Being a college student is all about learning to live on your own for the first time, and finding a new community away from home. Balance is the name of the game in college, and there’s no better way to find it than using an organization system that will keep you on the right path. Here are three steps incoming and returning college students alike can use to have it all in college.
1. Identifying Your Priorities
Whether you’re an incoming or returning student, you probably don’t have your whole plan figured out–and that’s totally normal! Even having an outline for what kind of classes you plan to take and what type of internships you want to pursue is a great starting point; a beacon you can return to if you ever feel lost or confused. Identifying your goals will help you make a plan for joining extracurriculars and applying for jobs and internships.
2. Choosing Extracurricular Activities and Jobs Wisely
Your college likely has a list of every extracurricular organization on your campus. It’s a great idea to check this list before you go to the club fair and commit to joining a group. The rule of thumb is different for everyone, but my recommendation is to join one social, philanthropic, or cultural extracurricular, and one career related extracurricular. Joining two extracurriculars in addition to a job/work-study/internship you may have is a great option that should provide balance. The important thing to remember is that you can always drop an extracurricular if you’re overwhelmed, or add one if you’re bored. The purpose of extracurriculars should be for community or career building!
3. Utilizing a planner
Once you have your classes and combination of extracurricular activities and jobs all figured out, you should use some form of planner to keep track of all of your obligations. A planner can be the free sticky notes app on your laptop, the free calendar service attached to your email account, a more in-depth free desktop app like Notion, or a physical journal planner–I personally utilize all of the above! The best way to remember all of your upcoming events, both social and academic, is to write them down in multiple places. If your digital calendar gives you a reminder for an event and you have the details of that event written on a digital sticky note, you’re a lot less likely to forget it! But physical planners never go out of style, and if they’re what keep you motivated, they’re always a great option. The most important thing is to use the planner that actually works for YOU.
Finding which activities and classes will point you towards your career and life goals will help you feel like you’re making the most of your college experience. But don’t forget to leave some space in your planner for fun with friends and relaxation! At the end of the day, everyone’s college experience is different–but we are all hoping to graduate feeling like we made the most of every aspect of college, and that includes having fun.
Gabi Jonikas is a Subsidiary Rights Intern for MCPG. She is a senior and graduate student at Emerson College studying publishing–her main passion in addition to organization and teaching herself Japanese.
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