As a student that struggles to balance school, work and clubs, it’s pretty hard to figure out the best way to handle everything. I always want to be involved in more organizations, but I never know how I would manage it. I realized that the best person to get advice from would be someone who is basically the college student equivalent of Superwoman, Jazmin Habbab.
Jazmin is currently a junior at Montclair State University, majoring in Public Health and minoring in Biology and Arabic. She does it all: She’s a full-time student who takes 19 credits every semester, a part-time worker, a volunteer, a leader of two organizations and a member of six organizations. After transferring to Montclair State for her sophomore year, Jazmin was determined to make the most out of all the opportunities that the school provides.
Jazmin agreed to share her secrets about how she manages her time and stress while being so involved. Here’s what you should know.
1. Get Your Time Management Down
When you have a lot of commitments, meetings and shifts might end up overlapping. This can be a tricky situation, especially when every organization expects to be your first priority. Jazmin recommends getting two wall calendars to put in your room. She uses one for scheduling club meetings, events, work and volunteer hours. The other is solely for homework and projects.
If you start noticing time conflicts while writing on your calendar, you have to figure out which obligations are more important. You have to pick and choose what you think is most important, but go with your instinct. The 10-page paper you have due next week is probably more important than going out to dinner with your co-workers. Prioritizing is difficult in general, but it gets even more difficult when your schedule is packed.
Another effective way to keep track of assignments is by making to-do lists. You can make general weekly lists and more specific daily lists. Whether you prefer to use Post-Its or just make lists in your notebook or agenda, nothing feels better than being able to cross an item off.
2. Work on Stress Management
Stress is inevitable sometimes, especially during your college years. You might try your hardest to avoid it, but it’s best to be prepared for when it pops up. Jazmin tries to control her stress by planning out her entire week. Knowing what your attitude should be like for the rest of the week is crucial to managing stress. She also calms herself down by listening to music, taking a short break and going for a run.
You’re going to have two very different attitudes going into the week of Thanksgiving compared to finals week. If you’ve got an easy and exciting week ahead of you, there’s a good chance that you’ll be bubbly, spontaneous, and overall happy. If it’s about to be your most stressful week of the semester, you should be ready to work and be productive at the start of the week.
If you don’t properly manage your stress, it could seriously affect your health. Last year, Jazmin had a really hard time handling her stress. She had really bad anxiety at the time, which caused her to overeat and have breakdowns over the littlest things.
You can prevent this by planning out each day in advance, so that you have an idea of what to expect. No one likes being caught off-guard, so use your planner, calendar, Post-Its, phone reminders or whatever else it takes for you to know what you’ll be facing for the week.
3. Build a Support System
We all could use a little advice sometimes, even if we think we’re doing fine. Although Jazmin does a pretty good job at figuring things out on her own, there is one thing that she wishes she had known from the beginning.
Jazmin did not always surround herself with a really good support system at first. You should surround yourself with people who inspire you and push you to become a better person. You can handle anything and everything that you put your mind, heart and soul into, but it will be a lot harder without an amazing group of friends.
Your friends have to believe in you enough to always be there for you when you’re going through a hard time. Like Jazmin says, your friends should support you and never discourage you from following your dreams.
Hopefully we can all learn from Jazmin’s experiences. It can be really hard to manage your time and stress during college, but you just have to plan ahead and surround yourself with positive people!