Maintaining Sanity in my Senior Year

This semester is already kicking my butt. Last semester I officially declared my graduation date as December 2019, which means graduation, job searching, and "the real world" are only months away. This is my senior year and I’m super busy. The sixteen credits I’m taking this semester feel endlessly more intense than last semester’s twenty credits. I barely have any free time. I’ve had to step back and declare an “associate” status in my Greek organization just to vanquish the stress of finding time for 30 hours of community service, and I still feel like there isn’t enough time in the day.

It’s been over five days since I went to bed before 2 am. I went three days without seeing any of my friends, all because I had too much work to do. If I read everything I was assigned, I’d be reading well over 600 pages a week, so there isn’t a single point in time where there isn’t work I could be doing.

Over the past three weeks since the semester started, I’ve been working endlessly on mastering the art of time management. It’s not something I’ve ever been great at, but it’s become a lot harder since it became humanly impossible to get everything done.

What’s my strategy? Organize everything by its deadline and never stop working. It sounds pretty great in practice. I’ve been meeting my deadlines. I’ve been doing all the necessary work. It’s just all been at the expense of my mental, physical, and social health. I’m quickly realizing this balancing act has to be about more than just four classes and my academics.

I’ve sketched out my schedule in my planner. All of my deadlines, meetings, and all the readings I’m supposed to have done are laid out on a week by week basis. Everything looks exactly like it always has, but here’s the difference. I’m going to stop being afraid to take breaks.

When I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, I’m going to go to bed. I’m going to schedule in some extra time. 20 minutes for YouTube videos. 5 minutes for meditation. 10 to journal. Time at the end of the day just to waste, because wasted time isn’t actually a waste.

My brain needs time to reset. As much as I love learning, reading, and writing, I can’t be doing that all the time. I need to take Saturday nights off and leave Sunday mornings for sleeping in until brunch. Yes, this semester is going to be my most challenging semester yet, but that’s why all of this is so important.

I can’t just keep going forever. If I try, my body and mind are just going to give out. Heck, they might do that anyway. I’ve had plenty of breakdowns over the course of my college career, but that doesn't mean I’m striving for another one. Starting today, I’m slowing down. I’m asking for help when I need it, and I’m taking things one day at a time.

If and when I fall behind, I’ll be okay. The world around me might never stop moving forward, but if I stop taking care of myself, I’ll never be able to catch back up.