Let’s talk about: Living with Freedom

posted in: Opinion | 0

Beginning the college journey is one of the most exciting times for many students. With it comes new adventures, new friendships and new knowledge of yourself. One thing that most incoming freshmen students first notice is different about their lives after beginning college (other than the fact they share a room with someone they may barely know) is the amount of freedom they have to do whatever they want. In fact, it can be an overwhelming realization for many students that they are now responsible for structuring their time and managing an increasingly demanding schedule. Whether you are a full time student, are balancing work and classes, are involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, or are quite the social butterfly, one of the most common struggles that college students face is determining how to appropriately divide their time among competing obligations and interests. So how does a student balance all of these conflicting demands on their time? Rather than focus on finding the perfect “balance” for managing your time, it might be more helpful to consider your schedule as a series of choices. It can feel empowering to choose the activities in which you engage rather than having them choose you! Although there will be some time obligations that you really cannot avoid, you can take control of your time by scheduling in activities that you do simply because they give you joy. “All work and no play” is a strategy that works for very few people. So schedule in time for friends, or schedule a study break to participate in physical exercise, a video game, or a phone call with a friend. You may also consider checking out school clubs or activities in which you can become involved. Making time for these activities can significantly reduce stress and keep you grounded when you feel that classes and other responsibilities are keeping you busy. But what about the times when you really want to go to that movie (or out to dinner with friends or veg out in front of Netflix), but you have a big test coming up? A time will come when you feel you don’t have much choice about how you spend your time because school work will take priority. Every student will experience times in which they feel the pressure to complete a giant list of assignments but don’t feelthey have the mental (or emotional) energy to get it all done. So what can you do in those times? Here are a few tips for keeping your schedule, and your sanity, when you feel overwhelmed: Make a to-do list and prioritize which items need to be completed first. A helpful strategy can be to list assignments in order based on their due date. Start with smaller, more manageable assignments. If you have a ten page book report due the same week you have a one page pre-calculus assignment, start with the smaller task. Doing so will make you feel more accomplished and ready to tackle the next item! Schedule in study breaks. Try to limit breaks to no more than one hour, and do something you really enjoy that doesn’t involve school work during this time.Don’t skimp on sleep. Believe it or not, pulling an “all-nighter” doesn’t really help you accomplish much. You’ll likely just be even more stressed and deliriously tired as a result.Living w


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