One of the best time’s of your life can be your college career. Even though it can also be one of the most challenging. Getting involved in all kinds of extra-cirricular activites such as student government, programming boards, and Greek Orgs can sometimes make you feel like you are drowning. Here are a couple/few things that have gotten me to the point where I am now. Graduating from Penn and getting ready for the next phase of my life. Hopefully what helped me out can help you as well.
1. You are in control of your schedule, not the other way around.
Time management and Organizational skills are two of the most valuable tools that you can develop. The main priority at the beginning of any semester is to get all of your major tests and deadlines from each and every class into a rock solid organizational timeline. Then you need to be dilligent and track and log all of your pressing obligations. A day planner, ipad, notebook, or even a Seinfeld sized wall calendar. You can make voice notes and even have messages texted and sent to your phone. You need to be on the ball here in the home stretch. The next 16 weeks are critical in determining where the next 60 years of your life goes.
Another thing you need to get straight right away is to make yourself a set timetable and schedule for the things you want to set in stone as habit. A routine that includes all of the times and days where you want to really discipline yourself to get things done. Make sure that you block those times out, have someone to be accountable to. You have to get your willpower strengthened to the degree that nothing will stop you.
You can do it. I believe in you.=)
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand.
Getting organized, staying focused or even help with the books, there comes a point where even the most battle hardened student can feel like they are drowning. This is what your “support system” is for. Your friends that you make, as well as the resources provided by the university.
Don’t be stubborn and bull headed. Trust me, I know about that. It just gets you deeper in the hole. Some of the reasons I slipped up in the beginning is because I’m the type that believes I can do it all myself. I took on too much and it bit me right in the rear. There is no way for you to be able to control everything. It is the perfect example of herding cats.
It just can’t be done. You need to learn to delegate. If you break things into manageable chunks. (I personally am a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique for time management).
Once you get everything managed and put in its proper place you will see that it can actually be super beneficial in less stress, less mistakes and above all getting it done faster.
You can’t be afraid to ask for help when you don’t know something. Being involved in new disciplines at the University level is something that everyone has to face. As you look around there are people that look like they have it easy but they are going thru it just like you (and me). There are so many resources that are there specifically for you to LEARN. Take advantage of them if you see the tidal wave on the horizon.
3. Proper Prioritization
Putting your proper priorities in their proper place is probably the most all encompassing key to success when you’re dealing with University. Unfortunately it is one of the first things that gets skewed when you get there. Social events, video games, parties, make it so easy to go off the rails and lose focus that it really can be a total life altering situation.
It may help for you to keep something nearby, in your bedroom, on your fridge, on the door when you leave and come home. Something that lists the top important priorities in your life. Where you want to be and if you are doing right now the things that need to be done to get you there.
Be accountable to yourself.