Work Life Balance
As my first semester of grad school plods along, I’m thinking a lot on “Why am I doing this?”. I have friends making their careers and families as hair stylists, teachers, marine educators and the list goes on. What is compelling me to stay here for long nights and early mornings and do I agree with the system I’m participating in?
Let me start off with the idea that I like research, but I don’t like the constant undulation of stress that comes with trying to do classes and research. That part is a struggle and it has me longing for summer days. So on the basis that I actually like some of what I do, what kinds of hours is ethical to expect of grad students?
I know this is a controversial topic that some countries think school should be everything and some professors recall the numerous all nighters they pulled in pursuit of their PhD, but is this reasonable? I mean in the US we have the 40 hour work week ( which is itself on the higher spectrum of work weeks) but grad school seemingly ignores this. If you take the 13 hours of class I’m in and then multiply by 3 with the idea you do 3 hours of work outside class for every hour you are in. And then you add 20 hrs of research a week. You’re at a 59 hour work week, which is a lot. I like what I’ve been doing in grad school so far and I’m excited to actually get involved in research projects but I do find myself asking am I living to work or working to live?
I’m sure ideally you find a balance of both and its definitely possible. Many people get graduate degrees. I just wonder if its reasonable and what is the alternative? Right now I spend most of my waking energy researching and doing homework and while I could do more on the weekends, the long weeks make weekends a much needed respite. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but I do sometimes think of the expectation that is set and if it is something I would want for others. I’m also not sure of the alternative because I believe that getting a PhD should be a lot of work. Its not clear to me, but it is something I think about when I see a lot of undergrads walking to their cars starting at around 2pm.