This semester has been one of the most fun and exciting ones of my college career, but it has also had some of the most stressful and hard times. This is the last semester of really hard classes for me. I’m in all of my higher-level public relations courses, which require group project after group project and portfolio builders after portfolio builders. I’ve been in a group building a campaign for a local crisis hotline, and I’ve been building my own website from the ground up (no, I had never written HTML code before). I’ve also created a magazine, brochure and video tutorial, written several press releases, a job description and specification and performed a Jewish wedding (for my religion class). To say the least, scholastically this semester has challenged me in ways I did not know were possible.
I also, obviously, am the career center intern, which keeps me rather busy on Mondays and Wednesdays. And did I mention I’m engaged? This is definitely the most exciting part of my life right now, but makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything other than flowers, stationery and colors. I sit in class and literally wage war on my mind to remain concentrated on the material, because if I’m completely honest I’d much rather wedding plan than do homework. Also, now that I am officially committed to someone for the rest of my life, my job search becomes a bit more real. Before, if I didn’t get a job right out of college, then I could hope that my parents would pick up my slack. However, that isn’t the case anymore. On May 12, my last name is no longer Robinson, and my parents should not be picking up for me. (Note: Even if I was not engaged, I would not want them to. However, now the fallback plan is completely removed.)
How do I keep sane in this sea of schedules, assignments and meetings? I have set my priorities. By no means am I claiming to be the best at time management, but I have become really good at it. Below are my tips on effectively and efficiently managing your time.
1. Get an agenda, and write EVERYTHING down.
My date book gets me through the day. I write different errands I need to run in a bulleted list on the right, and all assignments due are on the left. This way I am prioritizing my mandatory things over my “can wait” things.
2. Have the ability to say no.
Earlier on in college, I never said no. If you asked me to lunch, to go on a walk, to send my notes, anything, I said yes. I had to learn that it is not rude to say no. It is rude, however, if you agree to go to lunch and cannot concentrate on any conversation because all you’re thinking about is what all you should be/need to be doing. I may or may not have been guilty of this in the past.
3. Be proactive.
Work on things ahead of time. I have this huge project due the last day of class, so I could let it slide, and then do it all in 7-8 days without sleeping. However, I’ve chosen to work on it a little along the way, and now I’m almost finished. There were some weeks I was too busy with other assignments and couldn’t devote a lot of time to it, but on those relaxed weeks I would spend a lot of time on it. This is paying off because instead of spending my entire Thanksgiving break doing this project, I now can use that time to choose invitations, stationery and my cake for the wedding.
4. Establish good working relationships with your professors and employers.
I truly love all of my professors! Maybe yours are really scary and mean, but mine definitely are not. I wouldn’t know that if I never spoke to them though. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy. One week, my mom came to Auburn to help me get some things planned for the wedding. The only day she and I could get together was a Tuesday, which conflicted with one of my classes. Because I had been talking to my professor throughout the semester AND been going to class consistently (MAJOR IMPORTANT), she told me not to worry about missing class and that she would fill me in on what I missed.
I promise you can do all the things you want to and still succeed in school and in your future career. Start prioritizing your activities, and you’ll see a huge change in your calendar and stress level.
Paige Robinson '12
Career Center Intern