“To be or not to be?”: Time and Graduate Life

The two sides of our time...photo by GradLife McGill Instagrammer @falisha.k
The two sides of our time…photo by GradLife McGill Instagrammer @falisha.k

Full name: Graduate Student. When your name is Graduate and your surname Student, you come to realize how the word time gets more and more often into your conversations. It’s always a matter of time: the time you are supposed to spend sleeping, the time for eating and feeding yourself up (yes, it does exist!), the time you would like to invest in hobbies or working out, the time to wake up, the time to love, the time to submit a paper, to get out from the library, to study, to read, to teach, to cheer, to…what?  Although you may find as many ways to talk about your graduate time as David Foster Wallace would do (and have a look at Infinite Jest’s footnotes to have an idea), there is one time that would never disappear, that is the time that we lack, the time that we may need to do all the things that we want to do.

My first post. This is my first post for the GradLife McGill blog. A couple of weeks ago, when I met my fellow GradLifers for the first time, I was so excited that I would have walked home ASAP to write. Yet, I remembered that on my desk there laid an infinite number of copies of Italian literature masterpieces (see the Divine Comedy, the Decameron, Machiavelli’s Prince…up to Alfieri’s tragedies) that had to be read before the end of August. Don’t get me wrong, I really Enjoyed reading them all my summer long. However, these readings took much time out of my life and made me postpone things that I would have done for fun, pleasure and interest.

“To be or not to be?”. GradLife McGill gives me the opportunity to write about the difficulty for graduate students to put together their private and academic life. Well, maybe it isn’t necessarily a difficulty. There’s no need to connote this pair with a negative shade. Yet, it is true that many graduate students feel more comfortable with giving something up and focusing solely on their work. Let’s put it ironically. Sometimes, I realize that there isn’t a big difference between me and that famous prince in the castle of Elsinore. Shakespearelly, I wonder “To be or not not be?,” as if my academic deadlines were not to be understood only metaphorically. I’m joking, obviously; but my suggestion is not to lose yourself into this interrogative but choose “to be” and remember to do it throughout your entire graduate life.

Something that I like. Indeed, Graduate Life does not mean only graduate, but is made of two terms that combine your academic work with your personal feelings and interests. It is important to remember this. This is what pushes you further when you realize that your brain is stuck and your work does not go on. You would say “It’s easy to say that now, it’s still September!”. Oook, you’re right, and I know I will find it hard to stick to my own words in the upcoming months. Yet, even when I will be writing the most boring part of my never-ending paper, I will know that a good swim would make my ideas clearer and my mood better. Definitely.

Help, when we need it. Moreover, maybe you don’t know that McGill is full of people that may help you to manage your time. The Mental Health and Counselling Service, as well as the Office for Students with Disabilities organize workshops and events where students meet and discuss their struggle about time management (and keep this in mind when the exams are about to come!). Also, Montréal is where the opportunities to cultivate your interests and passions are everywhere: screenings, shows, sport facilities, libraries, concerts, festivals….the list is very long!

Being a graduate student doesn’t mean to be only “Graduate”, but also to find time to do something that you like, beside your academic work. Do that and you will see that the time you spend “having a life” will only make your graduate existence better.


Banner Image by McGill GradLife Instagrammer @falisha.k //@gradlifemcgill



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