Friday, August 28, 2015

I’m Just Crazy Like That - Guest Post by Daughter

Hi all, LittleMissBless here! Today I’m taking over my mom’s blog to make a post on time management and the crazy life of a second year grad student taking 22 units worth of classes while working part-time. (Just to put it into perspective, we are advised not to take more than about 14 units this semester).

I was talking with my mom about how I’m figuring out my schedule and study routine for the Fall semester which just started this past Wednesday and she asked if I’d make it into a guest post. So I figured, why not? I will warn you in advance though, that I tend to ramble and have a stream of consciousness writing style, so read at your own risk, haha. This is just the way I think about how to manage my time and keep up with all my obligations.

My schedule this semester is pretty full, with classes/work filling up my Tuesdays (11-6), Wednesdays (10-5), and Thursdays (11-6). Additionally, I have class on Mondays 12-2 and 4-6, and Fridays 10-2.

The first thing I decided was that Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays should not be study days – Tues and Thurs I have only one class (11-12:30), and then go to work 1-6. The good thing about this is that the project I work on for my job is actually my thesis project. So I can actually count this as doing “homework” since one of my classes is a seminar to guide us through the thesis writing and data analysis process. However, I already know that on these long days, I will not be in the mood to work on anything else academic once I get back home, so as much as possible I will try to finish things due on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays before the preceding Tuesday.

Next, I looked at what days have the most room for studying – of course the weekend is free of classes, so Saturdays and Sundays are viable options, but Fridays also turned out to be a good opportunity to get things done. This is because although I do have two classes scheduled for Fridays, they are discussion sections which I rarely utilize as they do not always mesh with the way I learn. Don’t worry, I’m not just saying this to get a three-day weekend. One of the discussion sections is for a statistics class, and is focused on teaching us the way to use Stata (a statistics computer program) to analyze data. However, last year I had a different statistics class with the same professor, and the discussion section was set up in the same way, and I found that I learned how to program much quicker and more efficiently on my own than going to section. Similarly the other section I have on Fridays is for an epidemiology course, and mirrors the style of section used for an epidemiology course I took last year, basically taking the form of going over problem sets and answering questions about them. Last year, I attended section for the first third of the semester, found that I didn’t find them useful and they were not an effective use of my time, stopped going, and still understood the material and actually achieved higher marks on the exams after I stopped going. Therefore, my plan for this semester is to not attend sections except when I have some burning questions or possibly right before exams, if needed. Therefore, my Friday is freed up for other uses. Additionally, I do have a 2 hour gap in between classes on Mondays that would be perfect for getting small things done in.

Once I figured out what my time slots looked like, I started to look at what I needed to do in terms of specific classes, and more generally, for things such as housework. While I do not yet know all the assignment timelines for my classes, as I do not yet have all the syllabi for my classes, I have started thinking about how to schedule what I do know I need to do. I prefer to do my groceries on Fridays, since the main grocery store I go to, Safeway, has special sales every Friday (which go a long way in saving me money – and definitely help me to keep to my $25/week on average grocery budget!). Also, since it is practically a class-free day, Friday would be a prime day for me to get the household cleaning and chores done – laundry, cooking for the week, sweeping/vacuuming/Swiffer-ing (depending on the week), cleaning the toilet, wiping down surfaces with Lysol/Clorox wipes (I rotate which area of my apartment I do this for every week), etc. I chose Friday for household chores since it is right after a week of classes, so things less academically focused give me a bit of a break mentally. Additionally, I am considering using Fridays for doing work for two of my programming courses (I am in two self-paced online courses for Java and Python). I really enjoy programming and find it to be fairly intuitive, so working on this on Fridays would not lead me to being burnt out at the end of the week.

Going through my classes individually (that I know of so far):

-For my epi class, it seems as though we have weekly reading and problem sets. While I do not yet have a sense of whether it would be more useful to get the reading done before or after the Monday or Wednesday lecture, I am thinking of doing the reading on Sundays. The problem sets will be posted on Fridays and answers posted on the following Thursdays, so I am thinking of doing them as well on the Sundays after the answers have been posted, since I have found that I learn better when I can immediately compare my answer with the true answer as opposed to waiting for almost a week to check whether or not my answer was correct. This would also allow me a variety of activity on Sundays – not just reading but also problem solving, preventing me from getting fed up with doing solely one activity.

-For my stats class, I am not yet sure what the work schedule will look like as there are only 6 or 7 assignments (and a final project at the end) for the entire semester… but there is reading associated with each topic area covered, that I plan on doing the Monday after that topic is covered in lecture. (Based on the previous class I took with this professor, doing the reading after the topic is lectured on but before doing the problem set was the most effective strategy.)

-For my thesis seminar, I will mostly be working on it at work (10 hours/week), but can work on deliverables on Sundays, as needed.

- The other class that I know the assignment schedule for is my nutritional epi class, which meets on Wednesdays. While there are a couple of assignments, most of the work for this class is readings to be done by lecture on Wednesday, which I plan to do on Sundays and finish on Mondays, if needed.

-I do still have another course – Applied Epi Using R – but as I have not yet had the first class for it, I don’t know what it will require me to do.

By now you might have realized that I have not mentioned anything about doing work on Saturdays – this is because I am reserving Saturdays as the day on which I can rest, relax, and recharge on. While I COULD do any extra work/studying on Saturdays if needed (especially during midterms season), I will do my best to not have to do work on Saturdays so that I have one day off a week.

Hope you enjoyed my rambling explanation of how I’m thinking of scheduling my time, even though it is still very tentative – I don’t actually settle into a study schedule until about the third week of classes since it’s hard to get a sense of what works best until then.

Anyways, that’s all from me, feel free to let us know your opinions on time management and how you manage all the things you need to do!
Come back tomorrow for more regular posts from my mom. LittleMissBless signing off!


  1. Little Bless you are so smart, just like mom. Such a great plan, and so well thought out. Good luck in your studies and all. We are so proud of you.
    Your mom is great and I am in such awe of her!

  2. LittleMissBless, you are so smart to reserve one day a week as far as possible for relaxing. I hope this works out. My best wishes to you, you are a great daughter with a great mom!

  3. When I first started reading your post, I read very fast because I imagined that is how you would talk if you were telling me this in person. Then I took a breath and read it more like I read your Mom's posts. Slower like reading a letter from an old friend. You are wise beyond your years. I can tell you have been listening and watching your Mom as she handled her schedule over the years. I am going to send my niece your schedule, she has a hard time planning her time and I think it would be good to read what someone else does. "I chose Friday for household chores since it is right after a week of classes, so things less academically focused give me a bit of a break mentally." I think this is a great decision. I often do some house work after my paid job for the same reason. You could teach a class on time management if you had any extra time. ha

    Frugal - former GONER with Bless.

  4. Thank you, all, for your comments. Daughter read them and is very happy to have received such positive comments. :) And I'm a proud mama! :D

  5. Little Miss BLess,
    Your schedule seems to be well thought out and planned. Best wishes on your studies.You have a very sweet mama, and you sound a lot like her.. So happy you and she are such friends..So nice. Have a blessed day.

    1. Thank you Judy. :) I'm going to ask her to give us all an update, later (although she gives me daily updates during our nightly chats).

  6. You sound a lot like your mom and that's a good thing! A very busy schedule indeed, but you are a very smart girl.


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