HAPPY 3rd WEEK of classes everyone! Most of us are starting to feel the pressure a little bit as the 1st year MLHRs start to gear up for their first, or in some cases 2nd or 3rd, interviews for summer internships and the 2nd years clamor for a permanent position.
WHILE ONE OF THE FOCUSES of my blog is going to be about exploring Columbus and making it your own, I want the other focus to be about work/school/life balance, and I thought I’d address some things sooner rather than later so you can actually make use of them. Although we all seem to be very different, (some of us are single, some of us are not, some of us are working, some of us are full-time, some of us are part-time, some of us are full-time AND working, etc.,) we all have one thing in common: we have relationships that need to be tended to, maintained and cultivated.
“CAN WE MEET UP?” “We need to talk…” Yes we can and yes we should. And here’s why, and it might seem a bit dramatic to some people. But I feel like we need to treat all of our relationships while we are in grad school as if they were long-distance relationships. Some of us, myself included, are in long-distance relationships. For some people, it might have been easy from the start, for others we had to learn to communicate in different ways to satisfy our need for support, kinship and intimacy with those that we love or share bonds with. I’m not just talking about significant others either. I’m talking about our friends, siblings and parents too. You might go days without having any meaningful kind of interaction with them even if they live with you!
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: There is a woman in our 1st year MLHR class. I’ll refer to her as RBB. RBB is bravely, valiantly even!, attempting to complete the full-time program with a husband and two kids under the age of 5 at home. No easy feat. It’s a full-time job that has no hours listed in the job description and it’s an exempt position. On her Facebook page she writes,
finally spending some QT with my husband…and starting to realize how little of this Ill be doing for the next two years…
DID SHE HAVE TO PENCIL it in? Probably. Is there any shame in that? Not at all. Make time for the important people in your life, even if you have to schedule it. Set a date night and stick to it. Work your schedule around it so you have a structured study habit. And then reward yourself with the date night and have some fun.
LET’S LOOK AT MY friends A and R. They both live in Columbus, one is a professional with an 8-5 job, the other is in undergrad five days a week, working four days a week part-time hours. THEY BOTH LIVE IN COLUMBUS, yet only see each other on the weekends. But they set one night out a week that they can spend together, even if it’s only to sleep, and make sure to make the most of their weekend time. They talk on the phone once a night and text throughout the day when possible.
LEARN TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS in different ways that fit your new schedule and lifestyle. Text, e-mail, Skype, whatever. Or try to make sure there’s a person in your life you can text and grab at a moment’s notice too that can meet up and just hang out.
WHAT IF THAT PERSON doesn’t live here? Pick up the phone. Like I said, I’m in a long-distance relationship. Is it awful sometimes? Yes. Me and distance do not work well. Do I wish he was here when I got home from class with a snack or a movie picked out? Absolutely. But we do the next best thing: we talk on the phone every night for at least half an hour without fail. I get to unwind and gripe about my day for 10 minutes, he does the same, and then we talk about nothing, as if we were sitting on the sofa together, not 160 miles apart. So do the same. Call your parents, call your siblings, call, IDK, your BFF Rose. And if you really can’t find the time for a call, at least e-mail.
I KNOW THIS SOUNDS SIMPLISTIC, and as simple as it is, it’s hard to do. That person you left back in Upstate New York or Shanghai or South Dakota or even the other side of Columbus will appreciate it, and so will you. If you don’t maintain those relationships, you lose your social support network. And when it comes time to celebrate that you didn’t fail, er, did better on Dr. Bendapudi’s stat final than you thought you would, who’s gonna be celebrating with you?