A College Survival Guide, Crafted By Yours Truly

On top of a very heavy credit load, I have found a way to balance my position as an Account Executive for Allen Hall Public Relations, my Peer Health Educator Internship and a functional social life. Oh, and did I mention I have to write and defend a thesis before graduation?

I know I’m not alone in this battle, but I sometimes wonder how I (and we) manage to get everything done and stay on top of it all. Earlier this year, Heather Huhman shared 5 tips for balancing two internships at once. I was inspired to craft a few of my own tips, but I figured I’d broaden the scope.

As someone who has had a very full schedule throughout my college career, I thought I would share with you some insight from my very own survival guide. Here’s a few things I’ve learned along this journey, some tips to survive and thrive, if you will:

Keep open communication. Internship coordinators, team leaders, and fellow group project members understand that you have multiple commitments. Just be sure to be open with them about what you have going on.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. This is something I oftentimes struggle with: when people ask for a favor or support on a project, I almost always say yes. Usually without thinking it through. I oftentimes end up feeling overwhelmed as a result, so I’m learning how to politely decline. Be okay with saying no from time to time because you just can’t do everything.

Leading off of the one above, be up front about your availability. Don’t say yes and commit just to cancel. Of course things come up, but if you’re constantly bailing at the last minute on group meetings or internship events, it can send a poor message about your commitment to the project.

Take a mental health day. If taking a day off is essential for your sanity, do it. This is totally okay in my book, and I would highly recommend it. Allow your brain a day to rest, relax and renew, and tackle your to-do list tomorrow.

Be lenient with scheduling for group projects. We all know or have had that group member who is constantly making excuses for why he or she can’t meet. Don’t be that guy! 6:00 hot yoga may be a part of your usual daily routine, but please try to be flexible. If that’s the best time for six other group members, maybe be open to the 8:00 session? Just a thought.

If you need to, go to the library on Saturday. As much as I resent spending my “free time” (oh, the irony) among dusty books, it’s worth it in the long run. Before this year, I don’t think I even glanced at a homework assignment between the beginning of my weekend and Sunday afternoon. And this usually resulted in a terrible and dysfunctional relationship with Sunday: I would experience every emotion from anger to despair at the endless to-do list in front of me before spending a miserable day (and sometimes night) in the lib. Spread your workload out into Saturday, and give yourself some time to embrace Lazy Sunday for a few hours.

Don’t neglect your friendships. This may seem like a silly one, and a perhaps a bit out of place, but I take my social life very seriously. THESE ARE THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, PEOPLE! Nurture your relationships, and allow yourself to have a good time. Don’t get so bogged down that you neglect your social life. You (and your friends) are making memories!

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Making memories a priority

Do you have any more college survival guide tips? Please share them below.

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