Advice for college kids

Katt is a marketing major with a minor in sustainability at the University of Colorado, Denver with aspirations to make the world a more sustainable place through business-to-business marketing. She currently works at Whole Foods Market in the bakery. When she’s not busy working or studying, she acts in films or snowboards.

School. Work. Life. Sleep. These are the things that college students struggle with on a daily basis. With so much to do and only 24 hours in a day, how does one possibly get anything done? How do you find balance in the chaos of a fast-paced society that expects you to be able to do anything and everything?
It’s a struggle. I currently go to school full time with 17 credit hours. On top of that, I work 30-50 hours a week between two jobs and I’m currently acting in a student film and a local, independent film. Despite all of this, I still find time for my friends, my family, and my boyfriend and I even manage to squeeze in about four-five hours of sleep a night.
So how is this all possible with only 24 hours in a day? It’s definitely not easy, but you can achieve some level of balance during your college years. It all starts with prioritizing. I don’t always have time to do everything that I need to get done. So I prioritize. School comes first. Everything else in my schedule is scheduled around my classes. I go to work after I’ve completed my classes for the day and I work the most on weekends. Homework will get done in between classes, right before a shift at work, as soon as I get home from work, etc. My second priority, then, is work. I no longer live with my parents so I need an income to support myself. The reason I work so many hours is so I can pay off rent, afford decent, healthy food, and so I can save some money to pay off my student loans. The days that I get off from work and that I’m caught up on homework are the days that I hang out with my friends or go visit my family. And then, of course, there’s the biggest question of all; sleep.
It is extremely important to get sleep while in college. Without it, you’ll feel groggy and you won’t be at your best. This is the area I struggle with the most when it comes to balance. If I have a billion and one things to get done in the day and I’m running out of time, I sacrifice sleep to get it done. But this is not healthy. So the best thing you can do is make a schedule for each day. Write down when you need to go to class, your work schedule, then pencil in all of the homework you need to get done for that week and the exact time that you’re going to get it done. As lame as it may sound, schedule yourself a bed-time. You should be getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you really have a lot to do, then it’s ok to sacrifice a couple of hours of sleep here and there. But make them up somewhere when you have the time. With all leftover time, use that for your friends, family, significant other; catch up on sleep, pick up an extra shift at work if you need it.
You don’t have to have a schedule as crazy as mine. Full time work and school with other big projects on the side is not for everyone and that’s ok. If you need to go to school only part-time or you need to focus on school and not work, then do that. Your priorities may be in a different order than my own, and that is fine, too. Just be sure to find your balance so that you don’t burn yourself out early on and so you can get the most out of your college experience!

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