June 12th, 2014

Return from the Grave (erm—or just the academic year, actually)

I am told that, out there in the world, there are people who are able to immaculately balance their work and pleasure, their day job and their hobbies. These people can maintain an internet presence whilst dealing with everything going on in the real world—impressively navigating both halves of their lives, and doing so in an entertaining fashion as well.

I am not one of those people.

In the weeks following my graduation (yay! I have my degree/survived my thesis/etc.!), I've realized just how terrible I really am at balancing my life. I had an inkling before, of course—I've never been one for "balance" in any area, but I've survived.

My habit of throwing myself, heart and soul, into a project came back to haunt me.

Don't mistake me: this year was good for me, academically. I really did enjoy working on my thesis—it was a stimulating and truly fascinating project, and one that I hope to continue in my graduate program. But, in retrospect, I see that my approach to my academic career was unhealthily intense—it made my academic writing process inefficient, and (as a result) it consumed time that I could have spent working on my WIPs, or hiking, or chatting with friends, or, you know—doing other things that people normally do, because they have lives and the ability to balance their work in a healthy fashion.

I wish I knew why I fall into this trap—the horrifically intense focus on ONE thing (in this case, academics) to the exclusion of almost everything else, the burnout resulting from it, and so on. With my graduate studies looming on the horizon, I'm especially hopeful that I will find a way to maximize efficiency in my studies, and so find a way to maintain writing fiction and, y'know, otherwise live.

That said, if anyone happens to know The Secret to maintaining a social media presence and balancing an academic career with other bookish pursuits, I would love to know. It could make my next two years much easier.