Finishing Grad School + How to Stay Motivated

Last week was registration, which means everyone on my campus woke up early to get online by 8am sharp. With classes being so small at my university, space is seriously limited. Thankfully I was able to get all the courses I needed, even though I slept in way more than I had planned. Whose bright idea was it to make class registration the Monday after daylights saving?

In the moment I didn't put much thought into the process, mostly focused on grabbing the classes I needed and calculating how much this semester was going to cost me. Hint: a lot. Another hint: don't bother with the whole, "I'm gonna save money for grad school then apply," cause it will never happen. Okay maybe it can, but not in just a couple of years.

Later in the week I realized I couldn't remember what classes I needed to make sure I enrolled in for fall, so after spending some time looking for the academic catalog for my program, I realized what I had been missing all along.

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Holy shit balls. I might not have said this out loud, but it's exactly how I was feeling. There was no next semester. There was no next time registration comes around. This was it. Almost three years and a whole bunch of jobs and tears laters, I was at the end of my grad program.

I'm not sure if you've caught any of my grad school posts before, but graduate school has not been a fun experience for me. With my program being discontinued. having to survive financially in the city, and adjusting to life without a support system, grad school was a thing I felt like was never gonna end. Which is maybe why I forgot I was almost at the finish line.

Apparently if I am able to earn all my hours with my clients by August 27th, I'm done! As in, put on a cap and gown and walk across the stage done! This piece of reality has lit a serious fire under my ass and motivated me in a way I didn't think was possible midway through spring semester. If you're feeling the lull of winter not ending or the next three day weekend being too far away, below are some ways I keep motivated to power on through the hard parts.

Practice self care

Rubi three years ago didn't need self care. She spent her time eating anything she wanted without gaining weight and napping at her convenience. Rubi today does the same thing, except the weight gain causes her to get inside her own mind and shit goes wrong from there. Self care is so important, especially if you work a job or have a lifestyle where so much of your day is taken up by other people and tasks that don't directly benefit you. Set aside some time in the morning for self care, and check out my Pinterest board for a never ending list of ideas of how to practice self care in your twenties.

Set a reward to your goal

This is something I've been doing since I was like eight years old, and trust me, it works. Whether you just need to finish an assignment or something bigger like graduate college, designating a reward helps keep you motivated until the end. In my case, I always choose a trip, whether it be a weekend getaway or international vacation. My reason for always choosing a trip is because you get to plan it, which is a self care activity in my opinion.

Make yourself accountable

Goals are 150% more likely to be reached if you tell someone about them. Okay, I just made that up, but it sounds real, right? Telling your best friend or boyfriend about what you're working on not only makes you accountable to them, they can help keep you on track when you start slacking. For example, if you wanna drink less nights out of the week, telling your bestie or boyfriend gives them the opportunity to remind you of your goal and prevent them from tempting you in the first place.

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Create a motivational playlist

Remember when playlist lived on CDs that we burned at home and labeled with sharpie markers? Well today they are way easier to make, so why doesn't anyone make them anymore? Jump onto Spotify, pull a bunch of your favorite songs from the past ten years, and only play that playlist when you need motivation! This way you won't be bored of them when you need them, and they'll feel like a special treat when you do get to hear them.

Don't push too hard

Back to my school situation. I started my grad program well over two years go. Life circumstances, aka money, made me have to switch to a slower track towards graduation. Sure, I probably could have made it happen in less time, but I would have been miserable. If you come to realize you need extra time or to even reframe your goal, don't feel bad about it. Works towards what works for you, cause at the end of the day, you should enjoy the journey just as much as the end result.

Have you started or completed a grad program? If so, how was the process for you or what are you most nervous about?? Let me know in the comments below!

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