College: Balancing Everything and Then Some
Whether I was applying to college or in my second year I would always hear from others “oh you will graduate before you know it”. The thing that anyone rarely talked about was what happens in between the first day of school and graduation. True growth which an individual experiences whether it be professional, academic, or personal happens on the second day of school up until graduation. When I entered Babson, I was under an immense amount of expectations like all Babson students are. Over the next four years, we are expected to take rigorous courses, involve ourselves in organizations, take on leadership positions, find a job on or off campus, find your solid group of friends and then somewhere along the line figure out what defines you as a person. In this blog, I would like to share three steos which I took in order to live a more balanced life without sacrificing any of my wants.
First, try everything to gauge your passion. I know, this sounds a bit odd but you need to try new things to see what you are interested in. Yes, I am telling you it is okay to go to the Organization Fair and sign up for twenty clubs and then try to make it to all of their meetings through your first year. It will not be possible to attend all of those meetings; however, you will attend some. That is what is important. Take note of the organizations you always show up for, take note of the people in that organization that make you feel included and gauge your own passion for that organization’s purpose. Some start second semester of their freshmen year but it is way more common to filter your organizations in your sophomore year. At this stage, you will know exactly what you want to see on your weekly schedule and be excited by it.
Second, set important goals for yourself. In your sophomore year you are in a crucial place where you are getting a better idea of yourself, a better idea of the campus around you and the organizations you want to get involved in. This moment in your Babson career is the beginning of purposeful growth. For example, some of the goals that I have set for myself have been to plan more events with the Muslim Student Association, schedule weekly office hours with a professor whose class is difficult and make more time for friends I do not see throughout my week at Babson. These goals will help me in many ways but in order to accomplish them I need to schedule much more time for them. At some points of the week, I feel swamped and so tired that I just want to crawl into bed. I quickly remind myself of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the semester. This does not magically make me less tired but it reminds me of the purpose of these meetings and gets me motivated again.
Third, use Google Calendar or any other electronic device which can send out reminders. I think part of the reason why I have been successful personally and academically has been my emphasis on staying organized. I use Google Calendar many times a day constantly moving things around to figure out the most optimal time to complete an activity. I know when I have a large block in my day which is free (doesn’t happen often) I will make mental plans about what I want to do in that time block; however I realized that I forget most of the time what I had mentally prepared so the extra three hours becomes non-productive. One way I prevent this is by writing in my google calendar exactly what I want to accomplish and it helps me stay focused. The reminder feature is a life-saver. It allows you to get ready for your next ‘event’ and kind of get into that time frame ahead of time. I am also a visual learner and I hate writing things down so the electronic version really helps me plan out my day/week/month.
These are the three main steps I follow which have allowed me to live a much more balanced life and enjoy the things that I do on a weekly basis. I use these three steps at times where I am overly stressed and it helps me calm down and stay focused on what I need to get done. Of course, as you go through your personal journey here you will realize that some of these steps will not work but others might and that’s okay. The key is utilizing methods that help and work for YOU.