Throughout my second year of grad school, I could not wait for the day when I would be able to just get up, go to work from 8-5, come home, and repeat. Like many graduate students, I was constantly on the run. Between a full-time job, a graduate assistantship, an internship, classwork, volunteer activities, and some form of a social life, I was running around from 8 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. every. single. day. And it was exhausting.
I expected the transition from #SAGrad to #SAPro to be an easy one in terms of energy and regaining free time. I am still in a period of transition, but so far, I could not have been further from the truth. I find myself completely drained after a day of meetings, student appointments, and project work. I want nothing more on the weekends than to just stay at home and binge watch Netflix. My days are shorter, but so is my energy level. I’m not sure if it’s being in one place for most of the day or focusing on one general topic for the whole time, but I feel exhausted by the end.
In my short just-over-a-month on the job, I have developed a few strategies to help regain my energy throughout the day and leave me feeling slightly less exhausted:
This is especially helpful since I am on a new campus that sprawls out for miles in any direction. I like to take a quick 5 minute walk in the middle of the day to refocus and re-energize. At first, I drove to many of my meetings in other campus buildings (because that Georgia heat and I are not quite friendly yet). However, I have made an effort to take my time and walk to meetings that are close enough.
Eat lunch alone.
This may seem confusing since I have written several times before about never eating lunch alone. However, I have found that as an introvert, I really need that hour break to recharge my battery. Sometimes I will walk to the dining area in our student center for lunch. Other times I’ll drive off-campus or just bring my lunch and watch an episode of my latest TV obsession. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy eating with my co-workers or others on campus–I definitely still do that. I have become more self-aware of my needs and realizing when I need to take a break and eat alone.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
This one probably seems obvious. In grad school, I would be up until all hours of the night. I’d wake up early during the week and try to sleep in on the weekends. I have found that since beginning my new position, I am most effective when I keep a schedule. I go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning–even on the weekends.
I am sure the transition will get easier with time, but right now, the struggle is real.