In college, the juxtaposition between having fun and realizing that you are one or two steps away from your future career is drastic. With more responsibilities and ambitions than ever before, it can be difficult to find ways to map your daily life to fit in everything that needs to be done. Of course, kind reader, I want the best for you and for all your dreams to be realized, so here are some ways that I make the hectic life of being an almost real adult work for me.
1. Love your planner. Your planner is your best friend. Find one that is the size you prefer with all the customizable options you desire. I use a Bullet Journal, and it’s amazing. Update your planner throughout the day and keep track of everything in your life. Go wild!
2. Think about what matters most to you. What are your priorities right now, today, this week, this year? Your priorities can be people, classes, extracurricular activities, ideas, and anything else you feel is particularly important in your life. Build your days around your priorities and figure out the ways to best incorporate each one.
3. Create realistic goals for yourself. Do you want to lessen your procrastinating? First, try to space out the time you spend on projects, then try to study for tests more actively, and finally try to get your homework done early. If you ever feel like you’re about to climb Mount Everest without training because of the amount of work you have, I suggest breaking down your goals. You can feel more successful by accomplishing smaller tasks and working your way up than trying to complete everything all at once.
4. Classes should come first. College is a tug of war between classes and extracurricular activities, because grades in college often come to mean less than experiencing your job’s field. No one just gets an internship for fun, right? Yet, grades will still follow you to your job as well as what you take out of your classes- especially the ones that have to do with your major! If you attempt to enjoy and appreciate all of your classes, or at least find interest in them, you will be more likely to retain information, and your transcript will thank you.
5. Say yes! If an opportunity comes your way that seems like it will be beneficial to your goals, fits in with your priorities, and interests you, definitely take the chance to see where it goes.
6. Unless you need to say no, I’m a supporter of saying yes, but sometimes, opportunities will come up that won’t work with my current commitments. If you find it heartbreaking to say no, then you probably shouldn’t and may need to readjust some things to make the opportunity work. If it only hurts a little, just know that you may be able to come back to it when things are less busy or you’ll find something that works even better in the future. Overwhelming yourself with commitments won’t help anyone, especially you.
7. Always show up early: to class, to work, to practice, to anything. You’ll feel prepared and not stressed and you might even have time to get Starbucks beforehand.
8. Utilize your breaks wisely. Get stuff done during breaks so you won’t have to stress about it later when you just want to watch Netflix. With that said, read tip 9.
9. Downtime is necessary. You will feel drained, tired, and unmotivated if you don’t have time to recharge your inner battery. I like to read, workout, or watch shows to take a mental break. Take your pick and have fun indulging in it. You know you deserve it.
10. Stay healthy. Obviously we can’t control if we get sick or if something drastic happens, but drinking water, eating unprocessed foods and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day (even if it’s just briskly walking to class) will have significant benefits! It will wake up your brain, help you do better in school and keep your spirits high.
11. Know that every day is not going to be perfect. You could have everything planned out the right way, be super motivated, and ready to accomplish anything… and nothing goes your way. That’s okay. Appreciate the small things that go right that day and don’t stop trying. There’s always tomorrow.
*All photos courtesy of author