Students from all disciplines observe that professors devote large parts of their lives to their work in order to be successful in the academy.
In turn, students who feel that faculty expect them to spend every waking minute on their work can become overwhelmed. This feeling causes concern for those seeking to balance success in their graduate career with other interests and responsibilities. To help keep the pressures of graduate school in check, consider these suggestions.
- Ask faculty you admire as role models about their interests and hobbies, and how they balance their professional and personal lives. Ask them to help you balance tasks among your obligations.
- Ask your peers how they balance family or personal problems and what they do when they encounter difficulties.
- Demonstrate through your behavior and work that you are focused and productive when in your office or lab.
- Demonstrate to students that you value each dimension of your life. Be open to bringing up your interests and hobbies. Share your thoughts about the benefits of balancing work and life to refresh and regroup.
- Offer your students tips on managing time wisely and help them understand that large tasks can be broken down into more time manageable components.
- Recognize that students work hard to balance school and home demands. Those with family responsibilities are not able to spend as many hours on campus as other students, but often can be better focused when they are there.
- Learn something about the demands your students face beyond the department. If you sense that a student is encountering difficulties, listen first and offer ideas for solutions. Or, guide the student to appropriate campus resources.