Managing Time (and Staying Sane) During Junior Year
Welp, we made it. After a chaotic hybrid freshman year and a fully remote sophomore year, it seemed like the dust was finally starting to settle when I started my junior year: my first full year on campus. Of course, “normal” had a different meaning during the pandemic—staying on top of regular COVID testing, continuing to social distance, and being vigilant of ever-evolving public health guidelines in Boston. Oh, and, all of the regular chaos that comes with being a junior in college.
Having such a weird first two years of university felt like a time warp. I had still enjoyed my classes, formed close relationships with professors, and gotten deeply involved in extracurricular activities, but I hadn’t realized just how quickly time was going by. When I got back to campus, I found myself among peers starting who were starting to make long-term career plans, and I still felt lost. My friends who were a year ahead of me in school were starting to apply to graduate programs across different disciplines and geographic locations, and it got me thinking about what exactly I might want to do after graduation.
With all of this existential thinking running in the background of my mind, it became clear I needed a better system to manage the upper division course work I was taking, my extracurricular activities, and planning for the future. During my first two years of college, I used a paper daily planner to write down my homework assignments and projects, much like I did in high school. However, during junior year, I was starting to find it tough to figure out just when in my schedule I was going to get all of that done.
Let me insert a caveat here: I used to swear by paper planners, and know many people who still do! But, when I realized it wasn’t working for me anymore, I decided to ditch that lifestyle and become a Google Calendar Girlie™ through and through. I created a “Work Block” calendar, to which I add tentative blocks of time to my calendar to work on specific assignments, projects, or to study for exams. This helps calm my nerves about not having enough time to get things done, because I now have physical evidence that it is, indeed, possible for me to work through all my goals. It also helps me know how much free time I really have on a given weekend or after class.
Inserting tasks into my Google Calendar doesn’t automatically make me more productive—but I’ve noticed a marked improvement. Mostly, it helps me conserve the mental energy of stressing about whether or not I have the time in my week to finish my work, attend extracurricular activities, and have free time for myself.