A Day in the Life of Student Allison Randall Gatt

iStudent Blog

Published: November 4, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

Ever wonder how other students manage to work a job, feed a family, walk a dog, answer discussion questions, manage to have clean clothes to wear (ahem, most days), put together a PowerPoint presentation and stay sane? We do stay sane, don’t we? Sure we do, but we all have different lives and different ways of staying organized and getting our coursework done.

This post is the first in a series that takes a look inside the life of an iSchool student. Since this is the first post, I’ll take you inside my schedule to see how I take care of a family of five, write the iStudent blog and work my way through my MLIS degree. I rarely take classes that require very many synchronous sessions, so that doesn’t dictate my schedule much. I live in Northern California and in the same time zone as SJSU, which is convenient if I need to attend a Collaborate session live, but that is really rare. I typically rely on recordings to get my work done.

All that said, here’s peek into my life. Enjoy!

6 am: Wake up to the scrabbling hands of my three-year-old twins.

Get coffee and check for any work emails or class updates, outline and prioritize answering them. Wake, feed and change all my small people and try to get out the door without hollering at anyone.

8:10 am–9 am: Take kids to school and park myself at a café or the library down the street from the preschool.

This is my main work time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (no preschool on Thursday; ballet class instead).

Sift through my assignments and discussion posts. Work on current assignments and look ahead at what’s next. If I’ve got a large assignment due at the end of the term, I usually have a Word document open where I continually add ideas, links, resources and notes as they come to me. I do this especially as I read through course materials, taking notes here as well as separate and specific reading notes.

Since I’m also the blogger here, I work on stories, send emails to potential interviewees and take a look at my post schedule.

11:15 am: Wrap up my work and studies and go pick up the kids at preschool.

Noon–7 pm: This is afternoon family time where the big kid comes home from elementary school, afterschool activities might happen (once or twice a week), errands run, laundry done (always, there’s laundry), meals made, consumed and cleaned up, and people bathed, read to (always read to in the evening—literacy, literacy, literacy) and put to bed.

7–8 pm: The big kid and I might do homework side by side at the kitchen table. Or if there is no kid homework (lucky duck) sometimes there is kid and dad drawing time while I finish up some emails or reply to a discussion post. Then I read to the big kiddo (again, always read to in the evening), which is my favorite part of the day’s routine.

8 pm until bedtime (before 10, I hope): I put in another hour writing, reading and sorting through what needs to be done. I don’t typically do work that requires intense thought at this time of the day—I’m all thought-out and not at my most articulate. I do that writing in the morning block of work time. I read or make to-do lists for the following day. At least a couple nights a week, I try to arrange my workload so that I’m not doing any work. I need to relax and I like to hang out with that guy I married. He likes to see me, too. One day a week, for an entire day, I don’t work or do schoolwork. A day of rest is essential.

For more about juggling life and school and added tips to help you on your way, check out these posts:
It’s that Time of Year– Back to School

Life + Work + School– How Can I Get it All Done?

Tips from Peer Mentors: What to Expect in Your First Course (and more)


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