Friday, October 17, 2008

Contemplating My Non-Traditional Time

Though this semester was supposed to be a little less stressful in order to have more time to work on my thesis, I’ve managed to incorporate History Society meetings, a fitness class three days a week, Sigma Tau Delta, and a hour between classes, twice a week, for elliptical and treadmill. My victory for the last few weeks though is that I have managed to stay consistent in my workouts. (And I’ve even lost a few inches and a few pounds!)

But, I sometimes feel like a bit of a fraud. Classmates and colleagues seem to think I have it all together, but as a non-traditional student I have to work really hard to maintain some kind of orderliness in my life. And let me tell you, even though I invested in a really good planner this semester and keep my vacuum cleaner in a visible spot, the truth is, I’m not that good when it comes to organization; that is, organizing my time, activities, studies, etc. I’m more spontaneous, and I tend to handle things as they come; is that bad? I work on class assignments according to what’s due next. And if I can get in a little house cleaning, do a couple loads of laundry, cook a meal, I feel like I’ve had a productive day. But then there are those little jobs I’ve been meaning to get to, but just haven’t had the time, like taking all my photos out of old shoe boxes and buying some of those cute little photo storage boxes to file them in.

In a recent lecture on How to Write a Research Paper, there were two words that stood out for me: Time Management. Does that mean scheduling everything? Does it include learning that in the middle of your thesis that your hard drive is dying? Does that include having to wait a half hour before someone takes an hour and a half to install a new hard drive? Does Time Management include standing in those long lines at Wal-Mart to buy a frozen dinner when you don’t have time to cook? How about chatting with your spouse about how his day at work went? How about when the garage door opener stops working?
Alas, this is the life of a non-traditional student.

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At 7:44 PM , Blogger Negritude said...

... interesting ... I used to think that I was a time-management wreck when I was writing my dissertation. But then when I look back on it, I, too, attended all sorts of lectures on research methodologies and strategies. As I near the end of the tunnel (I am still due to defend it), I notice that I was on the right track. I started graduate school directly out of undergraduate studies at a very small liberal arts college; I certainly felt non-traditional then (a reverse effect, if you will) ... Thanks for sharing.

At 7:45 AM , Blogger persistence said...

...and THANK YOU, for making me feel that maybe it's not just me afterall. I think I'm mostly affected by senior-itis, and the slight fear of "I might just graduate afterall"...after many years of wanting to go back to school, and then feeling like I might never make it.

At 10:27 PM , Blogger Martine Joelle said...

I hope things are going well figuring out your time and life. You can do it!!
I have senioritis bad and feel slightly destructive after getting this far...Thanks for your reply! I have to make a decision. A final project is a funky time to flounder..
I thought I wanted grad school right away but now I'll wait a bit..

Yea, Cree Summer - she's a fun chick. I really like the visuals in that video. Good to bump into your blog. I'm adding you to my Googlereader.


At 5:54 AM , Blogger persistence said...

Ironically, I'm anticpating entering grad school ASAP. If I were twenty years younger I could see waiting a year or two, but I'm playing catch up at this point in my life. Somehow I feel like grad school will be the beginning for me.

At 1:04 PM , OpenID clocklearf said...

I bought a planner, too, and have resorted to using it because I can't remember ANYTHING!!
I understand the non-traditional panic. It has taken me forever to get to where I am (all I have left is my thesis) and I am freaking out because I might not get to finish until summer semester.
My therapist suggested that I plan each day, but yeah, you can't figure in those things like suddenly being informed someone needs a ride to the doctor or stopping what I'm doing because my nephew is freaking out.

At 7:17 PM , Blogger persistence said...

See, you understand. Just hang in there Clocklearf, we'll make it through.


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