School/Work/Life Balance

Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately with classes, an internship, student organization meetings, and zero time for yourself?  School/work/life balance can be tricky.  As a part-time graduate student and full-time staff employee at USC, I completely understand that the struggle is real.  However, I have learned that time management and prioritizing have been the most effective ways to manage my busy schedule.  Whether it’s sitting in traffic or on the metro for my commute to and from work, I make sure that “dead time” is productive.  Although it’s inconvenient for me to whip out my laptop and start typing a class paper during my commute, I spend this “dead time” or down time, thinking about what I should write for my paper, brainstorming ideas, thinking about work projects and making a mental checklist of things I need to do.  This time can also be spent recharging and just listening to music before I start my very busy day.  In order to have a more balanced life, it’s really important, for me at least, to be intentional with how I use each hour of my day even if it is dedicating time to relax.

It is so important to make sure that you re-charge yourself and spend time doing things that you enjoy.  For instance, each week, I dedicate one day to doing something fun whether it is baking, hiking, visiting family and friends, watching a movie, or attending an event. I think it’s so important to live a balanced life, and part of that is knowing your limits, setting boundaries for work and school, and taking care of your own mental health.  One article that talks about school/work/life balance can be found here (  Lastly, I think it’s also important to know the purpose of why you are doing all the things you do to make your life so busy.  Why am I going to graduate school?  To pursue a higher degree so that I can be a better adviser to my students, be a more resourceful coworker/colleague in my workplace, and to make a better living for the future.  Why am I working?  I love what I do.  Sure, there are days when it’s hectic and things are tough, but overall, I work because I love helping students and being a positive part of their college experience at USC.  These are questions to ask yourself whenever you feel overwhelmed and lose purpose of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

-Isabelle Huang