The first day of grad school is over and done with, wow what a day. It is going to be a lot different than my undergrad, but I think it should be in mostly good ways. In my specific program there are only 4 of us and we are currently huddling together for mutual protection.
When I decided to go back to school and work 80% I knew that I would have my plate full. I put a good deal of thought into the best way to handle the heavy work load and not be working and behind the ball the entire time. While I did enjoy my undergrad I will admit that most of the time I did little other than study, and while it was tolerable for 4 years when all my peers were doing the same I'm going to strive for a little more balance this time. I'm going to do my best to see that work and study occurs on week days. Yes, that may mean some very long days during the week but I figure since I'm home by 5:00 I can get a good 3 hours a night of Masters work in and maybe another 30 min a day of text book reading on the bus and while waiting for appointments. That's 17 hrs a week at home study for my Masters (plus 6 hours a week in class) and 32 hours a week for work. I'm hoping that 23 hours a week will suffice for my Masters so that I can confine my work to 55 hours over 5 days leaving my weekends free for foster care, house work, and my own leisurely pursuits.
The other issue that I put a lot of thought into before starting was how to take care of myself. I recon that I've done pretty well in the last year when it comes to getting decent food on the table each night, but that hasn't always been the case. I have had trouble in the past with finding the time and energy to put together a proper nutritious meal every night. It tends to be one of the things that I let slip when I'm living alone and busy. So, I decided to lay up stores in order to go into hibernation over the next 8 months. Over the summer I've been making extra foods and freezing it in portion sizes. Each portion has enough food for one supper for me and one lunch for me (since I always do leftovers for lunch.) I have currently:
15 portions of Lentil soup
8 portions of Pea soup
12 portions of Chilli
5 portions of Baked Beans
I also have roughly enough refried beans frozen to make either nachos of tacos once a week for 8 months; as well as 7 half loaves of bread. (I never thaw more than half a loaf at a time because I don't eat them that quickly.)
The idea is that between the stuff I have frozen in the freezer and making doubles of my recipes on weekend I won't have to do very much cooking during the week. Meaning that I can keep my nose to the books and stay on top of my classes.
That folks is the great Graduate study hibernation plan. I certainly hope that it works out.