With two to three classes a day, along with extra curriculars, sports, a social life and a job – it’s not unreasonable to think that a student might have the chance of being overwhelmed. As a first year I can speak from experience when I say that we are the most vulnerable to it, but the biggest mistake I made was not taking advantage of my resources earlier. Here are some things you can do if you have so much on your plate that you don’t know where to start.
- Utilize Google Calendar!
- Not only does (arguably) every successful Whitman student use google calendar, but Google calendar also provides a visual for what your days, weeks, and months look like. Google Calendar has tools that let your coaches or bosses or professors email you specific deadlines and events of which you can automatically sync to your calendar. You can also assign different colors to different events and tasks which make things easier to distinguish when you’re trying to evaluate all that you’re trying to do.
- Write Things Down
- If you don’t have a planner or some sort of to-do list system, you’re bound to forget to do something. I use One-Note which is great because you can divide up everything in your schedule to your liking. Don’t take that risk! Write everything down that way it’s all somewhere physical you can look to rather than relying on what you remember.
- Take a Walk! Or a Bike Ride!
- You don’t constantly have to be immersed in campus all the time. It’s okay to step away and take time to think, stop and smell the roses, and enjoy the area around you. Physically stepping away from everything that overwhelms you will help you return with a clear head and a renewed sense of motivation for the tasks ahead of you.
- Use your Resources!
- Whitman has an amazing counseling center that lets you set up appointments for times that work best for you and allow you to take that time to talk to someone. This can help you verbally think out your schedule and everything that’s getting to you while also opening up yourself to input and advice from a professional about stress and time management. There’s Whitman’s Academic Resource Center which provides you with academic coaching, peer tutoring, disability support and student advisors in your residence halls. You also have your academic advisor who is also equipped with the skills and knowledge that they can share with you to help navigate college life.
- Establish a Routine: Eat, Exercise, Sleep!
- Routines help develop a sense of stability which is important when everything seems like it’s coming down on you at once. It also helps with time management because you get used to what you need to do on a regular basis. Sleeping is key to keep you level headed and leave stress levels low. Eating and exercise especially help you maintain stress because they release endorphins and dopamine which act as mood boosters, keep you motivated, and energized.
Now everyone is different so maybe not all of these will work for you, but they are worth a try. College is definitely overwhelming, but it’s also fun and a new experience that shouldn’t be co-opted entirely by stress. So have fun, and be present!