My name is Jess Mihalczo and I am a Junior studying Advertising with a Media Planning concentration at Temple University.
After two and a half years of college, I thought that I had conquered time management, but this semester presented me with an entirely new set of challenges. Between balancing school and extracurricular responsibilities all while holding down a challenging internship, I felt at times like I was living a double-life. Switching on an off between work-mode and school-mode was no easy task and I often felt like my mind was fragmented. At work, I felt challenged by only being in the office every other day and I struggled to keep up with the client and to keep myself on par with the rest of the team members. Not to mention that on my off days my professors were expecting me to immerse myself in my studies. But to help bring some order to the chaos I was experiencing I came up with the following tricks.
- Learn How to Prioritize
One of the most important lessons I learned this semester was how to prioritize. When juggling multiple responsibilities it is important to prioritize endeavors that provide you with value. Learning how to prioritize has helped me in many different facets of my life both as a student, a working professional, and as a person in general. During my internship I wanted to ensure that not only was I working on projects that were helping the team but that were also contributing to my learning, because at the end of the day internships are meant to be a learning experience. Prioritizing projects that contribute to your professional development, and engaging in outside activities that contribute to your happiness, help to maintain a balance during all the craziness.
- Done is Good
The second big lesson that I learned this semester is that sometimes “done is good.” Not every responsibility is going to be a top priority that is providing you with value and that’s okay. Sometimes things just need to get done. Learning this was huge for me. I can often exhibit perfectionist tendencies, making it difficult for me to hand in a project that does not showcase my best work. But being honest with the people that I was working with about what my bandwidth was and how much I was able to take on helped to ease the stress of meeting deadlines. Additionally, after prioritizing projects that derived the most value, I was able to more easily delineate where I could make sacrifices. Although it sounds counterintuitive to sacrifice quality, when it comes to those late nights when you are running on fumes, sometimes you just have to accept that “done is good.”
- Sleep Is Your Best Friend
This semester I caught more colds than I have caught in the past year, and there was one single culprit that caused them all, lack of sleep. Of course when you are juggling multiple responsibilities those late nights are inevitable, but there are ways to help keep yourself in balance. This semester, every Tuesday and Thursday I would schedule in a quick 1 hour nap to make sure I got in my hours for the week. Although it sounds silly, and I definitely received some funny looks from my friends when I said that I had to go because it was time for my nap, making sure that you get your sleep is essential. On top of catching up on sleep wherever I could, I also found it beneficial to try and keep a regular sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day does more good than you probably realize. Even if you are getting less hours than usual, just sticking to a schedule helps your body adjust so that your mind can focus better.
- Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
My last trick is something that I’m sure we have all heard before but some of us might struggle with more than others. Getting wrapped up in the minuscule details of projects or in irrelevant conflicts is something that I always thought wasn’t a problem for me. Until one day my roommate pointed out that every day I would come home from work and worry about little situations that presented themselves to me that day. She said to me, “No offense, but I feel like every time you are worried about something, you already got it.” Listening to her say this out loud, made me realize that she was right. I realized that everyone moves at their own pace, and comparing myself to others who have more experience, or are in different parts of their lives than I am, wasn’t doing me any good. Instead, I needed to simply focus on where I’m at, and where I want to be, and then go from there. Getting caught up in the small stuff just isn’t worth it in the long run. Everyone is faced with frustrating moments but showing the courage and determination to overcome those frustrations is what really counts.
Although it isn’t easy sometimes to find balance in the chaos of all the responsibilities of being a student, it’s important to remember that hard work does not go unnoticed. If you are genuine, authentic, and passionate in everything you do, those qualities are sure to lead to your success.