New week, new outlook

hi Readers -

Firstly, let me thank you all for the comments and support you gave me after last Friday’s post. Yep- I was being pretty angsty. I really appreciated hearing from wise friends doing PhDs who could say the kinds of sensible things I really needed to hear — things like “don’t rush into it,” and “doing a PhD just because you don’t know what else to do is dumb” (well, ok.. nobody said that, but I could read it between the lines). Today is the deadline for SSHRC applications and many people in my vicinity having been busily conjuring up plans for their next years of study. I think I must have been feeling the pressure…

In other news:

I spent a big chunk of today doing interviews for the stories I write for the School of Graduate Studies website. This morning I met three students who are doing their degrees in the School of Urban and Regional planning. The story is going to be about how all three are athletes – juggling their academic work with intensive training schedules. Two of them – Scott and Blaise – play varsity football, while the third, Henry, is a rugby player.

What I was most struck by is how in at least two of the three cases, the guys I spoke with believed that there wouldn’t be time to squeeze playing high-level sports in with the demands of pursuing their graduate degrees. Though they’d all played on varsity teams as undergraduates, the belief was that there simply wouldn’t be time to do it all in grad school.

Certainly, what I hadn’t quite realized is what a commitment varsity athletics are. The guys who play football, for example, told me that during their season, they are expected to be available for a two hour meeting and a two hour practice every day. Henry, who plays rugby, practices three hours every evening during the season.

Sounds like a lot, right? But what was most interesting, is that all three, in their way, told me that they find they are better at getting their academic work done DURING the sports season. When they’ve got a significant undertaking to attend to every day, they make a better effort to get their work done during the day, because they know there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.

Now that their seasons have ended, however, they’re finding themselves to be less productive. As Blaise put it, “the season has ended and now all I do is watch TV.”

It definitely supports the old mantra “the more you do, the more you do.” Doing lots of stuff will not only make your life more fulfilling – it may in fact allow you to do more stuff, leading to an even more fulfilling life…

In other words: get our your agendas and planning apps friends — it’s time to get busy. Your academic work will thank you.

Posted in SGS Blog 2010-2011, Student Perspective

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