Dear Alicia

By on October 31, 2007

I thought the work load, all-nighters and stressed out days would start to fade away after a few weeks but it is getting more difficult even now when the semester is more than half way over. I want to be able to get good grades and have a social life. I think it might be the way I prioritize my time. Have any suggestions? – stressed out

Dear stressed out,

I am sorry to say, the work load does not get easier, the all-nighters are here to stay and the stress, well that will probably get worse with age.

Time management skills is what I live by. I used to get completely stressed out and from experience, stress only makes it worse. You are going to need time management skills throughout your whole life and college is the perfect time to learn these skills. If you listen to these few tips, you will lessen your load and become less stressed.

My first tip: never wait till the last minute! Get as much done as possible whenever you can. Never wait till the night before to get an assignment done. When you wait till the night before, you spend more time stressing that you waited so long and that you aren’t doing the best job you can be doing on the assignment. Organization is key.

There are many ways you can stay organized. What works best for me is my daily planner, post-its and multiple calendars.

What is written in my daily planner always looks ahead. For example, if I have a philosophy paper due on Tuesday, I will write it on every other date starting with the day it was assigned to me. It keeps me reminded that I have something due in 7 days, 5 days, 3 days, tomorrow.

Post-its are very helpful as well. I am the post-it queen. I use them mostly for non-class assignments, such as articles for the Chronicle, articles for my internship and even notes such as, ‘clean the bathroom.’ I post them all over my desk, so every time I sit at my computer (even if it is to go on Facebook to procrastinate) it reminds me of how many things I have yet to do.

I also have two separate calendars. One calendar is for my school assignments and the next is for social events and outings. I make sure I glance at each of them at least once a day, so in my mind I know what is going to be happening in the days to come.

Once you are organized, your job gets less stressful. Now, all you have to do is accomplish every assignment by deadlines and due dates. Easier said then done, right? Yes, but don’t get yourself worked up about anything just yet.

Tip No. 2: Get your work done in order. Even if you are more interested in your paper that is due on Thursday, you need to work on your reading for Tuesday’s class first. If you leave the assignments that you least-like to the last minute, it gets harder and harder to get those done.

Once you start this process you will realize that you are more relaxed and your creative juices will start flowing.

One time, I had four papers due in one week and I was completely stressing out. After I took a breather and realized I was going to get every thing finished (like always). I started with the first assignment, then the next and by the third I was on a roll. The fourth assignment was a piece of cake because I just let myself stay calm and collected.

Now, when you add these simple tips to your daily life, a social life will eventually bloom. Soon you will start feeling like you have enough time in the week to go out many times in a week, have a movie night or play a game of Pictionary with your friends.

Both aspects of life are important. College would not be what it is without a social life, but always keep in mind what is more important.



About Alicia Staffa