UW Graduate School

May 30, 2019

Setting Boundaries for Yourself

These last few weeks of the quarter are truly a busy time. Many of you are completing final projects while also navigating job searches. Others are completing degree requirements in anticipation of graduating next year, or within the next several years. No matter where you’re at in your educational or career trajectory, below are some tips to help you push through this last leg of the academic year.

Protect your time. Graduate school can often make you feel like you have no control over your schedule, but this is simply not true. Yes, you are busy, and it’s still possible to manage your time. Block out times in your weekly calendar where you have no flexibility — e.g. courses, appointments, hard deadlines, family time. Reschedule meetings that can wait until after you complete the quarter. Hold small chunks of time during the day, or a larger chunk of time twice a week (or a duration that works for you), for self-care activities that re-energize and nourish you.

Set boundaries. During crunch time, it’s important to say no to doing things that take time away from completing your short-term goals this quarter. Often times in graduate school, exciting or interesting work or research project opportunities may come up that pique your interest. Just ask yourself: are these new projects a distraction from what actually needs to get done? Remember that it’s perfectly okay to say no to requests of your time, as only you know your needs and schedule. 

Connect with support. When the pressure is on, it’s important to stay connected with individuals that support us and have our best interests in mind. Having trouble staying motivated on a final paper? Organize an impromptu writing accountability group with peers at a café, or make it a potluck at home after you’re done writing for a few hours. Needing feedback on your work? Check in with your advisor or mentor to make sure you are on the right track. Feeling anxious or stressed out? Reach out to a friend, a loved one or a community member who can lend an empathic ear and help you stay present.

We hope these tips resonate with you, and good luck with the rest of spring quarter!

Best,

Core Programs—Office of Graduate Student Affairs
UW Graduate School