Self-Care, Work-Life Balance, and Working from Home

This week was my eighth in my PWE, and I have just over a month to go to finish my MSW-required field hours, as well as my MPA program requirements. The School of Social Work field placement system relies on a thorough learning agreement and a mid-year and final competency evaluation that measures my abilities and growth throughout the placement. When completing it with my supervisor and field instructor this week, I was able to reflect on my progress, work products, and experiences with ncIMPACT so far this summer. Although I have been involved in multiple interesting projects that are expanding my hard skills, reflecting this week has allowed me to evaluate my soft skills growth, as well.

The MPA PWE process is meant to place students in outside organizations not only to help us learn about public administration, but also to help us grow as professionals. I have traditionally struggled, in personal, professional, and academic contexts, with saying no and managing my workload so that I have a healthy work-life balance. This summer, being on multiple projects has given me a substantive workload with meaningful tasks, but has also required me to prioritize some projects over others due to deadlines, organizational importance, or other factors. Thankfully, I have had guidance from my supervisor and field instructor as I navigate establishing reasonable boundaries for myself, even if that sometimes means saying no to additional tasks that are unrelated to my main projects.

I have also been able to establish a healthy work-life balance despite the fact that working from home makes distinguishing between the two much more difficult. Encouraged by my team, I have established distinct hours during which I complete my PWE, and off hours where I don’t complete work and usually do not check my email. This is a huge shift from our suddenly remote spring semester, where I struggled with establishing a daily routine while taking classes and working from home. I have also implemented regular self-care, including (mostly digital) time with friends and loved ones, as well as leisure time to unwind. Since COVID-19 is not disappearing before August 10th, I know that creating this routine during my time with ncIMPACT will assist me in doing the same in the fall semester and beyond.