Raising your GPA, bulking up your resumé and transcript, getting an internship (or multiple internships), having relevant job experience, figuring out what you want to do with your career, picking out a specific career track/program/practice, researching what tests you have to take to qualify for a program, seeing where you might want to go to school, and finally, figuring out how to apply to these schools; all of the work it takes to prepare for graduate school is overwhelming. Finding out where you want to go and what (specifically) you want to do is stressful enough, but all of the extra work and necessary preparation takes it to a whole other level.
I am currently an undergraduate senior psychology and gender studies double major, and plan to go into either a counseling psychotherapy or mental health counseling program in (hopefully) the fall of 2018. With that said, it is prime time for me to start looking into graduate programs, and how to apply/what I need to get accepted into one. It has been very difficult for me to narrow down where I want to go to graduate school, and I have been working very hard at raising my GPA, building up my resumé and transcript, and establishing relevant experience whenever I find the opportunity.
Having all of this to do at once makes it difficult to dedicate the appropriate amount of time to each task. In order to properly fulfill each task and responsibility, I found that by creating and following this simple list, it is now much easier to stay on track and stay responsible without being nearly as overwhelmed:
- Write down everything that you have to do within the next week in order of importance/urgency.
Looking at everything written on a piece of paper keeps me focused, and able to see that the tasks are tangible and (looking at each one separately) completely doable.
- Time management.
When creating your task schedule, work out an idea of how long each task will take, and how much energy you must expend on each. Make sure to allow time for short breaks at time intervals you deem fit. By incorporating short breaks into your schedule, you beat the inevitable mind-wandering and frustration that certain tasks may evoke.
- Take on one task at a time.
By focusing your energy on the task at hand, and only working on one at a time, you stay calm, collected, focused, and driven.
- Take a deep breath.
You got this. The process may be tough, but you are tougher. You will succeed in finishing all your hard work. Make sure you take some time to take care of yourself, and recognize that keeping your happiness and wits will help you through this process.