A Bit About Me:
Y'all know I'm Nicole. I run WORD for Teens, where there is six days a week without fail, except on Fridays, where there are two posts. I take great pride in this. I am also a double major in Public Relations and English, which means I have a ton of reading and writing to do every night. I also am the publicity person for Dumbledore's Army, an advocacy group, on campus and this semester I've added writing book reviews for the local school paper to my to-do list. I also have a boyfriend, watch movies with my friends, like to take random walks around campus, take yoga classes, eat three meals a day and get eight hours of sleep a night.
Oh, and play video games. I like video games.
And yes, I get it all done.
My life is divided into what four categories: homework, social life, blogging, and me. (School clubs fall under 'social life,' except the Oracle, which falls under both homework, social life, and blogging. But that's just because I have to write and read YA books for it.) Here are the top tips I have from these four categories as to how to run your own life. (If, of course, it works for you.)
College sucks. You get a ton of reading and writing and you hafta get it all done and all the teachers want you to prioritize that THEIR class comes first and oh! don't forget the giant projects you have due, because there's bound to be one or two of them a semester, plus the essays and the presentations.
Relax. You can survive this.
1. The syllabus is your friend.
Teachers work their asses off making the syllabus so that all the students can see what they have to read and when and when the project is due and where they can be contacted if they need an extension or have a question and 99% of students never look at them. This is silly. If you have the syllabus, you'll have to know what needs to get done every night as well as what's coming up. No stress!
2. Planners are also your friend.
Or whatever it is you use to write down what you have to get done. It's all a matter of whatever works best for you. I used to use index cards and tape them to the top of my computer and list my homework on them. My roommate uses sticky notes and sticks them on the wall next to her bed. I use planners to write it down.
3. Prioritize your work and plan ahead.
That reading that's due tomorrow may take less time than the essay due three weeks from now, but you'll still have time to do the essay. Get whatever is due next out of the way first and - if you have some free time - work on outlining the big projects. The key isn't getting it all done in one weekend; it's doing it bit by bit over time.
4. Just get it done!
You don't want to do homework. I don't want to do homework. In those hours between or after classes, before dinner or clubs or events or fun, you're just going to want to sit on the computer and troll Tumblr. Instead, use that time to just get your homework done - it's dull and boring, but it'll be out of your way for the rest of the weekend. You can derp around on Sims Medieval or read a book while your friends scramble around Sunday night to get it all done.
5. Take a break.
But don't do homework ALL the time. You do need room for sleep and food and social life. If you have too much reading and don't think you'll be able to finish an essay on time, email the teacher for an extension. (More than two days before it's due, please.) If you spend all your time working on homework and not doing anything else, it means there's something wrong in how you're working on it or the classes you're taking. Consider dropping one or switching out or talking to the professor.
Notice that I don't have anything in here about studying. Studying is for mid-terms and quizzes and tests and finals, which are EXCEPTIONS to the rule. (Also, I don't study. When I do, it's for finals; I schedule in a day of studying with a break every hour to take a walk. Usually on a Sunday, as Sundays are dull anyway.)
Social life is important in college and in life in general. Interaction with people is a MUST if you plan to survive in the real world.
1. There is always time for real people. Not everything is about homework or the Internet.
It's important to socialize. You don't want to be an outcast and friends are fun. You may have to push people off until the weekend, but ALWAYS make room for some fun, or you'll end up a quivering ball of stress nerves.
2. Don't feel obligated to do anything - and when you do do something, do it with some intelligence.
I do not party. I have friends that party. But they're smart enough to do it on weekends so they don't go to class hungover or whatever, and they try to avoid random hookups. Have a safe person; know what you're doing. And don't let ANYBODY pressure you into doing or going somewhere you don't want to go.
3. Go to poetry slams. Or a theater event. Or something new.
If you're not comfortable partying, then fine. But try something! Go with your friends to a poetry slam. See an event the local theater is putting on. Go to a coffee house and chill for an hour. Go to a open mic night. Hell, just go to one of the random events that they're bound to be putting on on campus and just chill! (Poetry slams are always fun.)
