School-Life Balance: Making Time for Yourself!

ellen-2017 Ellen, Viterbi Life 0 Comments

I think something that a lot of freshmen (and probably a lot of upperclassmen) struggle with is time management.  I don’t mean time management just in terms of getting your assignments done on time, although that is certainly important.  I also mean that it’s really important to have a balance in your life between schoolwork and fun, whatever that may be for you, individually.  Especially as engineers, we have a tendency to want to get involved in everything; we never want to pass up an opportunity to learn something new or try something different! This can be a great quality when observed in moderation, but I think it’s really important not to overdo it.  I knew too many people in high school who got too caught up in the competitive environment of applying to colleges that they eventually got burned out and completely lost their enjoyment for school.  I definitely never wanted that to happen to me, and I don’t want that to happen to any of you either! So here are some of my tips for making time for yourself.

First of all, know your own limits! This is a big key to success in college; you have to know how long it will take you to do homework, how many hours you have to study something before you learn it, and most importantly, how much sleep you need to function! There definitely are some students who can complete their assignments by pulling a few all nighters, but I am definitely not one of them! Here’s a little anecdote to warn you about the dangers of losing sleep, if even a little.  Recently I had a computer science project due that was to make a version of the iPhone calendar.  I thought it would be a good idea to stay up an hour or two past my normal bedtime since I was in the coding zone.  However, once I tried to create a String array for the months of the year to display in the calendar, I couldn’t remember the correct order and eventually had to Google it.  I stayed up an hour late, and forgot that August was a month! Lesson learned.

iOS calendar project

My finished Calendar project came together nicely after I got some sleep. I even got the months right!

Second, make sure you don’t sacrifice your “you” time.  Spending time on the activities that you really enjoy is the best way to relieve stress, in my experience.  That’s why, no matter what I have going on that week, I always make time to go to hockey practices on Monday and Wednesday nights because it’s just no fun if I miss them.  You don’t always have to dedicate such big chucks of time though, sometimes “you” time can be as simple as multitasking – do homework for a little bit, and reward yourself with some sports, your favorite TV show, or a video game.

kings hockey and coding

Enjoying some Kings Hockey and working on Comp Sci homework at the same time!

It’s not always easy to remember these things, especially during midterms or finals when your life is really hectic and school is your number one priority.  I can’t stress it enough though, remembering to get enough sleep and take time for myself has done wonders on my academic performance in the long run.

Have a good week and Beat the Utes!

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ellen-2017

ellen-2017

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Computer Science and Physics, Class of 2017, Learn more on her profile here!

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