As this school year kicks off, one of our new Fellows, Keith Matthews, agreed to answer a few questions about how to get it all done in a busy season.
Albert Schweitzer Fellowship: What program are you in and where is your ASF project?
Keith Matthews: I am a licensed Nurse Practitioner in Opelika, AL working towards my Doctor of Nursing Practice at Auburn University. I am working with the HIV/AIDS Service Organization, Unity Wellness Center, in order to address depression and anxiety in people living with HIV to increase their adherence to HIV treatment.
ASF: What do you want to do when you are finished with your DNP?
KM: I will continue practicing and working with people living with, HIV but I would love to take an adjunct professor position at a nursing school (Auburn University, ideally)!
ASF: You have a lot on your plate right now. Tell me what all sorts of things you are balancing in addition to being an ASF fellow?
KM: I am working on obtaining my DNP from Auburn with projected graduation of December 2024, My wife and I welcomed our first child last year which has been amazing but very busy, and I work fulltime as an NP at Unity Wellness.
ASF: What do your days look like?
KM: I wake up a around 6:00 AM and after getting the dog situated, get ready for work. I arrive at 7:00AM and do a quick devotional, look at the news, then start looking through the schedule for that day before clinic starts at 8:00 AM, I answer emails, refilling medications, and look at previous notes and referral reports. The clinic goes from 8:00 to 12 then we start back at 1 and go to 4. Usually at lunch or the end of the day, I’ll squeeze in some schoolwork, so I won’t have to work too much at home. My wife has her own tutorial business so when I get home, I play and spend time with our son while she finishes up. Cooking is also something I really enjoy doing so I will often make dinner, so she does not feel pressured to cook when she finishes. After she finishes, we feed Elias, have some family play time before our evening walk, then put him to bed. For the next couple of hours, she and I catch up on our day and have some quality time together before bed.
ASF: How do you find balance with all the things and people mentioned above needing time and attention?
KM: Support from my wife has been the biggest help in finding balance. We have a good balance at home when it comes to life and responsibilities there. She also pushes me to take breaks, hang out with friends, and do those things that bring me joy so that I don’t get burned out.
ASF: Any advice for future Fellows looking to apply to ASF about how to manage all the different stresses of ASF project, work, school and life?
KM: Get organized in the beginning and pace yourself when it comes to your project. Also, prioritize time to destress and do things that bring you joy. ASF is great about checking in with their fellows to ensure they are not being stretched too thin and have down time!