I had the opportunity recently to talk to one of my students over the phone. She was having some challenges with scheduling her life around online graduate school. Then I found out why.
This gal had plenty of reasons to give up and drop out. But she has some really good reasons to keep on trucking and stick with the program.
Physical aliments would have been one excuse and learning disabilities would have also provided a very convenient way for her to back out. I’ve seen students drop out for fewer excuses than she has. Instead, she chose to talk things over with me. That was a very good decision.
You see, this gal is very bright- one of the top students in the class. She writes very nicely and has made great strides in her writing abilities this term. Quite frankly, it would be a shame if she left the program. I have every confidence in her ability to complete her studies, even though she is just getting started in the program.
Yes, she was having some challenges with fitting school into her schedule but we talked through some ways that she could make things happen. I may have shared with you in the past about my Dollar Store oven timer. It’s hard to think of yourself studying all afternoon, but what about hitting the books for 45 minutes (or whatever works for you?).
Set the timer for 45 minutes and work very, very hard for those 45 minutes. Then take a break. Not a long one, but just enough to fluff your pillow, go to the bathroom if need be, grab a drink of water, and then get back to work. Set the timer for another 45 minutes. Another break and then maybe a final 45 minutes, or maybe just 30 minutes.
I wrote a 400-page dissertation in 12 months because of my 45 minutes at a time approach. I promised myself that I would do 2 hours a day, every day, to move me towards completion of that weighty tome. And I did it consistently for 12 months and got that 400-page book done in record time. [My dissertation, which is called “House, M.D. and Indirect Communication: A Close Textural Analysis,” is available on ProQuest.]
So I will encourage you, just like I did my student: Keep your eyes on the prize and get there, 45 minutes at a time. After all, some day you will be X years old. Do you want to get there with or without that degree? It’s your call. And your 45 minutes.