Debunking the Triangle Myth
It’s very hard to find ways to keep up with all your college work and still keep a balanced life. Many people say that when you get into college, you need to choose from two vertices of the first triangle while sacrificing the third one. Well, I need to tell you that that’s completely not true!
If you plan and organize your life, you will be able to manage your sleep schedule, your studying sessions and your night-outs without sacrificing one of them.
The first thing you need to do is being realistic. Instead of sleeping 9 hours a day, perhaps you will need to cut back to seven hours a day, which will probably provide enough energy throughout the day without letting your feel the burnout. On the other hand, you need to ration the time you spend with your friends and family. The best way to do so is scheduling a fixed schedule to be with them and dedicate yourself 100% during that time. It’s not how much time you have available that matters. What matters is what you do with the time you have available. Cutting back on fundamental aspects of your life will really hurt your grades – and if it doesn’t hurt your grades right away, it will hurt your body and state of mind sooner than you think. Sleepless nights have a mark on your body. On the other hand, depriving yourself of time spent with your loved ones can hurt and destroy relationships and in the end of the day, you’ll find out that those grades aren’t as worth as much as that.
Another thing I recommend is finding some sort of physical activity that helps you manage energy levels. Even running 10 minutes a day will do wonders for your physical and mental health, letting you cope with high stress levels and the feeling of burnout. Try to unplug from your college activities, listen to some music and concentrate on your body rather than on your brain.
You also need to prioritize. Choosing tons of classes just to feel productive is a waste of time. Having a heavily crowded schedule just for the sake of it will result in lower grades and a lower ability to focus on those classes. Pick classes that you think you can personally enjoy but can also help you on your chosen career path. Try to keep both of those aspects in mind when you’re picking subjects for the next semester, or else risking signing up for classes that are just filling you with stress and won’t even matter when you get your diploma.
Find a way to get help. You are not alone in this path and many of your classmates are probably feeling the same way. Try to get together and find a way to share some tasks or somehow trade notes and materials to help each other. If you can attend a lecture for any reason, don’t hesitate to ask for the class notes and assignments. If one of your classmates skips a lecture because they are sick, don’t hold back and hand them those notes. Finding a reading group is great to divide huge books into manageable chunks and distribute them between the members, so you have less reading to do and are able to summarize your part in a better way and then share your summary with your colleagues.
Schedule some “me-time”. Don’t look at your personal space as a failure towards your productivity goals. Try to incorporate at least half-an-hour with yourself in your busy schedule, and stick to it religiously. I always read a novel from 10 p.m to 10.30. Even if I reach that hour without finishing all the tasks for college that I had set out for myself to accomplish, I will just close my laptop, put away my notes and I will just allow myself to be relaxed for that half an hour.