As a part-time Master’s student and full-time Penn staff member, I’m on a slightly different timeline from most GSE students. I started taking classes in the Spring of 2018, and plan to be done this coming Summer 2020. It has flown by! I’ve loved my coursework. I’ve been consistently excited about my classes, and have really enjoyed feeling my own academic commitments clarify with time. I take 1-2 classes each semester, and have always taken classes over the summers. This pacing has given me space to really digest what I learn in a class, and be thoughtful about what to take next based on how my interests have grown and changed.

 Having the demands of a full-time work week on top of classes has taught me to be strategic with my productive time, and to give myself breathing room. I’ve learned that I’m most focused first thing in the morning, so typically wake up early to get schoolwork done (instead of trying to make it happen once I’m sleepy in the evening, or cramming it all into the weekends). I’ve also gotten a sense of about how long it takes me to do a given amount of reading or writing, and can break assignments up into manageable chunks based on those estimates. I really like the feeling of momentum I get from getting something done to start the day, even if it’s a small thing-- it feels really nice to go into the workday already having my brain working.  I’ve also learned how important it is for me to schedule un-scheduled time for myself. This makes me feel much more grounded, instead of like I’m always bouncing from task to task or only scrounging up downtime when I can manage it. These strategies help me keep tasks in perspective alongside my other priorities, like spending time with the people I care about. They’ve also helped me enjoy my coursework, especially because it feels balanced by the other parts of my life.