes off each morning.

Resenting the time my homework and studying consumes is a new emotion for me. To apply a theory from my Economics course, the opportunity cost of my schooling is the time I get to sleep and/or be with the people I care about. It's a steep price to pay. I have a decision to make each evening when I get home from work: do I crash and watch TV for an hour or two, call a friend to chat, clean house, or study. If I choose any one of those options, then all of the others is neglected. It does not make for a very balanced existence.

Granted, I can use the accounting and business report writing classes, in particular, to further my career or use in any business I choose to start. They are tangible talents. Knowing my way around accounts receivable and unearned business revenue or being able to whip out a professional marketing proposal in a flash will, inevitably, be good for me. Meanwhile, having a basic knowledge of the legal environment is inarguably beneficial, and knowing the economic principles behind business decisions is equally useful. If I can just get through the semester with decent grades, I will happy. Yet, I still wonder, at what cost am I getting this education? Will it truly provide for me three or four years from now, when I am approaching banks for a small business loan, or applying for marketing director positions at mid-sized firms?

Time will tell. In the meantime, I am doing a lot of praying!

1 comment:

Melinda_J said...

I don't feel neglected!

If anything you should be annoyed at the fact that I talked to Faith even after calling you...

I'm a jerk...