Written by Annie Sourbis
So I'm suppose to write a blog to give other college students tips about how to manage their time and responsibilities. But I feel like I should be honest and point out that I am writing this at 11:30pm on a Sunday night. On the other hand I am not stressed out about it or overwhelmed and I have gotten about 75% of my homework done for the entire week. So I would like to think I am in pretty good shape as far as where most fellow college students find themselves at 11:30pm on Sunday.
I've also been the college student who just first cracks open their textbook at 11:30pm on a Sunday--to be completely honest that was me almost every semester at Baruch until last semester (Spring 2015). My first semester at Baruch I felt underwhelmed (I got lucky with easy teachers) and I was able to get a 3.65 that semester without putting anymore work in than I did in High School. From then on I continued to underestimate my classes and my GPA continued to roll down steady decline. By the Fall of 2014 I barely had a 3.1.
I was putting minimal effort into my classes: only listening to the professors I deemed "interesting enough", handing in my papers last minute (sometimes even late), half-arcing studying, and sleeping in too much. Then Intermediate Micro-Economics Happened. I had a professor who seemed to put in minimal effort into her teaching and I decided, like I always did, to mirror her amount of effort. The thing about that is...Only the student suffers. Needless to say I failed my first class in college.
Let me tell you, I did not act cool about it. I would lay awake some nights thinking about how I was going to fail my first class and it was too late at that point. It took me a bit to get over it, but at one point I realized I needed to make amends with my mistakes and move forward.Which is a skill that is needed in order to fight bad habits, especially chronic procrastination: you need to admit your mistake, but also forgive yourself so you can move on to obtaining a new habit.
he next semester I had four classes on my plate plus I was taking on the new role of Executive Vice President of USG that semester. I knew I was not going to allow my studies, my responsibilities, or my relationships slide this time. So I made serious changes. These changes can help anyone:
- You need a planner/agenda or something that speaks to you. It needs to be easy and convenient for you to read and handle. It needs to motivate you to want to write in it. Judge your planner by the cover (and layout)!
- rite EVERYTHING in it. Dates, deadlines, assignments, social outings, class, meetings, practice. EVERYTHING. i don't care if it's an activity you do everyday or once in your life. Write it down.
- As you start doing this you start to see your habits: when you get things done. Then you can start scheduling your homework and other tasks into that time slot. For example I know late at night on weeknights nothing is getting done so I schedule my homework for my large class brake in the morning and mostly Friday.
- If you are procrastinating you need to get yourself to just start working for 5 minutes. Usually we procrastinate because we find the task daunting in some way. But usually we solve that issue within 5 minutes of working and before you know it you're not procrastinating anymore.
- You need to know your limit. As you start to organize yourself on paper you start to learn about how you work and when you are too stressed. For example, I can only really do 4 classes and one large responsibility. I by no means one of those people who can juggle 7 different tasks at a time. So right now for the year I am only taking classes, doing my homework, USG, and keeping my girlfriend happy. That's it. A lot of people think I should be doing an internship or something to forward my career more. Maybe I should, but I know that if I did that I would be spreading myself too thin and everything would suffer.
- Also figure out what is your ultimate stress level. Stress is not bad, overstress is. The right amount of stress is needed in order for us to be motivated for us to do anything. My worst semester at Baruch I only had classes and mindless job as my responsibilities. I was so unstimulated I hardly did anything productive except deposit my check. With the stress of usg (which is a fulltime job) I feel motivated to juggle and succeed in all of my tasks.
- Lastly, you need to prioritize. Classes are predictable--there's a syllabus for crying out loud. I put those assignments in my planner on the first day of class. I know that USG is not predictable. So I take care of my class work for the week over the weekend so I don't have to worry about it when USG throws me a curve ball. I take my class work one week at a time and I take my USG responsibilities one day at a time.
P.S Check out this cool link and good luck!