After a yearlong leave of absence during the 2015-2016 academic year, I came back to campus feeling motivated to do well both academically and socially. I spent my leave of absence interning and volunteering in Houston, focusing much of my time on my spiritual and emotional growth.
Last semester, I felt overwhelmed and overworked by the third week of classes. The student body at Oxford had changed completely, new buildings had been erected, and it felt like I didn’t know anyone. It wasn’t until I really started to get to know my current friends that I felt supported and integrated into campus life. I became better at time management and was in bed by 9:00pm on most nights.
My sleep schedule really helped my productivity and allowed me to wake up, without an alarm, by 7am on most mornings. While I know that this system isn’t attainable for most students, I do think a regular sleep schedule has done wonders for my mood, skin, and overall well-being. After I got into my routine, I found myself having too much free time. I completed essays weeks before they were due and kept up with readings and test material. I made the Merit List last semester and felt it was entirely due to my time management.
I feel best when I am busy and engaged with new and interesting material, so this semester, I decided to challenge my time management abilities and decided to overload in academic credits. I am taking Macroeconomics, English Criticism, Statistics, Global Political Economy, Spanish Theater, Film, & Performing Art, Art Independent Study (1 credit), and Ox Studies (1 credit). In addition to my own course load, I am a Supplemental Instructor for Dr. Shannon’s “Intro to Sociology” class and have to sit in on his Tuesday and Thursday lectures, which add another 3 hours and 20 minutes to my weekly lecture time.
This arrangement certainly comes with its tradeoffs. For example, I missed the deadline for this very article, but I hope to get better as the semester progresses. My number one piece of advice is to complete readings, assignments, essays, and other deadline-sensitive tasks way before the deadline (ironic, I know). Having stressful assignments out of the way allows you more time to consult your professor with any questions or doubts you may have. I will certainly write a follow-up to this piece later in the semester with updates on my sanity/emotional state.