By Susana Acosta
You’re not peanut butter, cream cheese, or butter. There’s no need to spread yourself too thin. The idea of doing everything that you want in college is as shiny and attractive as Las Vegas neon lights. That may be why it is so easy to get caught in the trap of signing up for every organization that visits children at the hospital on weekends, every club that involves dance or that other favorite hobby of yours, or all the sports teams you participated in during high school. In high school, your workload matched your course load, and you had an easy way of managing if your parents did your laundry, had dinner waiting for you every night, and you had more to a course grade than just two midterms and a final. One bad day would not hurt you. But let’s start there. College and high school are worlds apart, and the earlier you realize that, the sooner you can adjust your time management skills.
Each student works best in a certain way. Some of us like to use planners, while other prefer post-it notes sprawled everywhere on desks and walls, and a select few just remember everything and rely on just knowing the time wherever they are. What I found, though, is that you have to establish a plan and be consistent in your routine.
First, you need to set up a timetable with all your classes and activities. Once you’re able to see all the time slots that are filled, you can work around them to do other things. It is important to set a time to do homework; if you don’t, it becomes easy to procrastinate and as the semester progresses, the assignments will become more difficult. This means that it will no longer be simple to complete them if you start the night before. Next, find some time for the clubs you can make time for. This means, if you cannot make time for 7 clubs and still be successful in your classes, then do not be active in them. Pick two, maybe three, that you absolutely want to be part of your year and go for it. Put them in your schedule. Also, give yourself some relaxation time to see a movie, hang out with friends, or to run errands if you have to leave campus.
If you find something that works, do not adjust your plans last minute or every week just because you want more time to sleep or because you want to fit in that sorority event or date with your boyfriend. I cannot explain to you how difficult it is to rearrange your schedule once you have one that is convenient. If Thursdays are your days to do homework in Biology and Tuesdays are your days to study for Finance, then do not switch them or push off one of them until the weekend. This is how you fall behind in homework, begin to struggle in classes, and eventually do poorly on exams. It will also cause guilt when you have to start skipping club meetings or sports practices because you failed to do your homework on the day that you told yourself you would. Moreover, if this domino effects starts ruining your classes and clubs, it will also ruin you once you no longer have free time and become so stressed that it becomes an uphill climb to try to successfully juggle everything while taking care of your own needs.
Girls constantly complain that guys do not want to commit, but I think we have issues committing to when it comes to things in our lives. Do not let schedules and deadlines be something that you cannot commit to, because it becomes habit and will reflect badly on you in the future. Employers, clients, and pets will be disappointed.