Students! Welcome to the start of the new academic year!
How are you feeling? Excited? Nervous? Stressed? Concerned? Relaxed? Comfortable? You may have a reason to feel all those things, they are common for new and returning college students.
For me, the start of a new year is exciting and a bit stressful. Exciting because there are new students to work with, there are returning students to reconnect with, and new programs to implement. But, things are stressful too – sometimes there are a lot of people seeking my time and attention, and although it is great to be wanted, I must figure out how to best balance my responsibilities.
As you are kicking off your new academic year, take some time to think about how you are going to balance your schedule. You have classes, you need time to study (reading your textbooks, doing practice problems, essay writing, exam prep, etc.) – follow that Carnegie Rule(!), you might have work/intern/lab/research hours, you must make time for health and wellness (i.e. eating, exercise and sleep!), and of course – your social life!
Now, instead of just thinking about these things, grab a pencil and paper, and diagram your week. Putting all your activities on paper will give you the big picture view of where your time is going to be spent. Seeing it all on paper may cause a little anxiety, sometimes the reality is there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things you want to do, but, it also allows you the opportunity to prioritize and figure out how to create balance.
This activity is not something you should do just once each academic term, it could – dare I say should – be done at the start of each week. Each week of your academic term has different tasks: papers, exams, group projects and activities, as such, assessing your scheduled weekly can be a great tool to help you manage your time. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!