How Google Saved My Freshman Year: Words of Wisdom for Incoming Freshmen

Alex-2016 Viterbi Life Leave a Comment

In my freshman-year fall semester, my Thursdays went like this. I would wake up at 7:30am in Birnkrant residence hall, rush to EVK dining hall to gobble down breakfast, and race to my 8:00am Calculus III discussion. At 9:00am, I would head to Waite Phillips Hall for my general education philosophy discussion. As the clock struck 10:00am, I would have no more class for the day!

Now, that didn’t absolve me of my academic responsibilities. On Fridays, I still had Calculus III lecture and Writing 140. Typically, I had an assignment (a paper, outline, debate preparation, etc.) due in Friday’s Writing 140. But instead of going to the library, I would head to the campus center and grab breakfast (again) with my friend Max. We’d chat for a while before Jonny and Judah, two friends who lived in New-North, would stop by. As Max left for class, I would eat lunch with Jonny and Judah and talk about life, music, and classes. And even after Jonny and Judah left, I would stay in the campus center, perhaps removing my Calculus III textbook from my backpack to study. Long story short: every Thursday, I would spend six hours (10:00am to 4:00pm) wasting time in the campus center, talking to friends and eating food.

And every Thursday evening, I would regret my wastefulness. As 11:00pm rolled around, I would begrudgingly realize the need to start my Writing 140 homework. Instead of enjoying the evening’s festivities with my friends, I would hole up in the Birnkrant study room until 2:00am writing about the social ethics of genetically-modified foods.

How could I have avoided this fate? The simple answer: not spent six hours doing nothing in the campus center. However, the solution is a tad more complicated than that. In high school, life was organized for me. I would wake up at 7:05am. I would get to high school at 7:55am and sit in class until 2:00pm. Then, I would hop in my car and drive to swim practice at the downtown Danbury YMCA until 4:30pm. After eating dinner, I would start my homework. On Tuesday nights, I would have Boy Scouts at 7:30pm, and Mondays and Wednesdays meant Hebrew tutoring at my synagogue. After all my homework and evening activities were complete, I would sleep.

College is not that simple. My schedule varied day-to-day. For example, I had class from 10:00am to 2:30pm every Monday and Wednesday, buy only those two hours of class on Thursday. I had trouble adjusting to my scheduling freedom and making good use of my ample time.

I just needed to find something to do with my time. Between homework, research, pledging a fraternity, and other activities, I had more than enough to do; allocating my time was the problem. Google Calendar helped me solve that problem. I would schedule my classes, my research time, my study hours, and my social time. Most importantly, I would stringently stick to that schedule, making sure to not fall behind.

Suddenly, my Thursdays became magnitudes more productive. I would still meet Max at 10:00am in the campus center for breakfast (again). But at 11:30am, I had another task to complete on my Google Calendar: finishing my Writing 140 homework. I would head to Leavey library until 3:00pm. After finishing the assignment, I was off to the lab to get a few hours of research in before the night’s festivities.

My advice? Use Google Calendar to create a routine or to-do list for yourself. You will be generally more productive and do better in classes. Most importantly, organizing your life will breed spontaneity and amazing memories! Who knows what I would have done on Thursday evenings if I did not have to write Writing 140 papers?

Where ever you attend, best of luck in your first collegiate semester. Feel free to reach out to me with questions. Fight on!

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