I’ve always heard that hindsight is 2020, and now more than ever am I thankful that I developed a few tips along the way to make it through college in one piece – and with my degree of course. I assumed college would be fairly similar to high school in terms of the ability to juggle extra-curricular activities, class, and close relationships. Surviving freshman year felt like a breeze until it seemed like there just weren’t enough hours in the day for everything I wanted to accomplish. I always had time for watching an extra episode of my favorite Netflix show or catching a nap in between classes and still carving out time for my studies.
I didn’t realize how much time I was actually wasting until I began pledging a business fraternity and working 15 hours a week for my internship all while completing a 16 credit hour semester. I consistently felt overwhelmed and struggled to prioritize not only what was most important, but also time sensitive. After arriving to my apartment late one night, feeling exhausted and not having the chance to complete any of my assignments that entire week, I took some time to develop a few rules to influence myself to give precedence to things and people that were most important.
Rule #1: Create a Calendar and Stick to It!
Google Calendar saved my life and my grades! This online platform allows you to visualize any events, assignments, exams or even lunch dates you have coming up while showing you the breaks you have in your schedule. At the beginning of every semester, I enter my class meeting times, fraternity events or meetings, family events, and everything in between to get a sense of where my time will be devoted every week. This online calendar also provides simple tools such as Tasks where you can enter on specific dates the assignments due, and Reminders which I use to remind me when bills are due or when to order a birthday gift. There is even an Events tool which allows you to specify the date, time, and location of any event going on. The visual aspect allowed me to see when I had time between classes or meetings to grab lunch or get some studying done.
Rule #2: You’re in College to get a Degree
This is the first step of prioritizing your time and effort into something you originally came to college to accomplish. Gaining a well-rounded education definitely includes performing well in your area of study, but also how to spend your time outside of class in various clubs or organizations. However, in order to keep your scholarships and GPA intact, always prioritize getting your work done before the deadline. Completing assignments or beginning to study for an exam a few days in advance works wonders not only for your grades but also the availability of time you gain later on. Enjoy the time spent with friends and family along with achieving those academic goals.
Rule #3: Self-Care is the Best Care
Speaking from personal experience, it is so easy to forget the importance of taking care of oneself physically, emotionally and especially mentally over the duration of the semester. We as college students exchange sleep to study for exams, consume tons of coffee to stay energized, and sometimes forget to eat with all things we have going on throughout the day. The significance of breaking away from your schedule to recharge and enjoy your hobbies or your favorite Netflix series is crucial the busier you become. Always remember, you can’t produce your best work if you don’t feel like your best self.
Sometimes you may feel like you are drowning, but there is a way to come to the surface. Learning the art of balance will keep you on the right foot and keep you from burning out. Finding what works for you earlier rather than later will keep you focused and stress free.