Achieving Work Life Balance in Grad School
It can be pretty difficult trying to balance family obligations, a full-time job and pursuing your Master’s degree all at the same time. There are days when I feel as if I’m a juggler on a tricycle riding on a high wire. Day-to-day life can sometimes be a struggle with so many things going on at once but at the end of the day, I'm able to maintain my balance, keep the balls in the air and make it to the other side.
Work Life Balance: The Weekday
Like many working parents, my weekday mornings can be crazy. It starts with getting the kids out of bed and ready for daycare, dropping them off and starting the work day. I don’t work your typical 9 to 5 job, I teach video fundamentals for a living at the Defense Information School on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. As a Department of Defense civilian, I teach service members from all four branches of the military the art of video storytelling. The course I teach is fast paced and there is very little break in the action.
But when lunch time comes around I’m able to get to work on my assignments and tasks for school. During my break, I’m always sitting at my desk going over the weekly readings or formulating responses for the weekly discussions. There’s a lot a student can accomplish in an hour of peace and quiet with time away from kids or students.
After work I pick up the kids from daycare and either take them to a nearby park or I let the kids entertain themselves at home. If the kids are preoccupied, that time gives me the opportunity to finish up any response posts for the week or work on any school projects that I may have due in the near future. Whenever I can find free time, I am able to slowly chip away at what I need to accomplish for school. And once the kids get to bed, I may spend an hour or two doing schoolwork before calling it a day. I hate being burdened by having to do too much over the weekend and not having enough quality time for my wife and kids.
Work-Life Balance: The Weekend
The benefit of achieving an acceptable work-life balance is that once I get to the weekend, I shouldn’t have too much schoolwork left to do if I used my time well over the week. On occasion, I may have to spend a few hours editing a paper or making another response post for the week. But if I use my time wisely during the week, I can ensure that I have enough time for all the things in my life: my family, my job and school. My best advice is to find a way to “make time.” Make time for your family, for yourself and for school. By doing that, you will spend less time juggling and more time with the ones you love.
Jeffrey Lacap is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.
About the Author
Jeffrey Lacap has worked in Communications for more than 17-plus years. He graduated from the University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1999. After college, he worked as an Assistant Editor for Nonwovens Magazine and its website in Ramsey, New Jersey. In 2000, he worked in New York City as an Associate Editor for Sporting Goods Business Magazine and its website. In April, 2001, he joined the U.S. Army as a Broadcast Journalist.
His assignments included Fort Huachuca, Arizona; American Forces Network, Korea; and the Defense Information School on Fort Meade, Maryland. Mr. Lacap left the military as an Army Staff Sergeant in September 2008.
After his military career, he became a Media Relations Specialist at Northrop Grumman and worked as a radio producer for WBAL 1090AM in Baltimore, Maryland. Currently, he works for the Department of Defense as a Broadcast Video Team Lead at the Defense Information School. He is currently enrolled in the MS in Communication program at Purdue University.
He’s been married to his wife Connie for more than six years and they have two children, Emily and Andrew. They live in Columbia, Maryland.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.