Prioritizing In College

Averi Amsterdam, Staff Writer

For college, 24 hours isn’t enough to get everything done. Between the homework, studying for tests, clubs, working out, and a social life, how do we know what comes first? More importantly, how do we fit it all in?

As college students, we often wonder how to prioritize our seemingly never-ending list of things to do.

The first step is to keep an agenda. Whether you do this on your phone calendar and notepad or physically in a book doesn’t matter. What does matter is you are writing down and keeping track of all your assignments, appointments, and exams. No matter if you have the best memory in the world or you have a memory like Dory from Finding Nemo and forget things immediately, this step is critical to help reduce stress and begin to prioritize.

The next step is to actually make a to-do list. I know, it sounds silly and somewhat redundant, especially if you follow the first step and keep an agenda. Trust me, breaking down your crazy schedule even further helps. You don’t have to organize things in any particular order, just simply write down everything you must accomplish. You can make one for every day of the week, or just one for the weekends. The point of this more simplified list is to break down your overwhelming amount of commitments and due dates into smaller pieces. It’s all about perception and due dates!

The third step is to actually decide which item you cross off first. The tests and assignments with the nearest due date are the ones you should tackle first, even if they are the ones you want to do least. The ones you cross off next should consist of those associated with your basic needs, such as grocery shopping, laundry, or cleaning your room. When you feel like you have control over this aspect of your life, everything as a whole becomes a lot less stressful.

The final step is to take care of yourself. When it comes to prioritizing, the assignment due tomorrow comes first, but only if you are taken care of. For example, you have an essay due in the morning, but you are exhausted and are having problems focusing on your work. Sure, that assignment may seem like the most important thing to do at the moment because it affects your grade, but in reality, YOU are the most important thing at that moment. Take a nap, relax, or take a quick break before coming back to the assignment.

Good grades and well-rounded resumes are what most college students strive to reach, which results in high levels of stress and difficulty prioritizing. While school work comes before going out on a week night and studying for a giant test comes before grabbing ice cream with your roommates, YOU come before everything else on your list of things to do. If you don’t take care of yourself, the rest doesn’t matter because you wont be completing your other tasks to your greatest potential.

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