And there I was – sited in Room 500 looking forward to the first session of my 810 class. I was excited about finding out which of my former classmates I was going to see again and catch up with. It is always fun to re-connect with other students from your cohort and look back and remember how far we’ve come. Suddenly, I realized that there were at least five people in my class whose faces were familiar but from whom I didn’t know anything about. I knew a couple of names, but that was about it. It was then when I was reminded of how easy it is to miss opportunities to meet exciting people with unique stories and projects.
I cannot speak for all graduate schools, but I am very aware of the fact that our program comes packed with commitments that demand utmost concentration and dedication. Between classes, readings, papers, group projects, presentations, field practice, workshops and research assistantships, we don’t prioritize meeting people (face t0 face), least getting to actually know them. I admit that I didn’t have much motivation to invest time in building relationships that were not easily facilitated by activities such as group presentations. Nevertheless, this has not been the case for everyone. I have observed that some classmates have built strong relationships and spend time outside school enjoying them.
More than self-criticism, this is a reflection on the importance of investing in people around you. Yes, of course, keeping up with school work is pivotal. However, we have to be wise on how we budget our time so that we can accomplish our academic goals without missing the wonderful opportunities we are offered every day in our classrooms and outside of them. I know that is impossible to keep up with everyone’s agenda, but I want to take full advantage of this semester (which also happens to be my last one in SSW) and learn more about my fellow social workers that will continue to sit beside me every week for at least three more months. I believe that this is such a good practice because I doubt that in the “world of work”, that is post-graduation, things will be different. Surely it won’t be homework, but it will be deadlines, projects, trips, work-life balance, etc. Many matters will always be competing for our time and attention. What if we start practicing some hardcore budgeting today? I know I want, and I am thrilled for this learning this skill. It might not be included on our syllabi but it is not less important because of that.