I submitted this blog post one day late. I set reminders on my phone about it and wrote it down in my calendar book, yet I still found a way to push it off until the day it was due. However, I am going to cut myself a break because this past week was hectic. Not a little hectic, or even a decently sized amount of hectic, but a monstrosity of events walzing into my day one after the other until it seemed like they would never end. That kind of hectic. But even with my series of events this past week, I have survived to tell the tale, and I am pretty darn proud of it! After nearly two years in college, I think I am finally getting the hang of how to balance the schedule, which includes countless surprises every day. If I could learn to power through a week like the one I most recently conquered, anyone can, and I would love to take this entry to share some of the ways I take on the busy days of a college student. Thus I present to you:
A Busy BU Kid’s Guide to Staying Productive, Healthy, and Happy
- Write everything down. I’m talking appointments, homework, reminders, and thoughts. Firstly, you will be far less likely to forget important things. Next, if you write down the details of a task, you probably will not perform it the wrong way (like doing the wrong homework problems). Also, writing things down helps you better absorb them. I am a list-making fan, so I always write down tasks I have before I set out to do them just to visually comprehend everything I have. It makes it feel more tangible. In addition, I make time to write down thoughts and feelings. When you are scheduled almost every minute, emotions can get in the way. As soon as you start feeling sad, excited, angry, or anything about something unrelated to the task at hand, you will get as distracted as a dog who finds a squirrel. In order to keep moving while managing to give those feelings the attention they deserve (suppression is no good), let yourself have five minutes to jot them down. I promise those five minutes are worthy of letting go, and afterward, you will have a firmer grip on whatever you are feeling and will be able to move forward no matter how tightly it holds on to you.
- Take PDPs at Fit Rec. These free credit courses are a no-brainer for busy yet committed students because they force you to get some exercise into your schedule. Right now, I shake my booty in Cardio Jazz Funk twice a week and I do not just love it, but I need it. At this point, it is as constant in my weekly schedule as any other academic class, therefore it requires me to schedule around it no matter what is going on in my life. Because of this commitment, working out becomes a definite in my week. Although I try to hit the gym more than just during the class, it is a bare minimum that is very important for someone fighting a busy day. “Exercise gives you endorphins,” says my role model, Elle Woods. “Endorphins make you happy! Happy people don’t shoot their husbands.” Amen.
- Plan the night before. If you know you need to wear a certain outfit for an interview in the afternoon, think about whether or not you will have time to change beforehand. If not, you better have that outfit ready to go when you leave your room in the morning. During this past week, I became a bag lady; I had to wear both business casual for a job fair and dance clothes for a theatre rehearsal, all while walking through the snow throughout the day. Would I have time to go back to my room? Nope, but luckily I was able to prepare for this long day beforehand. Otherwise, I would have either added more stress in needing to find a way to go back and grab items I’d forgotten, or I would have been unprepared. Just check the to-do list before bed and make sure you are all set.
- Talk to the people around you. Communicate. If life is hitting you with everything it’s got, you may need help. That’s ok! Ask a professor for an extension on a paper if you know you will truly do a better job working on it after the midterm in your other class. They may say no, but it’s worth the shot, especially if you feel like it will make a significant difference. Furthermore, reach out to coworkers or friends involved in any of your tasks and see if they are available to pick up some of your slack. If they do, buy them coffee, and/or make sure you are there for them next time they have a crazy week and you have time for Netflix.
- Sleep. I know it is so easy to push off, but it is the key factor in keeping you healthy during Boston winters. If you’re sick, how will you get it all done? You won’t. Just get to bed.
- Also about staying healthy: Emergen-C and DayQuil for fighting the colds that come with winter! A water bottle for hydration! Coffee for, well, coffee! Nutritious yet yummy snacks for energy and motivation! Even if you eat on the go, you should eat to keep yourself moving. Great grab-and-go spots on campus include: Rize, GSU (avoid the long lines of lunch time if you can!), Einstein’s Bagels, Extreme Pita!, and City Convenience. If you are like me, you can always benefit from a healthy snack. Depriving yourself of them will only hurt your other work.
- Finally, take each task one at a time. This is how I thought about the SATs: it is not one large test, but a series of small, conquerable tests. Avoid letting the big picture daunt you and just focus on what has to come next. Of course, this step comes after you have made sure you are prepared for your day in terms of assignments, appropriate clothes, and other necessities, but once you are on the move, just take things as they come. If surprises appear or something does not go quite as planned, remind yourself that it is going to be alright. It is. I promise! You can get it all done if you go one step at a time and apply your focus, determination, and maximum effort to each task.
Good luck with your busy days, weeks, and semesters! Stress is something we all battle, sometimes more than others, but we can all come out on top if we pummel through. As tough as it is to be caught in a busy schedule, the productivity it brings is far more rewarding than sitting around all day. Be thankful for your busy weeks, for in the end, they give you amazing opportunities to shine.