I feel like my automatic response when people ask me how I am is, “I’m tired.” And man, I really am. It’s not a “lack of sleep” tired (although that is definitely a factor); it’s more of “I’m worn out because I’m stretched thin” kind of tired. And maybe you agree with me. To show you what I mean, before I continue, I’m going to list everything I have going on this semester.
- 18 credit hours- I’m taking six classes, and spend about 15 hours of my week in the classroom. Eighteen credit hours is basically every college student’s nightmare because that’s the most you can take that is included in your tuition. A lot of students have one semester where they have to take 18 hours, and most of them dread it. As of right now, I have about seven (there are only 8 semesters total).
- Testing out of Comm 210- This week actually I’m taking a test over the Comm 210 (speech) book. I have to study the entire book so I can get a 75% or better. If I do, then I can give a persuasive speech and hopefully receive credit. If I fail, this sets my entire plan back because…
- Applying for the teaching program- I have to get into the teaching program to take the rest of my education courses. But to do that, the other requirement that I need that I “don’t have” is Comm 210. So just all of the pressure of that as well.
- Work- I work usually 12 hours a week. While that may not sound like much, it cuts into my other time quite a bit.
- History Club and social life- As an officer, I’m expected to be at most History Club meetings (I even presented last week). Yes, that’s only an hour or so a week, but it is still a commitment. Not to mention, I also try to keep up a social life, whether it be having dinner with friends, going to movies, or hanging out.
I’m not trying to say “I’m better than you because I’m balancing all of this” or that I want you to feel pity for me. I’m saying all of this because I get it. I know how it feels to be busy. I understand. This semester will probably be my hardest. As such, I’m not as hard on myself. Normally, I like to have all A’s. But this semester, I’m allowing myself to “settle” for a B. I just know it will be rough, and running myself ragged will do no good. In fact, I’m a little sick this week, but that’s almost getting pushed to the side because I have so much other stuff to do. It’s nothing bad, but I’m just not at full capacity right now.
Life requires balance. If you focus on one thing, then something else suffers. But if you stretch yourself too thin, then you can lose focus of the important things in your life. I’ve never been a “partier”, but this semester, I REALLY don’t have time. I’m a student first, an employee second, and an officer third. Everything else comes after that. Therefore, I make sure I have my homework done first, or plan out to do things accordingly.
Needless to say, I’m really stressed this semester. I have a lot of work, and a lot of things to juggle. But such is life. I do what I can to make it work because that’s all I can do. Some days, it’s waking up and just getting through the day. Other times, it’s conquering the week all at once. It just depends what I have going on.
I wish I could give some foolproof advice of how to balance everything. But the truth is, I’m still learning. My best advice is to sort out your priorities. For example, there could be a movie on Netflix that you’re dying to watch. But you have a project due. This is a really obvious example, but this project should come first. The Netflix can be a reward for completing or even getting work done on the project. I’m all for having fun. I love to have fun, but everything can’t always be “fun.” The necessary stuff comes first, and the enjoyable stuff comes later. If your priorities get out of line, then your life gets thrown out of balance. The movie on campus on Friday was Cars 3. I don’t really want to give any spoilers or anything, but I will say this: Lightning McQueen became so focused on winning that he lost sight of racing for a bit. Yes, winning is important; but racing itself should have been his priority. He kind of lost sight of that, and spends the movie trying to find it again.
It’s not easy trying to balance your life. If it was, a lot less people would be stressed more often. That being said, it is usually pretty necessary. Sometimes, in sorting out your priorities, that might mean something gets cut out. That’s been the case for me. However, I’m learning to make time for the most important things first. If there is extra time, then I can do the more fun things. Like I used Netflix earlier. I love to read and color. In fact, I got a really cool coloring book (and colorable tote bag) for my birthday last week that I haven’t had time to dive into yet. Honestly, it’s killing me a little bit. I also have a book on my shelf that I haven’t read that I really want to read. But I haven’t had time because those are extraneous activities. By the time I finish my homework or get off of work, I don’t have the motivation or energy to read or color. So, I watch a lot of movies so that I can have some kind of background noise and do something a little more “fun” while I work. It makes the necessary things a little more enjoyable.
My planner is honestly one of the best things. I’ve mentioned it before and how I use it to formulate my weekly to-do list. It also tells me what I can “put off” for next week or later on. For example, that speech test has been clouding my mind, especially since it has to be taken this week. However, I have a draft of a large paper due in a couple weeks. (The whole paper is due the end of the semester). Therefore, I would like to have the draft done before fall break so I don’t have to worry about it and do it the night before, but I’m not worrying about it this week. That’s next week’s problem. This week, I’m focusing more on the speech test because that’s more of a priority for me right now.
If any of you are struggling with this, I encourage you to write down things that need to be prioritized. It honestly can help keep you on track and improve your stress levels. Take it day by day. If it’s homework, start with what’s due soonest. If it’s work, similar thing. Most jobs have some deadlines. Do the ones with the fastest approaching deadlines first. There are a few exceptions to this. For example, going back to that speech test (it’s really on my mind this week), studying is a huge task. So, I read a couple chapters of it on Sunday, and I’ve been reading more each day. However, I also can’t neglect my other homework. I have something due on Sunday, but I’m going to be gone this weekend, so I would like to have it done before then. That being said, this assignment should take me about an hour or less. So I actually did it yesterday so that it’s out of the way so I can prioritize studying. In the same way, chip at the “ice block” of responsibility. A little bit at a time makes you realize that maybe it only looked bigger than it actually was.