How to have fun while you’re in grad school

I’m no stranger to academic rigor and a busy schedule, but man oh man is grad school a different beast. It may seem like the spring semester has only just begun, but my program has me doing just five weeks of class and then right on in to full time student teaching. This academic year has been quite a whirlwind so far and is only going to get busier so … How do I stay sane? How do I make time for fun?

I’m not so sure about staying sane, but in this week’s post I’m at least going to share some of the things I can manage to do for fun on a grad school schedule + budget.

Grad school can be a ridiculously stressful time, but that doesn't mean you can't still make time for the things you enjoy and have fun! | HOW TO HAVE FUN WHILE YOU'RE IN GRAD SCHOOL | HONEYBEE JOYOUS

In undergrad I mostly dedicated my free time to the student newspaper and to being the best RA I could be. But, in grad school, I’ve found that I really need to focus on taking time for myself. This post is full of my favorite hobbies and pastimes in no particular order.


My biggest hobby is definitely makeup. I love trying new products, experimenting with interesting colors, and giving new techniques a go. I treat my makeup as an art and a hobby rather than as a must. It’s just as likely I’ll go out with just sunscreen as with a full face. Keeping it as a can-do rather than a must-do keeps it fun and relaxing, plus it keeps me feeling good about myself!

Last year, when I was just getting back into makeup I posted on the blog about what was in my makeup bag. Check that post out here and keep an eye out for an updated version sometime in the coming weeks!

Occasionally I’ll post my makeup looks on Instagram! Give me a follow there if you want.

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“A kaleidoscope of colors, you can toss her around and around. You can keep her in your vision but you’ll never keep her down.” . . When you’re bored on a gloomy Monday, you mess around with new makeup. When you’re bored on a Tuesday, you VOTE! 🗳 If you need resources to be an informed voter, reach out! I’d love to help you exercise this incredible right. 🇺🇸 . . P. S. Check out my story (and my makeup highlight on my profile!) for an unfiltered pic + a pic of the products I used to create this look. #vablogger #virginiablogger #ABMlifeiscolorful #muasfeaturing #colourpopme #wetnwildbeauty #covergirlcrueltyfree #trublend #trublendmattemade #iamwhatimakeup

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I’ve loved to read for my whole life but in undergrad, I rarely made the time to read for fun. In grad school, I realized that needed to change! Reading has been my escape from reality for so long and I needed to get back into it if I was serious about spending more time taking care of myself!

In the late fall, I started getting into listening to audiobooks. I was already listening to my headphones on my long walks to the School of Ed or to my placement school, so I figured I might as well listen to an audiobook rather than the news. I get my audiobooks through the public library, which I definitely recommend! My local library near school uses an app called RBDigital for audiobooks and my library back home uses Libby. Definitely see if your local library has an audiobook app before you pay for one!

My reading goal for this year is to read 24 books and I’m pretty confident I’m going to crush it! Be my friend on Goodreads and let me know in the comment of this blog post if you want to see some book-related posts on the blog.


Whether it’s a dinner date with Brendan or a coffee date with my BFF Heather, spending one on one time with a loved one is always fun. It’s always nice to be able to put away my phone for a few hours and just focus on the person I’m with (and usually the food we’re eating!).


Listen, I’m as surprised as you are that exercise is something I do for fun! I grew up dancing and in high school I danced and did color guard. I never thought of any of that as exercise, but it was keeping me in shape and making me happy. When I came to college, I ended up with a hole in my life where dance and guard used to be. I’ve tried a lot of things to stay fit and keep moving while in school and in grad school I’ve really been focusing on this.

In December I ran an 8k and I’m hoping to run a 10k this year! Running is a new thing for me and I’m still not sure if I really like it, but it makes me feel strong and accomplished so I’m keeping at it for now!

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Yesterday I ran the farthest I’ve ever run 🏃🏻‍♀️ — an 8k! That’s FIVE miles! It was rainy, I had a stitch in my side the whole time, and my socks got wet, but I got to run through the beautiful Christmas decorations at @buschgardensva. 🎄 I finished in just about an hour and I’m so proud of myself for doing something so out of my comfort zone. 💪🏻 (SWIPE if you want an up close view of the swag they gave me for finishing!🏅) Any ideas for my next race? I’m thinking about trying a 10k! . . #graylifefitlife #vablogger #virginiablogger #christmastown #buschgardensva #sharemybgwstory #aplacetobelieve #christmastowndash #christmastowndash8k #runningmotivation

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I’ve also been taking fitness classes at my school’s campus recreation center, since they’ve been made free to students this year! My favorites are cardio dance (like less regulated Zumba) and barre, because they remind me of the dance classes I did for so long! I also enjoy Body Pump, which my friend Indi teaches (it’s weightlifting designed for people whose brains work in eight-counts y’all — if you’re a dancer who wants to start lifting weights, I highly recommend checking it out) and I’m hoping to try out more classes before the end of the school year!

Arts & Crafts

Maybe it’s no surprise as a future elementary school teacher but I love arts and crafts. Whether it’s bulletin boards and flyers for my Residence Life job, a headpiece for a Halloween costume, a coloring page, or a canvas for my wall, I love creating new and pretty things. Concentrating on drawing neat lines or cutting around precise curves help me focus on having fun and being present rather than any kind of stress I might otherwise have.

Watching YouTube

YouTube is usually my go-to way to relax. Whether I’m watching makeup videos, theme park videos, or something totally random, you’ll frequently find me on the couch with my feet up watching videos, especially since my smart TV has a YouTube app. I try not to spend all my free time doing this (working on reducing screen time in general!), but it’s definitely a fun way to spend an evening once in a while.

Local fun

There’s not much that beats heading out and trying something that can only be found in your area! I live right next to Colonial Williamsburg, so when I’m at a loss for fun things to do, I’ll head down the street and I’m sure to find something interesting. Support a small business, go antiquing, go for a hike, or see a tourist attraction. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be something unique and local that you can pass the time doing!

{How do you make time for the thing that make you happy when you’re busy? What’s your favorite fun thing to do? Leave a comment down below and tell me! I read and respond to every comment!}

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