We’ve all had those weeks. Class work is piling up, your social life is falling apart, your boss doesn’t like anything you do, and just when you think you’re ahead of the curve and about to have some freetime, something else pops up and you’re back to square one. That was me this week. I knew it was going to be a busy week, but I had no idea just how crazy it was going to become. As tough as it was, I have survived my crazy week, evidenced by the fact that I am here to write this blog, and will live on to see one just as insane as the last. In the meantime, I’m going to share some tips and tricks I have learned for staying on top of everything and still being able to function by the end of the week. These tips can be used in the college application process, too. I know when I was applying to colleges, I had a lot of sleepless nights and stressed out days.
My first recommendation is getting a planner. In high school, I never used planners. I could just remember everything I had due the next few days and I would never miss an assignment. That changed quickly when I came to Naz. On the first day of class your professor will give you a syllabus explaining everything you will learn in the course and most will also give you a schedule that has everything due for the entire semester. Do that for five or more classes, and all those dates and projects can become overwhelming. Some people choose to write down everything in their planner week one, so they can look at their whole semester. In my experience, however, most professors will change the schedule at some point and changing due dates after that can quickly become messy. What I’ve found works best for me is to write down the due date of a big project about a month in advance, and write down homework due for each week on Sunday nights. That way, it’s easy to see what I need to get done that week and it doesn’t become too overwhelming. This also allows me to see what times I will have available to meet with professors or anyone else if I need to. Student athletes will get a custom planner through Naz Athletics, but the bookstore sells Naz planners for everyone else. You could also pick up one with a fun design at Target or Walmart.
My next trick for staying relatively calm is to do one thing you enjoy every day, especially during the tough weeks. I personally love doing my makeup. I will lay in bed every morning and scroll through Instagram to find some inspiration from the many makeup artists I follow. Doing my makeup every morning is a way for me to start my day off on a good note and is something I look forward to. It relaxes me and gives me some time for myself and allows for me to be creative and get my mind moving at 9am when usually all I’d want to do during that time is sleep. For people who like the get moving in the morning, Naz offers a variety of group exercise classes, like Zumba or yoga, and those who love their caffeine can hit Millie’s in the library for their go to drink before a long days of classes or work. Doing these sorts of things in the morning can help clear your head and let you enjoy what may otherwise be a crazy busy day. Naz also has some great little hideouts I like to go to every so often to recharge if my schedule is hectic. These are places that are semi-private, where you can just relax and breathe for a few minutes before you’re on to the next thing.
Another tip for staying sane is to get off campus every once in awhile. Even just going to Hungry’s (a local garbage plate place, right down the street from Naz) to pick up something yummy for dinner can help clear my head when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I know it may sound counterintuitive to not do work when you have so much, but finding the time to get coffee, or hot chocolate in my case, from Starbucks, can clear your head and can really help make you more focused and productive once you get back to the work you have to do. Also hanging out somewhere other than your room or the library can be helpful. At Naz, we have the Fishbowl and Millie’s, (which serves Starbucks so you don’t have to go out in the snow) Sorelle’s, and various departmental resource rooms that are great for a change of scenery.
My last piece of advice is to remind yourself that it all will end. When it’s 2am and you’ve been working on the same essay for the past 6 hours, it can feel like this is your life and it will never end. You’ll be stuck in an infinite loop of doing projects and never sleeping ever again. Taking the time to sit back and remind yourself that it will end and you will be able to relax again can really help give you that extra push that you need to finish the work you have to do. I know when I get crazy busy, I like to take things day by day and plan what I need to do for that day in order to be on top of things, and, at the end, I know that I accomplished everything I needed to and that I’m one step closer to being done with my work for the week.
Balancing life in high school or college can be a lot to handle for anyone. Just doing a couple of things to step back and relax helps makes things feel less overwhelming and leads to better work and a happier mind.