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Balancing classes and a social life

Have you ever looked back at decisions you made and thought, "If I knew then, what I know now, things would have been so different". Well that's how I feel looking back at my undergraduate experience, except I needed those experiences. Time management. This is the golden world for just about the rest of your life. It seems cliche at this point.


Especially when you just come out of high school, your freshman schedule looks like you have all the free time in the world. Maybe your classes don't start until 10am or maybe not even until noon which is so different from making it to you high school by 7am on five of the seven days of the week. Maybe you don't have classes every day.


Trust me when I say, you don't have as much time as you think. College courses are exhausting. You're going to find yourself napping throughout the day. College can be stressful. Now you're going to find yourself finding ways to decompress by watching Netflix or hanging out with friends. College requires a lot of brain power. You're going to find yourself going out to eat solo or with friends. College courses require a lot of time. You are going to find yourself needing to study for an upcoming exam, rushing to complete homework, and planning for the next project and/or presentation. You're away from home. Now you need to find time to call your old friends and family. You will go through it all and realize you have no time left.


I was a huge planner, but still didn't get the hang of things because I made my schedule to strict for the first two years to the point where I stopped following it. So when did it start to work out? I was realistic with myself and looked at my history. I factored in how tired I am after certain classes, how much time do I need to decompress, when do I need to eat, how much free time to schedule in case there is an impromptu lunch or dinner date, how much time do I need to study for a topic in different courses.


I used google calendar because it links to your phone's calendar and sends you a notification to know exactly what is next. All you have to do is make the perfect schedule ahead of time and then trust your schedule so that you don't have to stress yourself out over what your next task should be.


I always set aside Friday nights and Saturday mornings as time away from work. No work study, no studying, no homework. I could either stay in and be a home body or go out.


I always made it so no matter what I did, I would always have 8 hours of sleep.


I actually budgeted "catch-up" time for when certain projects, homework assignments, and solo study sessions or study groups ran over time so I would not gall behind and I always set up reminders for exams, presentations, and homework assignments.


I made my schedule flexible enough that I could shuffle around different appointments, study times, and free times, but I made sure I was disciplined enough to complete whatever was scheduled within that week.


I'm not gonna lie. It takes effort at the beginning to create the schedule and discipline to stick with it. I became the person who always had to check my schedule when plans were made and I also was the person who had to say no to some social gatherings. Although hard at the time, I was so grateful for the discipline I had and my last year and half of my undergraduate career was mostly stress free. A lot of my stress was a result of procrastination and this schedule took care of it.


It got to the point where I actually started making schedules for friends of mine to help them stay better organized as well.


You can start small, but just make sure you commit. It takes three weeks to build a habit that leads to a lifetime of success.

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