You wake up to the annoyingly persistent buzz-buzz-buzz of your alarm clock. The sun has just begun to creep up over the horizon, starting its day just as you are beginning yours. Your bed is so warm, so cozy. It is almost painful to force yourself up and out of bed. Yet, you know you must because there are essays to write, projects to do, and notes to study. It is another morning, another day, and you find yourself just counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds until you can crawl back into bed and get some much-needed rest before taking on the next day.
Throughout the semester, we can all find ourselves feeling this way, like we are in a constant cycle of work and worry. As Honors Students, taking many challenging classes, getting involved in exciting research opportunities, and participating in time-consuming extracurriculars can begin to make life feel overwhelming at times. The work may keep piling up, but the desire to accomplish that work keeps finding a way to remain out of reach. And yet, while I have found myself in this position a time or two this semester, I have also found a way to break out of this dangerous cycle, and hopefully you can too.
This summer, I began the daunting and lengthy process of studying for the medical school entrance exam, or as most people know it, the MCAT. (Cue gasps of horror!) Scary, I know. I was nervous but excited to take this next big step in my academic career. When I had signed up for the exam, it was February and the start of the spring semester. My actual test day, which was at the end of August, seemed ages away. I took my time getting organized, finding study materials, and even purchasing a prep course—though not a necessity, it seemed like the right choice for me and my situation. While I did prepare for the many months of studying ahead of me, I was leaving my bad study habits untreated.
After coming back from a long winter break, it can be difficult to settle back into your college life for the spring semester. You might be working to understand the structure of your courses, ranging from note-taking techniques to exam schedules. Or shifting your job schedule to work around weekly class times. Or trying to at least somewhat normalize your sleep habits. Or maybe, you’re struggling with all of the above.
This semester, along with a rigorous course load, I will be returning to my positions as a Peer Consultant at the Career Center, Treasurer for the Indian Student Association, and Secretary for Active Minds. In addition to those leadership roles, I continue to be an active member of Women in Business, the Accounting Students Association, and of course, the ever-engaging Honors blog. I’m sure that many of you, if not all, can relate to the endless accumulation of things to do that constantly flows through these types of schedules. For me, each semester starts off frantically as I try to figure out how to efficiently manage all of my different roles and responsibilities. And for me, the key is organization.
Ever since Red (Taylor’s Version) was released on November 12, I have been listening to it on repeat as I walk around campus. I found out that I can actually walk from Louis Redding Hall to Purnell within one listen of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” Notoriously known for messages in her songs about passion and heartbreak, there is a lot of advice Swift gives through her poetic lyrics. Most of this advice has to do with relationships, but there is so much more Swift reveals to us.
Here is advice I have found from Red (Taylor’s Version) that can make your life as a college student much easier.
Organization, like exercise, is a habit that must be built and refined over time. Moreover, just like with exercise, there’s a certain method of organization that works best for each individual. And while it comes more naturally to some more than others, organization takes a certain degree of work and dedication no matter what type of person you are.
Over the past year, with so many things up in the air, even the most color-coding, planner-wielding, schedule-adhering Honors student has probably found it challenging to stay grounded. I believe myself to be an organization-inclined person by nature, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t occasional moments of weakness these past two semesters where a planner entry went empty or an important due date (almost) passed me by.
In times like this, one must persuade — or, dare I say, bribe — themselves to stay organized. Organization doesn’t have to be writing out chores on a sad little sheet of looseleaf or meticulously plotting your daily activities hour-by-hour. It can be rewarding and fun.
From those who rely completely on their memory and a little luck to stay on top of things, to those who have carved out a weekly time to read 186 South College blog posts, here are some actually engaging methods of staying organized to help get you through the upcoming, semi-normal semester.