The Secret To Productivity I Wish I Knew When I Came To College

The Secret To Productivity I Wish I Knew When I Came To College

Keep yourself busy.
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“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” A common enough saying. I personally have heard it from my father more times than I’d like. Nevertheless, his stolen wisdom has rung through my ears for years and finally made sense after my first year of college.

In high school, I was constantly busy with three extracurriculars, a schedule filled with APs, a boyfriend, and some amazing best friends. I felt I barely had a moment to think. All of a sudden, thrust into college life, I was faced with excessive amounts of free time.

Granted, when making my first schedule of my college career, I figured making each day of class start at twelve and end at one would give me ample time to do my homework. I soon came to find this was not the case.

As all great procrastinators know, the phrase “I have plenty of time to do it later,” only leads to more stress. “Later” signifies the absolute last possible moment you have before it’s too late.

The fact of the matter is, the knowledge of having so much time to do something is actually disadvantageous. You sit there, knowing you have time and getting sidetracked all the while.

On the contrary, when you don't have enough time, the time you do have becomes much more precious. By having smaller amounts of time, you become exceptionally better at time management.

Unlike my first quarter of college, this quarter I’ve been exceptionally busy. Between taking more difficult courses, having longer days, working eight-hour shifts, being in a sorority, helping my sister with college apps, trying to stay healthy, and still attempting to maintain a shred of a social life, I, like in high school, have not had free time.

But, instead of sleeping my days away, or spending them binge-watching Jane the Virgin, I’m incredibly more productive. I make a to-do list at the beginning of each week and slowly but surely check off each task. I work harder and my GPA is on the rise. I rarely procrastinate because I know I may not have time to do it later.

Not to mention, I feel more accomplished as this productive person.

Being busy is great. It’s a win-win, where you do more, and succeed in what you do. Of course, there’s the potential to be too busy. I’ve definitely been there, but it’s better than being bored, right? You gain the skills to manage your time wisely, and the free time you do have feels that much more fulfilling.

So next time, take that challenging class, pick up the extra shift at work, and always take the time to treat yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?

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Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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