It has been both an amazing and amusing experience for me in college to observe how some students are able to find time for everything they like. From flexing muscles in a gym, submitting assignments on time, chasing leather in a football field, to catching up on gossip with friends and even juggling a part time job, they seem to lead an exceptionally organised life. While there are others who still have that eternal question on their mind, where’s the time? Does the clock tick slower on the other side?
Time Management is Life Management
There is a common joke we all might have come across on social media about what life in college is like. A student can never have good grades, have a thriving social life, and get adequate amounts of sleep all at the same time, but can only pick two of them at once. Throughout high school, while we are gearing up for college, we are bombarded with advice from our peers on how to successfully balance studying and work, while also maintaining a social life.
Out of those countless suggestions I had been given, the most important one that I adopted was to focus on building strong organisational skills that would ultimately be a major contributor to my success as a student and in my career. Being organised is not about getting more things done but instead getting the right things done efficiently, making the wisest possible investment of my time. The concept of time table was introduced to us at the onset of our academic life to guide us so that we minimize wastage of time, which has greatly helped me throughout my college life.
I started out my day listing all the tasks I had pending, giving me a bird’s-eye view of my schedule and the time I would need to spend on completing each of them. It has been scientifically proven and amply demonstrated by the lifestyle of top corporate workers that the tone for the day is set by how they spend the first few hours right after waking up. When we are successful in setting the pace of the morning, we are affirming how the rest of the day is going to unfurl. This concept of having a sleek and smart morning routine has been wonderfully encapsulated by Robin Sharma in his iconic book, The 5.00AM Club.
I also segregated the tasks on the basis of how urgent or how important they were, so that I could allocate more time in doing those which required my immediate attention. Since we have limited hours in a day, we must give more emphasis to doing the most critical activities above the simpler ones. Some of them could either be carried forward to the next day, or could be managed digitally through applications or scheduling appointment software, so I don’t have to worry about missing important dates. If you too find yourself swamped with a never ending to-do list, consider ranking them on the basis of their importance, eliminating unnecessary tasks,so they appear less intimidating and are easier to deal with.
FOMO, No More
As we were growing up, the regimented life we lived in school appeared stifling to us and we planned our days based on what we want to do rather than what we need to do. However, in college, I don’t schedule my classes around my spare time; instead, I schedule my social activities around my studies. If I am having a pool day with your roommates on Saturday afternoon, I will take time out at night to finish my essay that’s due at the end of the week instead. It is not a realistic goal to devote all your time studying or working all throughout your time at university.
The crux of organization is basically time management and some innocuous habits that may appear mundane but end up being super time savers. General decluttering of your workspace, preparing meals on your own instead of traveling to eat out at the coolest new cafe at the opposite side of town, or even carrying out the simple act of making the bed early every morning can be such huge help especially if one is an overseas student living on their own and managing all chores alone.
Even though it might feel like constantly walking on a tightrope, finding the balance in a stimulating environment like college can seem unattainable at first and there is no optimum formula for doing so. College life is not about making compromises, but about making the right choices and prioritizing. You may still spend your Friday watching the F.R.I.E.N.D.S reunion, attend a baseball game,or a Sunday brunch with your friends. You need to Simply make the most of your time and take advantage of the opportunities that arise between courses.