9 Tips for Resuming Grad School After a Break

We understand the feelings of being excited and nervous about restarting your Grad school journey after taking a break. You may even experience a range of emotions, but that is completely normal and to be expected. To help ease your transition back, we’ve prepared some tips to help you get back into the swing of things and be successful throughout your program.

1. Set Goals

Just by being accepted into your graduate program, you’ve already accomplished something incredible to be proud of. There is no better way to ensure you continue to have success than by setting and writing down your goals. It may sound cliché, but goal setting is a habit that will not only serve you well in your studies but in all your future pursuits.

  • Set both long and short-term goal
  • Goals should be measurable
  • Share your goals with others

2. Focus on Learning

Think about all the reasons why you originally made the decision to enroll in grad school. Always remember the “why.” Place your focus on the skills and knowledge you are attaining. The importance you place on learning will directly impact the results you achieve within your program.

  • Keep a list of what you learned each day
  • Align what you are learning with your goals
  • See the big picture

3. Optimize Your Time

You’re clearly committed to your future, and part of that commitment involves allocating the necessary time to set yourself up for success. If you are someone who already knows how much time you have to dedicate to each of your daily activities, you’re off to a great start.

  • List your top priorities for the day in order of importance
  • Optimize your time by clustering similar tasks into chunks to increase efficiency
  • Try out the Pomodoro Technique to break your work into 25-minute chunks

4. Make Time for Healthy Habits

It may feel daunting to fit in time to ensure your own mental and physical well-being on top of all your other responsibilities, but you’ve got this! Creating regular routines to help achieve mental and physical wellness is a great way to unlock the best version of yourself. Making time to nourish your mind and body will only enhance your ability to achieve your fullest potential and help you stay energized for your journey.

  • Try meditating regularly
  • Set aside a specific time in your day to exercise
  • Meal prep to alleviate stress

5. Connect with Your Peers

Many University of Oklahoma graduate students have formed long-lasting personal and professional relationships. There are many opportunities to collaborate built into your program’s curriculum, and we highly encourage it! Connecting with classmates helps to foster and promote an environment of creativity, support, and success.

  • Be proactive in establishing personal and professional friendships
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your peers for help
  • Line up a formal working session with peers once a month

6. Seek Out a Mentor

There is no magical formula to ensure your success, but there are ways to set yourself up on the right path. Whether it is a professor or a professional already established in the field, having a mentor to help you guide you along the way is essential. Unlocking your potential and finding new and important interests may be just one connection away!

  • Be clear about your goals
  • Seek out new and different perspectives
  • Communicate clear expectations

7. Organization is Key

Strive to create an organizational system that works for you and is practical so that organization becomes second nature and not a burden. Like many other things, it will take practice to make this happen, but the rewards you will reap from the peace of mind and time saved through good organizational habits are invaluable.

  • Use an organizational app or planner to aid your efforts
  • Plan your week by blocking out time for work, school, and personal time
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

8. Communicate

You are in the exciting position of furthering your professional goals while honoring your current commitments in life. Remember that most people are more than happy to help accommodate your needs so long as you are honest about your situation. People aren’t mind readers, that is why clearly communicating with those around you is key to achieving appropriate balance in your life. 

  • Be willing to listen
  • Always be open to suggestions
  • Understand and accept that some things cannot be changed

9. Have Fun

Your time is precious! With all that must be done, having fun might seem impossible. But when you have a solid plan and have gotten yourself into a routine that you are comfortable with, there is no better time to be a bit spontaneous and embrace having fun with friends and family. After all, the work will always be there when you return!

  • Fun is necessary and not just a reward
  • Look for ways to make daily activities more fun
  • Make time for your significant other and/or family and friends

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