The Juggling Act That is College

I think that one of the most important things that you learn in college is time management. You have your classes, your clubs, homework, spending time with friends, maybe even a relationship or a job or both. Some college students even fit a 16.5 minute nap into their incredibly busy schedule, because they have to sleep at some point, right?

For me, I feel like I’m still trying to perfect this time management skill. Since freshman year, my list of responsibilities has tripled in size. Every year has proven to be a new challenge.

For my freshman year of college,  I went to school in Connecticut, 284 miles from my hometown. My priorities then were to get good grades, make new friends, and maintain a long distance relationship with my high school boyfriend who I had been dating for a little over a year. My sophomore year is when I transferred schools to be closer to home, but my priorities pretty much remained the same: get good grades, make new friends, and maintain my relationship with my boyfriend who had gone from being 284 miles away to being about 36 miles away.

So now, in my junior year, I’ve taken on a new challenge. After countless job applications and interviews, I finally managed to get myself a job. There’s something about being able to pay for things yourself instead of asking your parents for money that is so freeing. It teaches you how to budget your money and spend it responsibly. So, after a summer of hard work, I decided to keep the job. Boy, if I had known what I was getting myself into, I might not have made the same decision.

I’m a full-time student during the week who works anywhere between 10 and 20 hours on the weekend. There has definitely been a noticeable shift in social life. The nights I would have spent going out with my friends are now spent doing dishes or scrubbing and mopping floors. The mornings when I could’ve gone for a beautiful hike with my boyfriend are spent putting cookies into bags and making sure all of the utensils are out and ready for the day ahead. I’ve seen friends exit my life this year because I simply didn’t have the time to put in the effort. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve had to apologize for not having spoken in a while because I’ve been too busy to even catch my breath. I worry sometimes that I have so many balls in the air that at some point, I won’t be able to catch them all.

I am lucky, though. With all of the stress and anxiety over who everyone needs me a to be–a student, an employee, a friend, a girlfriend, a daughter–I’ve had a group of people who have been nothing but understanding and supportive of me and my ever-growing busy schedule. I have to ask myself, is it all worth it? Is it worth it to kill yourself over all of this? And my answer continues to be, “yes.” It’s shown me what true loyalty is. It’s the people who don’t care how long it’s been since we last hung out or even spoke. They continue to be there for me. At some point, it will show employers that I know how to manage my time because of all the hours of hard work that I’ve put in.

But, most important of all, it’s shown me what a strong, responsible person I have become. It’s shown me that I am capable of anything, just as long as I can keep my head on straight and my planner organized.