My roommate so wisely pointed out that I have issues saying no to more work. Making classes more difficult for myself by doing extra assignments? Check. Picking up extra shifts at work that I don’t really need? Check. Volunteering myself to complete extra tasks for a club that I really don’t have time for? Check. I could go on and on – the list is pretty long. It’s only been two weeks since school has started, and I’m already pulling all-nighters. To be honest, I’m not really sure how it got to this point so quickly into the semester, but here we are. I guess working two jobs, loads of extracurriculars, and maxing out the number of credits does that to a person.
The pressure of being a college student is tantamount to the stress that I’m sure only contestants on a show like MasterChef would face. You find yourself canceling all of your plans to study, constantly critiquing yourself to know where you stand compared to everyone else, and are stressed to the max at any given time. You find yourself constantly fantasizing about the days when ‘Netflix and Chill’ was a reality and not some far-off fever dream. You find yourself wishing there were more hours in a day so you can do all the overachiever things you have planned out. Sans the cooking, it basically feels like you’re living a real-life competition with Gordon Ramsay (a.k.a the voice in your head) barking at your heels. I thought it was just me with my poor time-management and constant procrastination, but a lot of us face the same issues in college. We’re so pressed for time that everything becomes secondary to goals and ambitions, including ourselves at times. Given all of this, what’s the key to living a more balanced life, and how do you find it?
The whole “don’t let anything stress you out too much and take care of yourself” spiel is much easier said than done. I gave a friend some advice a while ago when they came to me with the same problem, but obviously haven’t taken it myself. If I did, I’m sure I wouldn’t be struggling so much. “Prioritize what you need to get done for today, and you can do the rest tomorrow. Oh, and plan your day down to the minute,” is the sage advice that I was able to give her. It sounds simple, but for someone that has an unnatural need to have a laundry list of things to do at all times, it’s very difficult to actually carry out.
After a horrific night of no sleep and a week of no sleep looming ahead, I am finally forcing myself to follow my own words of wisdom. Prioritizing can help take a lot of unnecessary things off of your plate, in general and on a day-to-day basis. Is it really worth it to stay up late to work on a problem set that’s due two days from now? No! It’s totally okay to split the work up. It also helps you to realize that you really do need to make more time for yourself. Even though eating on time, exercising, and taking a mental health break don’t seem that important when you have mountains of tasks to complete, they really are and can even help you stay more productive! Planning things out can also help with time management and staying on track if you’re prone to zoning out often like me.
It’s easy to fall into self-destructive routines that are very overwhelming, especially for those of us that need to be bombarded with task lists to do anything productive. However, from one overwhelmed college student to another, finding some sort of balance in your routine is key. You deserve it.