A couple of times at the beginning of the semester, I said to a few people, “I don’t think this semester’s gonna be all that stressful.”
Ha ha. What was I thinking? I’m in graduate school, for crying out loud!
Crying out loud….this week’s variation on thinking out loud.
I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks just how busy I’ve been. Almost every hour of my day is filled, and if I do have “down time,” it’s because I’ve built it into my schedule, not because I’ve come by it naturally. I feel like I’ve been going, going, going….but I never get to the ‘gone.’
I did have a very difficult course load last semester, and my academic work this semester has been much more manageable in comparison. But, of course, it’s still a graduate student course load, which means plenty of reading and writing–often of very complex texts.
I teach two sections this semester. That means more grading. On the other hand, I have already taught this course before, which means lesson planning tends to be a lot quicker; I already have most of the materials I need.
This alone? Manageable. Like a full-time job. Maybe a little less some weeks, maybe a little more.
What I don’t always “factor in,” however, are all the things that keep me busy besides school.
- Swing dance. Relieves my anxiety in a way that mindfulness medication and yoga never have.
- Cook food for myself. Not only can I eat very few pre-processed foods because of the low-FODMAP diet I follow for my IBS, I’m hungry a lot of the time. And I’m a foodie. That combo keeps me very busy just feeding myself. (That said, I made this low-FODMAP Cincinnati chili in the slow cooker today. Slow cookers = genius time-saving devices!)
- Buy food. Grocery shopping is also very time-consuming for someone on the low-FODMAP diet.
- Also I’m an adult with an apartment to clean and taxes and laundry to do and a bike and vehicle to maintain. I mean, I get that most everyone has that–at least, most everyone over the age of 18–but I’m just sayin’, it’s another thing that takes up time. Folks who do all this stuff for more than just their beautiful selves have every right to claim “homemaker” as a profession.
- Attempt to get around Fort Collins without a car as much as possible. Not only better for the environment and keeps the gas bills down, but also, you can park on CSU campus, and I live about 2 miles south. Not complaining; love my apartment; but even just getting to and from campus takes about 45 minutes of my day.
- Exercise. I do spin class, and when I can’t get to that, take myself for walks and hikes and bike rides, speaking of which…
- Try to enjoy this beautiful state of Colorado and awesome town of Fort Collins which I just move to in the past year.
- Have a social life and a relationship.
- Self-care. That includes self-care in the sense of doctors, dentists, my therapist. But also in the sense of taking time for myself. Sometimes I really need a little Star Trek, coloring, or even just a nap.
- Blog. Hi, guys. It’s not just writing, as y’all fellow bloggers know, but reading, commenting, building a network, promoting the blog on social media, developing recipes, taking photos. I love it! I really do. But it takes time.
I love my life right now. I love its fullness, variety, excitement. My gap year between undergraduate and graduate school was certainly less busy, but I wouldn’t trade this year for that for the world.
But it’s starting to catch up with me. It’s been wearing on me. I’ve started dropping balls, doing things at the last minute, getting behind. Hence publishing this post at 7 pm. Oops.
Thank goodness for spring break next week!
Do you get to take a spring break this year?
What are the “little things” that you don’t always count in your time budget, but take up time nonetheless.