Career

Balancing Graduate School and a Family

At McIntire we talk a lot about CBA – Cost Benefit Analysis – weighing alternatives in an attempt to make the best choices. Managing full-time graduate school while being married and having two young kids provides me with constant CBA practice. I regularly face choices like, “Do I stay up late studying or wake up before my kids (pre-6 a.m.)?

At McIntire we talk a lot about CBA – Cost Benefit Analysis – weighing alternatives in an attempt to make the best choices. Managing full-time graduate school while being married and having two young kids provides me with constant CBA practice. I regularly face choices like, “Do I stay up late studying or wake up before my kids (pre-6 a.m.)? Do I spend multiple hours rehearsing my upcoming presentation or just one hour so I can take my daughter to a movie?” Entering the program, I knew I would not have enough time to do everything I would like to do, and that I would have to be very purposeful with my time.

Thankfully, I have an incredible husband who is my greatest support. He is committed to stepping up this year. This means while I’m studying or meeting for group projects in the evening, he’s taking care of the kids and grocery shopping. He is an incredible encouragement to me, and I know he is eagerly looking forward to my graduation! Thankfully, the M.S. in Accounting program is only nine months with a nice winter break in the middle, so it is attainable.

Our professors assign group work for most classes, preparing us to work in diverse teams once we begin our careers. We spend hours each week working together on projects, which we then present to our classmates. It is hard to express the level of support, camaraderie and learning that I’ve experienced during my time spent with my teammates. While I strive to do my best, I know my groupmates are supportive if I need to step away because my kids are sick or have an important school activity. My group knows that I would do the same for them.

Balancing my life as a full-time graduate student and being a mother is certainly challenging, but less than I expected. My initial cost-benefit analysis of whether to continue working full-time or return to school full-time hinged on the belief that my family would benefit in the long term from my investment at the University of Virginia. As I continue through the M.S. in Accounting program at UVA, there are certainly days when I miss hiking with my family or I haven’t been able to spend as much time on my hobbies because I’m studying. However, the skills I am learning, the relationships I have made, and the access I have to world-class employers through McIntire’s Commerce Career Services are just a few of the reasons I know this was the right choice for me and my family.

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