It is not easy for everyone to balance their lives with the fast-paced, time-dependent society we live in. It is even more difficult for college students to get their assignments completed while also maintaining friendships and holding onto a part time job.
As a student who cares about the quality of their work, I find it difficult at times to prioritize the right things. Do I call my boyfriend and let him know how my day was or do I start my essay a week in advance? The weekends are all but work for me with a schedule from 4 p.m. on Friday, a double on Saturday and ending around 7 p.m. on Sunday with enough room to sleep in between. How do I ever function?
This semester I took a leap and changed my major. That is, I got rid of the education endorsement after months of meditating on whether this was the right choice. School wise, it was the best decision I ever made. It freed up so much of my time because I no longer had my education classes and the clinical hours that accompanied them.
For those still in the education field (or any major that requires outside hours), the best advice I can give to you is to plan your clinicals effectively. Sit down in the beginning of the semester, take out your phone and open that calculator app and figure out how to complete them while leaving time for yourself.
It is extremely important to have what we call “you-time.” It is the difference between stressing out over your entire life’s choices and having complete confidence. You absolutely need to set aside time for mental leisure otherwise you will burn out. That is usually what happens around midterms and finals. Students chug along during the semester and drown themselves in procrastination and trivial activities and leave everything for last minute.
There are times when you have to stop and breathe. You can listen to music, lay and rest your eyes, read for pleasure, whatever it is that calms you. Stress is one of the worst things that affects people mentally and physically.
If you do not have a major that requires clinicals, use that extra time to get ahead with assignments. I usually finish my week’s assignments from Monday through Thursday, leaving the weekend open for work so I do not have to think about it. Having been in classes, I am in a more academic mindset through the weekdays. My work is often completed with quality and I get a lot of it done when I am on campus.
I make a list throughout the week of assignments I need to get done and I write them in my planner. I am extremely picky with my planners, so it takes me a few trips to Target, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart before I chose the right one. I go for planners that are usually set-up with Monday-Tuesday on one page and Wednesday-Sunday on the second page. The days need to have the lines for me to keep everything neat and organized. As I finish each assignment, I cross it off. There is a large sense of accomplishment when I look back at the end of the week to see all of the assignments I crossed out.
I usually prioritize my school work for more in the beginning of the day. That is, I try and finish everything by around 6 or 7 p.m., leaving the rest of the day for leisure. I usually go to the gym around this time because exercise is just as important as keeping away stress. I find that running helps alleviate a lot of my anxieties. I also feel a lot better in myself because I do not feel lazy and out of shape.
At this point, I grab a to-go box from the dining hall and go back to my dorm to shower. The rest of the night is left to going on Discord, talking with my friends and playing video games with them. I always divide my time with my suitemates and my friends from home to make sure I am being active with both of the groups.
Often times I feel lonely; I had a single dorm last year and it was utter torture. While it was nice to not have a roommate always in the way, I felt left out and basically began to shut myself out from everything.
I would see students having fun out my window and I would hear the laughing and joy from volleyball games. I need to be around people otherwise I feel an extreme version of FOMO. So, I need to finish my off my days with talking to people.
Everything I do each day is important to both my mental and physical health. I just learned overtime how to budget everything accordingly. I do not need to spend hours watching YouTube videos or Netflix shows when I know I have essays. That was how I was in high school and those types of behaviors do not suit me in college.
Just know that we are all different types of people. What works for me, just might not work for you. What I am trying to get across is the importance of planning and leaving the trivial things behind or as a last resort.
Before you decide to watch another episode or to put off homework just one more day, think how that will affect you. If you have time, utilize it to the best of your ability.