Multi-tasking is often an expectation for the average university student. Many of us are full-time students, part-time workers, members of various organizations or athletic teams and try our best to have a social life on top of that. Throw in an internship or graduate school to think about and “in over your head” becomes more than just a cliché expression, but a way of life.
Managing stress can be difficult. It can mean time management to the extreme, sacrificing one thing in favor of another though they’re both equally important and even excess energy drinks and caffeine mixed with little to no sleep. It’s tough.
However, having a wide variety of obligations does not mean you must stretch yourself to the limit. In fact, you can have interests all over campus and still get a good night’s sleep. Here’s how.
Prioritize. It sounds simple, but let’s be honest. We’ve all set aside our homework and obligations so we could spend another five minutes (I swear!) on Reddit. Getting started on projects ahead of time is the easiest way to avoid a large and unnecessary headache later. Besides, those photos of Joseph Decreaux cleverly dissecting lyrics to popular rap songs will always be there.
Take on only what you have to. It’s great to be able to say that you went above and beyond the call of duty on your film project and spent an entire day editing to perfection. But missing a full days of classes to do that just isn’t worth the 120/100 points. Don’t try to be superman/woman all the time. If you want to go the extra mile here and there, great, but overachieving isn’t everything (gasp!).
Step away from your work. When you’re working on a massive paper that is worth 40% of your grade, relaxing may be the least of your worries. Deteriorating your retina by staring at your computer screen for six hours straight, however, is bound to catch up with you at some point. Take an hour to have dinner, go for a walk or catch up on that episode of “Game of Thrones” you missed. It’s normal to want to just be done with your paper, but you can’t burn the candle at both ends; blow it out and let it cool down.
Cut back your hours. We all want to make money and we all want to impress our internship boss, but eighteen-hour days are painful, especially when you have to wear heels or a tie. Try giving yourself at least one day a week where you can focus on you. No meetings. No work. Maybe even no class if you can help it. It’ll give you a breather and a chance to look at what really needs to get done. At first it may feel like you’re just wasting time, but come November, you’ll be aching for that day in the week to roll around.
Ask for help. If you’re feeling too overwhelmed and you just don’t know what to do, there is no shame in asking for help. Most times, your professor or boss will understand. An extra day can make all the difference, especially when you know what you’re turning in isn’t your best work.
Everyone is different. Some of these tricks might not be for you but it doesn’t hurt to give them a try. When we’re overwhelmed, we tend to not think clearly, so something as simple as emailing your professor and asking for an extensionmight escape you.
About the blogger
This is a guest post by Ashley N. Connor, a senior at Widener University majoring in public relations and advertising within the communications department. She is the vice president of Widener’s PRSSA Chapter, a member of Lambda Pi Eta and a contributing writer to Widener’s literary art magazine, The Pioneer Review. She hopes to work within the event-planning world and maintains that words are the most powerful weapon one can have in their arsenal.