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College: A Million Things To Do, Only 24 Hours

Ever felt like you have so much to do and so little time? Here are my tips to tackle the chaos of college.

It’s 8 p.m. on Thursday night: your assignment is due at 11:59 p.m., you haven’t worked out today so you feel gross, all your friends are going out, and you still have to call back home. What do you do when you want to do all of it but can only do some? This was my situation within a few weeks of being in college. If you’re like me, you can imagine the only solution I could think of: stress about it.

After this chaotic Thursday night, I realized that what I really needed was to find a balance. I wanted to be able to do the fun parts of college without sacrificing the necessities, like actual school work. Luckily, I think I have mastered a method that allows me to allot my time in a productive and fun manner: planning ahead. This seems like an obvious answer, but I found that if I take the time to map out my day beforehand, I am able to accomplish what I need to. Planning out a day can look different to each person: some prefer planning mentally, others by saying it out loud, or my personal favorite, writing it down.

My so-far successful way of planning has involved making to-do lists. The night before, I write out my schedule and when I have breaks. Once my break starts, I write a list of what I want to accomplish during this free time, either on paper or just in the notes app on my phone. As soon as I finish each task, I cross it off, which is the most satisfying part of the whole to-do list idea. I view this list as goals, considering each task a different goal I want to accomplish, thus making me feel proud when I get through the whole list. I generally use the to-do list for things such as assignments or projects I need to finish.

My Class Tracker Planner
Original photo by Meghan Keeler

While I am writing out my schedule the night before, I make sure it isn’t all just work. I make sure to add in things like “dinner with friends,” even if it’s just going to the dining hall, or the more exciting stuff like “dinner on State Street,” because they give me something to look forward to. Having things to look forward to is also a great form of motivation to get through the less fun activities. Planning ahead what I need to have done before I go out with my friends is a huge stress reliever, and allows me to be present with my friends instead of only thinking about my assignments.

All this being said, it is also important to add in time for myself. I’ve found in college, especially in the dorms, you are always surrounded by people and it is very important to allow some time to yourself, even if it’s just to gather your thoughts. I like to work out, which I do with a friend , but it is something I like to do for myself. Having things for yourself is important, and it’s even more important to actually do things for yourself. This is why I prioritize getting things done for myself.

The toughest part of planning a schedule is committing to the schedule. But I remind myself of that chaotic Thursday and how stressed I was, and I remember how much I disliked that feeling. Sometimes I do lose the motivation to get things done, and that’s okay, but finding this way of keeping myself organized and able to balance every aspect of my life right now has been the best method for me. No matter how you schedule your day, I recommend to everyone to find a way to balance it, because with the right planning, you can truly have it all.

Priyal Desai

Wisconsin '25

I am a student at UW Madison studying psychology and political science, hoping to pursue a career in law! I love to meet new people and explore new things!!
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