Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine.
Well, she’s more than just a friend.
I’ve been friends with her since circa 2000.
She sent me the following email with an attachment of her Graduate class schedule beginning spring of 2015;
Do you think I can set it up and do 2 classes in the summer?
Don’t want to overwhelm myself an[d] still want to have a [social] life during [the] summer.
Any feedback is appreciated!
My response was as follows;
I did two classes both summers that’s how I was able to finish in two years.
You can have a social life you just have to plan accordingly for special things.
Grad school isn’t forgiving, you can’t miss conferences or ask for extensions it doesn’t work that way and if you ever drop below a 3.0 you’re out.
So do I think you can do it?
Yes, but just know school is your number 1 priority not a social life.
A social life comes last.
(she knows why my response was my response)
Perhaps I take my time management for granted.
My number one priority hasn’t been a social life for as long as I can remember or for as long as I’ve been an adult.
it’s been sleep.
According to WebMD adults require 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep.
I’m definitely on the higher end.
A doctor was quoted in this article saying while some can “function” with six.
Function? I don’t want to merely function and neither should anyone else.
In my humble opinion anyways.
When I hear braggadocios comments about the lack there of sleep an individual gets on a regular basis I want to put ten bags of sleepy time tea in their caffeinated drink and then drag them in a corner and put a pillow under their head.
When I began my graduate program in the fall of 2012 I knew it would be no joke.
I religiously printed my syllabus at the beginning of every semester and mapped out my semester.
Creating calendars with all of my due dates from simple things like conferences to more serious things like term papers.
Everything made it on the calendar.
I even shared it with other students in the event it would be helpful for them too.
In the words of RCCL, “why not?”
After all, we’re all in this together.
it’s not a race to see who finishes.
We all want to finish.
Organization in my book is so key.
Organization in my surroundings equal organization in my brain and vice versa.
More important was sleep.
In the beginning of my graduate studies I received an email from the dean that everyone received.
In summary, it said in order to remain in the graduate program the student’s GPA was never to drop below a 3.0.
If you haven’t read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In you should read it.
Amazing read about, ‘women, work, and the will to lead.”
One of the things she discusses is the very real dialogue women have with themselves about the possibility they might be a fraud and someone will discover them one day and/or they’ll fail.
Essentially not believing in one self from time to time.
Welcome to Self Doubters Anonymous!
“Hi, I’m MJ and I doubt myself from time to time.”
Throughout each semester as I worked full-time and went to school full-time I would create spreadsheets that would tally up my current grade as I received my grades.
I was too inpatient to wait until the end of the semester to know exactly what my grade was going to be.
Before the professor posted my final grade I already knew what it was.
Of course if they curved the final grade I couldn’t account for that, but other than that I still knew what I was bound to receive.
As the semester neared an end and I had one final paper or final test remaining I would plug grades into my spreadsheet and tell my husband the projected results.
“Okay, babe, the minimum grade I can get on the final paper or test is a 30% and I’ll still receive a B in the class.”
I’d snicker once I said that out loud at how silly it sounded as I knew I’d receive much higher marks than a 30% by a landslide.
The doubt in my mind from time to time was very real though.
What if that day the professor was in an uber shitty mood?!
Or what if I did not get a good night’s rest the night before I did my final proofread and that paper was not my best work?
I’d text my other friend who I’ve known since circa 1999 and was in grad school at the same time and she’d respond, “now you know that isn’t going to happen miss. You know you’re going to get an A.”
Why did I doubt myself from time to time when everyone around me knew I could kick ass!?
On August 10, 2014 I finished my Master of Science in Management with Public Relations with a 3.5.
It still hasn’t hit me though.
The moral of the story is, not once during those 24 months did I ever turn in an assignment late.
Not once during those 24 months did I ever miss an assignment and not once during those 24 months did I ever have to request an extension.
Not once during those 24 months did I ever have to turn down an invitation to a family event that I had advanced notice of.
I prioritized the things that mattered in my life to ensure those things received the proper attention in order from most important to least.
The most important thing being SLEEP!
Everything else would fall into place so long as I got my sleep.
Sure from time to time there are circumstances outside of my control that might require me to sleep less than the ideal amount, but never should sleeping less than the ideal amount become a custom, a routine, or a part of your lifestyle.
One of the things Sheryl Sandberg also mentions in her book is that women can have it all, but she mentions that having a partner and not merely a husband (not necessarily in those exact words) is very important.
i do not have my career yet, but working full time and going to school full-time is no easy feat.
Luckily for me, my husband is not merely a husband.
He is a partner!
Thank you sweet baby Jesus!
There were times I merely peeked up from my girl cave for brief moments to grab a bite to eat, give him a kiss, and perhaps use the ladies room.
I thanked God for football religiously.
I planned most of my studying whenever possible around football so I didn’t feel guilty as though i was neglecting him.
It kept my husband entertained and relaxed in front of the television, often folding laundry so i could crank out my papers or study for tests.
Other times he’d bring me snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner all whilst I studied away.
Those two years went by SO fast!
i was like an ostrich with my head in the sand
Except my head was in those books!
My number one priority during that time, during most of my life, was and is SLEEP!
During graduate school my priority was never a social life.
My husband told me someone told him when he started undergrad that there were three things or three SSSs fighting for your time and one of them will undoubtedly be at the bottom of the priority list.
The choice of which one is last is up to the student.
My second priority was my studies.
Why was studies after sleep?
Well if I’m rested I’m bound to do well in my studies correct?
I’m bound to do well in life for that matter.
I agree with Arianna Huffington in that I HATE feeling sleepy.
I lovvveee me some sleep!
I was so excited to hear a successful, powerful, and inspirational woman with an amazing career said SLEEP!
I’ve been telling family, friends, and strangers alike since 2003 how important sleep is!
“The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.” –@ariannahuff
I cringe when I hear people say they’re okay with four or five hours of sleep regularly.
Again, from time to time situations occur wherein I do not get 7 or 8 hours and it is what it is, but I never make that the norm.
Sleep is so underrated!
Don’t worry about your social life.
That will come.
Get enough sleep and you’ll do better in your health, in your relationships, in work, in school, and in everything.
You’ll then be able to better map out the other things that matter.
You’ll be more attentive with those people in your life that matter.
Or those tasks in your life that matter.
Such as your graduate school studies.
I get so tired of people telling me to value my sleep now because when I have children I won’t be able to sleep.
Do you know what I think to myself as they preach?
(The hell I won’t be able to sleep. Just because sleep wasn’t your priority doesn’t mean it’s not mine.)
Of course during the time I am unable to communicate with these future children of mine in english or Spanish my sleep might suffer if they’re not sleepers, but after that you inform them of their right to remain and play in their bed or crib or room until Mom and Dad come to get them.
I know this is possible because my parents did it.
I know this is possible because I’d play with my little sister and take a nap whilst she brushed her barbies or watched little mermaid.
I’d say, “stay on this bed.”
“Wake me up if you need to go anywhere or need ANYTHING.”
You know what she did?
She stayed on that bed.
Sometimes I’d wakeup to her brushing my hair and perhaps that’s why my slumber would be so fabulous, but still I slept, and my parents slept.
I finished graduate school and never felt as though I missed anything that was important to me.
I can attest that to my priorities were straight.
Studies only then…
I’ve got to run now because I must sew a sweater and catch some Monday Night Football with the hubby before my bed time in order to get my 8 hours of sleep tonight.
After all the Dalai Lama said, “sleep is the best meditation.”