4. Your boyfriend might be hot, but your friends are hotter. Or something.
Friends are important. You may love your shiny new boyfriend (or rusty old boyfriend, or girlfriend, I'm not fussy) but your friends are just going to be pissed if you spend all your time with him/her and none of your time with them. They shouldn't come before him/her, but they should be on the same page. You should spend as much time making out with your boyfriend as you do watching movies with your friends.
5. Clubs are fun. Also time consuming. Balance it out.
Clubs are fun! Lots of fun! But if you don't think you'll have time, don't join all 40 that you want to. And on the ones you do join, decide whether or not you really want to run for e-board (because there is a lot of work involved). They're there for you to have fun. Join them, meet new people - but if it becomes too much, don't be afraid to take a step back.
You've got your homework under control now. You know how to keep yourself organized, when it's due, and when to do it. (And when not to.) Now how do you keep up on blogging?
1. Planners are your friend.
I have two calendars -- one for big events and projects and appointments, and one for WORD. I write in whenever I have a post scheduled and I can see where I need filled as well. I also keep sticky notes on my desk with a list of what I have coming up so I know what's going in.
|This is the calendar I use for WORD.|
2. Schedule ahead. Prioritize. Have fun.
Set up blog posts ahead of time. That's a great thing about blogs; you don't have to write something and post it right away. And as for what you're setting up - set up some fun, nonsensical posts if you haven't read a book. It'll keep content on your blog going and keep people reading. (I do this ALL THE TIME. Six days out of the week on WORD I usually don't have a book review; I aim for one a week and fun stuff on other days to make up for it.)
3. Twitter is your friend.
Twitter is my social networking guilty pleasure during the school year. However, if you use it right - as in not sitting there talking to people for hours instead of working - it can be a real help while blogging. You can find people to guest post, talk to authors and get some stuff to blog about and stay generally updated on interesting things going on in the blogging world.
4. TAKE A BREAK.
You don't have to blog every day! I do because I like nonsensical posts and am far too much of an overachiever not to try it, but it doesn't mean you have to. Take every Sunday and Thursday off. Find somebody to guest post once a week or once a month. Hell, do three solid weeks of guest posts only. Or just announce that you'll be back in a month or so.
Blogging is supposed to be FUN, not work. So even if it's important to you, don't worry too much about it. When in doubt, let it slack off.
Yes. You. You'll be throwing yourself into school work and blogging and friends. But what about you?
1. If you have a job, make sure you want to keep it.
I'm the first person in the world who will tell you to go make as much money as you can. But I also don't have a job this semester, nor do I want one; it's too much work on top of everything else. If you feel you have time for one, that's great - if not, don't take one, or quit the one you have. It's okay not to have a job during college. (That's what summer is for!)
2. Take some time to chill by yourself.
Take a long shower. Or a walk. Or just spend an hour or two playing Sims. (Or Snood. Or Tetris.) You should reconnect to yourself during everything else you're doing.
3. Yes. I do want you to exercise.
I know, I know. It sucks. But I don't care if you join the equestrian team and get your exercise that way; do SOMETHING for your body. Don't become a sack of potatoes. My personal preference is yoga. It's relaxing for the mind AND the body AND is a workout. You can't lose.
4. Eat and sleep.
Eat food. (Healthy food, preferably, but if you can't grab a salad, don't skip a meal. Fried chicken IS delicious, after all.) And sleep is important. Eight hours if you can manage it; getting to bed early is always easier than waking up late for class. Take it from me.
If you're wondering how you can do all four of these things: look straight into the computer, take a deep breath, and relax. It's all about time management. As long as the homework is done, you can work on any of the following three - and trust me, contrary to popular belief, homework shouldn't take ALL WEEKEND! ALL NIGHT! ALL OF YOUR LIFE! If you've got yourself organized, trust me - it'll get done.
I have faith in you.
(This was originally posted on another blog, but it's still helpful!)