College can be just a tad stressful at times. As an avid Hopkins Interactive blog reader (as I’m sure you all are!), you probably get a sense of how involved students can be. In all honesty, it’s hard to find a friend or student that’s not involved in at least 2 things outside of class. Combine these extracurriculars with a desire to do well in classes, and (big surprise) you end up with a lot of stressed out students!
While I am no exception to this generalization, I’ve found that a few useful tricks have kept me from going completely crazy (for the most part, I think that my friends might argue otherwise!)
-Prioritize. I love writing out everything that I have to accomplish for the day. What do I love even more? Checking off everything on my list! Prioritizing can be done with your assignments in terms of deadlines, but it’s also extremely useful in prioritizing all aspects of your life. Since you’re likely to be at least a tad overwhelmed in that you probably can’t complete every single task for the day, it’s important to rank all of your activities in order of importance for you. Here’s a look at how I’ve spent my time over the past 2 years at Hopkins…As you can see, the sleep priority has definitely taken a hit over the past year!
-Utilize every moment that you have. This is also where prioritizing comes in since you’ll want to know exactly what to work on first! For me, I like to multi-task when at all possible. Although slightly embarrassing, painting my nails while listening to Biology lecture podcasts, reviewing my notes for my 9am class while curling/straightening my hair every morning, and sometimes bringing orgo reaction mechanism sheets to the gym are some of my weirdest habits. If multi-tasking isn’t your thing, you can still make the most of your time by setting time limits on the amount of daily unproductive activities. In my case, my biggest, most unproductive activity is definitely watching the cheesiest show on television- the bachelor! To make the most of my time, I try to limit myself to watching the show only when I’ve accomplished something awesome- like going to office hours, or taking a big test, or finishing all of my homework for the week.
-Plan ahead. Being involved in a bunch of extracurriculars is super fun and rewarding, but an extracurricular can easily fall by the wayside if you simply do not have any more time to devote. The last thing that you want to do is sacrifice your grades for an extracurricular or two, and that’s where planning comes in. Everyone’s different, but in my opinion, planners and wall calendars are the way to go in terms of scheduling out future events.Participating in recruitment week for Phi Mu was a great way to test my planning skills since the time commitment really escalated so quickly! While I still felt a bit overwhelmed, doing the majority of my assignments ahead of time allowed for me to devote enough time to Phi Mu! I even scheduled out enough time to make the recruitment video -- check it out!
-Keep your life relatively in order. Maybe it’s just me, but I truly cannot function in a messy room. Cleaning and organizing (especially your school papers and books) can save you a lot of time in the long run since you’ll be able to find things easily (and not become frustrated instead).
-Stay inspired, stay positive. It’s easy to fall into the habit of being hard on yourself, especially if you have high expectations and goals for yourself. You work so hard, but it isn’t good enough! Sound familiar? I don’t know about you, but in my case, negativity doesn’t get me anywhere. Luckily, I’ve found some pretty inspiring mentors, ranging from my trusty pre-med advisor to my wonderful and truly inspiring mentor at the JHU medical school. Whenever I meet with these two women, I feel recharged with renewed motivation, and I know that everything will be worth it in the end. Along with mentors and helpful advisors, I think it’s important to surround yourself with positive and supportive friends. In my case, I’m extremely fortunate to have 2 rocks- my best friend Kaitlin and my boyfriend Virgil. I do not know where I would be without these two, and I truly appreciate them dealing with my usual stressed out state!
That’s all for now! Have a stress-free day :)