As the semester began, I was cognizant of how time-consuming a rigorous course load would be––especially one that exceeds the maximum amount of credit hours afforded to every individual at my institution. However, I felt adequately prepared to balance the academic workload with my extracurricular obligations. Following a fairly lengthy conversation with a friend who has been struggling to find the inner drive required to complete schoolwork as well as study, I compiled three methods that prove valuable in ensuring academic–as well as mental–success.
Create a schedule, either on a digital or physical medium, documenting all deadlines for the week and semester.
I attribute a large part of my first semester success to the massive Google spreadsheet I created to reflect every deadline for all of my classes. While it required quite a bit of effort and time to produce, I felt that it was the most helpful in reducing stress and forcing me into a state of productivity. Unfortunately, I have not yet found the time to compile all of my current semester deadlines into one spreadsheet; however, I ordered a small whiteboard on Amazon to document weekly deadlines. Because the whiteboard has not yet arrived, I have been writing all of my deadlines on my hands in pen, which has also proved helpful. I think any sort of physical reminder reflecting a deadline–whether it is through a Google spreadsheet, whiteboard, phone notification, or pen–is critical.
Locate and designate a small area of space for anything related to academics.
Because I live in and attend all my classes and extracurricular meetings from a small dorm room, I have begun to feel suffocated by the repetitive environment that is associated with sleeping, eating, and studying. Because of this, I have found that allocating some time to complete work in the common lounge area has alleviated some of that irritation. The lounge is now associated with strictly academic work that does not encroach upon the other things I do.
Allocate time to converse with friends and family.
Though I constantly find myself preoccupied with academic and extracurricular obligations, I have forced myself to pause and call my friends and family. Most of the calls focus on daily life updates; however, I have found that the break gained through these calls elevates my mood and allows me to more efficiently consume material. Additionally, it makes me feel significantly less lonesome and stressed. I think putting forth the effort to nurture these relationships is directly connected to academic performance.
As the second semester begins, I highly suggest locating some time to compile a schedule and call your friends or family. While school is extremely important, I do believe it is crucial to understand how to effectively prioritize and balance various responsibilities.