Graphic by Haley Morkert.
ABIGAIL RUBLE | OPINION COLUMNIST | firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: I am not licensed to actually give you advice. I’m in college just like you readers and you can take what you like from what I write. I do not promise any miracles, A’s on exams or flying cars. I am really sorry about that last one.
Wait a minute. I thought Ask Abby — the really cool advice column from the Collegian — was dead. That the writer graduated and with her graduation came Ask Abby’s death. Well, my friend, let me introduce myself. My name is also Abby, so now I own this column. Welcome. Anyway, let’s talk advice.
So, you have a packed schedule with 8 a.m. classes every day of the week, care about your friends, want to be involved on campus and get good grades, but you just don’t think you have the time to do it all? Well, you have stumbled into the right place because I am here to give you advice on how you can do it all — just maybe not at the same time — Let’s break it down so you can get cracking on that college lifestyle.
“But I have class all day”
I know. I know. Classes are hard. Professors assign so much homework, and there are only 24 hours in the day to grind out those assignments. First off, do not do that. Yes, working on your homework and assignments is important for academic success, but you should not be working to the point of burnout. The so-called “grindset” is bad for you. The best thing that you can do is make yourself a little study schedule. I know that that sounds a little silly, but trust me that if you give yourself that time it will be helpful. I like to do my assignments without distractions, so I set a time at night to sit down in a lounge and study. But, if I find time during the day, I’ll go to Starbucks with a friend to work.
For this you can use an adjusted Pomodoro technique: set a timer for yourself, 50 minutes working on an assignment and then a 10 minute break. If you finish it before the timer goes off — first off, I am so proud of you — then start on another assignment. Once the timer does go off, take a little brain break. Scroll through TikTok. Text your friends and family. Once they know that you’re alive and it’s been about 10 minutes of not doing homework, set that timer again and get back to it. Whatever time you can block out to work on homework is better than no time at all. Working in set amounts of time should help you focus on the task at hand.
I say this with love: throw your phone across the room. Please don’t actually throw your phone, but place it gently down like a kitten, somewhere out of reach and face down so you can’t see it. When you can’t see your phone, you can’t focus on it. As 16th century author John Heywood said, “Out of sight, out of mind.” You have to put that puppy in timeout until it’s time for your little brain break. It will feel good not being attached to it, I promise.
“But my friends are my life”
My love, I could not agree more. I love my friends more than anything, and I am assuming you feel the same way. Finding time to hang out with friends can be really hard when you feel bombarded by classes and feel like you need to get things done right here and now.
I will let you in on what one of my favorite things to do in high school and now in college — drumroll please — study dates! What? Abby, that sounds boring. Why would I do that? Because, my stressed-out friend, you are not the only one who feels stressed. Your friends probably feel the same way you do now, and they want to hang out with you too.
I love study dates so much because you can get work done and you get to be with your friends. You can go to the on-campus Starbucks, one of the libraries or a study lounge in your dorm. You don’t have to be in the same courses to have a little study date. You just both have to show up with work to get done. My favorite place is Starbucks, and then you and your friend can have coffee, too!
There is also solidarity in a study date. You feel stressed and need to vent? Babes, I am all ears. Your friends understand where you are coming from, and you want each other to succeed. Listening to each other vent about your classes can feel cathartic.
“I want to do stuff on campus”
Participating in clubs is super fun and helps when you want to make new friends. But not having time to try something new can be upsetting. Maybe you want to do club swimming, want to join the rock-climbing club and want to be in the on-campus book club. Okay, we can work with that. Being in clubs is one of the most fun parts of being in college and being involved is great.
What about the time that I don’t have?
Unfortunately, you might have to pick and choose what meetings or practices you go to. I’m not saying don’t be involved, but if you feel really stressed already, consider skipping the meeting or practice. I promise you that if you think you already don’t have time for homework, swim practice can wait. I know that that’s hard to hear when you want to be super involved. I promise you that the people who run the club will understand why you weren’t there. And if you still feel bad, try changing your mindset. Setting priorities is a girlboss move, and everyone loves to be a girlboss.
I believe in you
Why does it matter that I believe in you? Because if you don’t believe in yourself, someone has to do it for you, and I will gladly take that responsibility. I know that college is hard. Trust me. But, believe in yourself, and you absolutely have this. Set aside your chunk of time to study. Plan a little study date with a friend. And even though being involved is important, make sure that you prioritize yourself and what is important to you in the long run. I truly believe in you, dear reader, with my whole heart. You’ve got this.