Jess Tate: A day in the life

By Jess Tate.  Posted March 5, 2014.

In hoping to give everyone a glimpse into life as a graduate student, I thought I would go through my typical day as a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology, which looks consistently similar to that described below:

7:00am: Wake up, look at calendar to see meetings and schedule for the day, and respond to emails that I may have received from my students throughout the night (Each day is very different)

8:30 am: Kickboxing at Farrell’s (huge stress reliever and gets my day started on the right foot)

10:00am: Let my dog, Koda, outside and walk him, shower, get ready really quick then head out the door for a busy day in which I am always rushing from one meeting or place to the next.

11:00am-4pm or so

  • 1-2 classes each 3-4 hours a piece
  • In between class I work at my assistantship (20hrs per week)
  • Several meetings with students each day that I advise
  • Checking email constantly
  • Head to Lincoln Northeast to see my clients
  • Snack on food and eat lunch/dinner that I pack (attempting to eat very clean)

4:00pm: Head home and let Koda out and walk/play with him for about an hour

5:45pm: May go to another workout if I am really feeling ambitious, mainly to get out of my desk space

7:00pm: Head home and let Koda out and walk/play with him for about an hour

8:00pm: Head back to my office and tackle homework/reading/papers until about 11pm

11:00pm: Come home and go straight to sleep.


As a second year doctoral student my life has continued to increase with intensity; however I have learned to embrace it and remind myself of the end goal! The schedule above is my average day for this current semester. Next year it will change drastically because I will start my field placement and will see clients at the prison for 20 hours per week in addition to 20 hours per week at my assistantship, plus 12 credit hours of courses.

With this schedule I have learned to cherish the moments of relaxation which tend to occur on the weekends or when I schedule time for it.  Self-care is essential for any graduate student, but first it is important to identify what that may be.  Personally, working out/exercising is my release from the busy days and serves as my self-care. Below are just a few tips for preserving your health and sanity.

  • Identify what internally fulfills your needs.
  • Take deep breaths at each stop light and reflect.
  • This may require stepping outside of your comfort zone at first.
  • Schedule times to participate in your favorite hobbies.

I believe self-care is such an overlooked portion of life as a graduate student, and will expand my views and tips in a future post.


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