College is overwhelming. There are lots of opportunities that you are encouraged to try, lots of difficult classes that take up much of your personal time, and not as much money in your pocket as you are used to. Trust me, I get it: I am currently a pre-med double major who works two jobs, volunteers each week, studies for the MCAT and serves as president of my sorority while still making the dean’s list and (usually) getting at least eight hours of sleep every night.
So you definitely can get the best of all worlds — it’s just all about balance. It is important to focus in on your individual needs and goals; however, I want to share my experiences with you and describe what works for me.
Find a club or two for you and climb the ladder.
Start slow by being a member of a club that interests you. Make sure you go to as many meetings as you can and participate in events to get to know other people. Maybe find a friend that also wants to join that club and go together. Next, try to get a little more involved by joining a committee or volunteering for a position. If your club has elections for executive positions and you want to run for one, share your goals and your vision for the club with other members. By the time election come around, people will have warmed to the idea that you’re the right person for the job.
If you need to make some money, be consistent with your weekly time commitment.
Consistent schedules are great. I work two jobs, so it’s important that I know how long I’m going to be at each one. Your time is valuable, so let your supervisor know when you’re available and stick to it. And remember that you can’t be available all the time. Some days, you might need some extra down time. It’s more than okay to play on your phone or watch Netflix once in a while.
Otherwise, stay off your phone.That said, as much as possible, do not waste your time on your phone. (If you lack self-control like me, delete your social media apps. They are so unimportant, and you don’t realize how much time you’re wasting on them until you can’t click on them anymore when you open your phone.) Don’t look at your phone during class; pay attention to the lecture and avoid wasting your time later trying to figure out what class was about. Don’t take your phone to the bathroom and sit in there for 10+ minutes. And if you need a break, take a little walk around your dorm, the library, outside, or anywhere else.
Pick a major and then add a little more.
When I graduate, I’ll have earned two degrees — and I will have only taken one class outside of fall and spring semesters. You have plenty of time in your college schedule to double major or to have a major and a minor or two, so GO FOR IT. The tuition cost is the same either way, and it could really help you out down the road. I recommend switching it up and combing two different interests. For example, I’m majoring in biochemistry and French, combining my career interest in medicine and my personal interest in travelling abroad to Francophone countries.
Choose a bedtime and stick to it.
I go to bed at 10 or 11 each night. I don’t necessarily fall asleep then, but I make sure I’m lying down in bed without my phone on. If you can’t fall asleep, read a little or write a bit in a journal — but if you’re consistently in bed at the same time each day, you will start to feel tired at that time and sleep will come easier.
Focus on these couple easy steps and stay true to yourself and goals. You can do it all. Good luck!