Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

School / Work / Life Balance

Stress

There is no way to avoid stress in graduate school, and some periods are worse than others. Most students handle stress well, but even the strongest person may need help at times. Eat well, sleep enough, exercise, and make sure to have a life beyond graduate school. If difficulties arise, share them with friends, and let us know if you think that your academic performance is affected by stress or depression— our staff is trained to keep students’ information private, and will be very careful with confidential issues. Dropping a class or taking a reduced course load may help. When things get really rough, you may want to consider taking a semester off to heal and take good care of yourself. The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center is there for you with counseling, support groups, hot lines, and many other services, including, if necessary, the processing of medical withdrawals.

 

Work

It is very difficult to know how to juggle work responsibilities and school. A good rule of thumb, applied by UT, is that the time spent in class and the time spent in work should not exceed 40 hours altogether. Remember that you still need to prepare for classes and write papers, let alone do all the other things you need to do in order to live like a human being. You may want to be independent, but consider accepting financial help from your family or taking out student loans. Your goal is to complete graduate school successfully, and work must take a lower priority at this point in your life.

Think about it: We schedule courses based on the availability of classrooms and the preferences of the instructors. To accommodate our working graduate students, we try to schedule most graduate courses in the afternoon or evening, but this is not always the case. Keep your expectations realistic—we will accommodate you to some extent but do not count on completing your degree through courses in the evening while you work during the day.


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