During the student panel time a
t the informational sessions hosted by the School of Social work, a HUGE theme is “how do you handle the work load?” And the key is BALANCE!
Prioritize! The hardest part of time management is prioritizing your tasks and getting them done. What’s more important: finishing every paragraph of tomorrow’s reading or having clean underwear and eating a real dinner? turning in this paper in two days or listening to the doctor who says you need
to rest because you have the flu and asking for an extension? Yes, your professors want you to do ALL your assignments and give 110%, but they also want you to be mentally and physically healthy and know that sometimes those two things are mutually exclusive. This is where balance comes in handy!
Set realistic goals! For most people,
it isn’t realistic to turn every assignment in early, while keeping your apartment immaculately clean, and going to every social event you’re invited to on Facebook. When you set expectations for yourself, make sure they are reasonable so that you don’t create a pattern of disappointment in yourself when you are actually succeeding! It can be helpful to have a list of “must do’s” and “hope to do’s,” going back to our prioritizing skills!
P=MSW! This is a phrase that has been past down for many UNC School of Social Work cohorts! The grade scale for the program is H or High Pass (100-94), P or Pass (93-80), LP or Low Pass (79-70), and F. T
his little mantra of P=MSW simply reminds us all that we do not have to get a 100 on every assignment. Just because an H is the best we can get, doesn’t mean that’s what we need to get our diplomas and a career! Now this mindset might not be ideal for you if you’re looking to go further in your studies, but for most of us who are planning to kiss academia goodbye after graduation, a P is just find and dandy!
Remember the end goal! Similar to the last paragraph, all we need to do is graduate. The whole point of pursuing this career path is to help other people in a professional, ethical, and informed way (and get a degree that will help us get a job doing that). In the end, if you aren’t taking care of yourself and practicing the BALANCE, you aren’t going to be able to help others! We often say, “an empty cup cannot fill another.”
But…I want to be real for a moment. This is not easy. It takes practice and constant reminding and support from your classmates, family, and friends. But its only 2 or 3 years (depending on the track you take), and it is WELL worth it!