The Other Part of Time Management

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A large part of being a student is not being a student.

I remember storming through Spring semester. When it came time for summer, I really had no clue what to do. It kind of felt like I forgot who I was and everything I did on my free time because I was so wired up to work like a machine. I remember going to the library and reading books nonstop for a couple of weeks because I had a strong feeling that I needed to keep working and I felt guilty when I was not doing anything, even though there was absolutely nothing to do.

Being a student in college calls for amazing time management skills and endless hours of actively studying and working to succeed, but it also calls for breaks, which is something we usually neglect to do while the semester is in session.

Breaks are great to prevent semester burn outs. Now that I am in my junior year, I have realized a pattern that I have been following: For fall semesters, coming back from months of doing absolutely nothing, I usually stay on my toes until midterm point and begin to burn out right before because I get exhausted, causing me to do terrible on midterms and then spend the rest of the semester stressing and trying to get back on track by overworking. This usually ends horribly. Spring semesters, I usually start off slow because I am exhausted from my previous semester’s shenanigans, which helps me regulate breaks for myself right from the beginning so that I can easily prevent the mid semester burnout.

Taking breaks and knowing when to take them are a powerful tools for your academic achievements. These breaks also help you to remember who you are, while striving to be an A grade machine. It takes me forever to remember who I am all over again after spring semesters because I spend so much time away from being myself or when there is time I am usually too exhausted to do anything.

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Spring 2016 Tabling – Now This Poster is FILLED!

Even though it sounds really easy to take a break, figuring out when to take a break when there is barely any time to finish work as is is really tricky. A lot of my free time ends up being wasted lying in bed before school dreading to start my day; falling asleep in the Science library, while trying to get work done between my classes; or laying down, after school, unable to move from the exhaustion.

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In my last blog post, I talked about time management, mostly in the sense of not procrastinating and getting work done efficiently, but there is a great deal of time management that goes behind taking breaks. To allow myself to take breaks, I need to finish all of the work I have planned for that day or for the week, so that I do not ruin my “break day” by stressing our about work I still have to get done. Setting myself up to look forward to things is a technique I use to make myself finish my work faster, instead of moping around. The thought of working hard now and being able to relax later at a set date for an event always makes me work a ton more efficiently.

Breaks are not something I am good at managing. Sometimes I am really good with self-control, and allowing myself to get back to work after a day or two of stepping away from school work, but sometimes I do not get back to the world of homework and studying. This sometimes results in me not taking breaks at all for a couple of months, in order to catch up. Doesn’t that sound stressful.

Figuring out how to balance a social life, school, sleep and pretty much everything is something I have been trying to do since starting college. Sure I have improved a lot, and I do not end my semesters scarred for life and hating myself anymore. Still, I could really improve my efficiency by a ton, if I keep trying to figure out what is not working for me. This is something I strive to continue doing. I am getting better and better.


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

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Simonti B.
Class of 2019
Majors: Biology and English
Past Blog Theme:
Writing My Own Chapter

Current Theme:
Resolutionary
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Moving Forward

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I thought I was all set. I thought I was ready.  All of my core coursework was completed.  I was working on the weekends and whatever free time I had was devoted to helping care for my grandfather.  I thought I was motivated.  I thought my goal to be a nurse was the end all, be all.  Acceptance letter received, required materials purchased, physical examination done, student I.D. obtained, first couple of weeks done  –   I had to make a choice: adapt or become defeated.  When I thought I had my life all planned out, suddenly: BOOM! I felt a big smack in the face. Continue reading “Moving Forward”

Do you have Grit?

statue-1515390_960_720Recently, I came across a Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth. I had seen this Ted Talk once before in a class when I first started college and did not think much of it. When I came across it again, only a few months ago, what she talked about really resonated with me as a senior in college. In the video, she spoke about the idea of grit and the power of passion and perseverance. She talked about how she taught seventh grade math for the New York City public school district. Through teaching, she found that IQ was not the only thing that separated her best students from her worst. Some of her top students had lower IQ scores than her less successful students and vice versa. She then studied the question, “What characteristic leads a person to be more successful?”

Through her research, she found that the one defining quality in people who were successful was grit. It was not IQ score, socioeconomic status, or physical health. Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Duckworth said that grit is having stamina and the ability to weather the storms that life brings while continuing to work on your goals day in and day out. In her words, grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a race.

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This idea of grit has become a key theme both in and out of my academic life. Every day I have to “check my grit”…no really…about 3 times a day I say to myself in my head, “check your grit.”

I may be weird, but it is the difference between me going home to relax only to push more work onto tomorrow, or going to the library and setting myself up for a good week. I ask, “Am I working my hardest? Could I do more today to achieve my goals? What are your goals?”

If I just push a little harder today, then I will have a better tomorrow. This statement has proven to be overwhelmingly true in my life. Like all college students, I am vulnerable to procrastination, laziness, and discouragement. School is hard. And life is harder! No one is on their game 100% of the time. The great thing about grit is that it is not something you are born with or born into. Which means it can be learned over time. It also means that there is potential inside of everyone to succeed. Lazy days are inescapable. But remembering to check your grit on a regular basis can turn you from a person who can work hard sometimes, into a hard-working person.

The American dream is real. You can come from nothing and make something of yourself. I was a poor, mediocre student in high school with issues. Now I am an undergraduate student, taking graduate courses with a bright future ahead of me. Having grit is the difference between knowing what you want, and actually getting what you want. Having goals and actually achieving them. Do not let anybody ever tell you that you cannot achieve what you want to achieve. Because if you have the determination and passion to do something, you can do it. You can do it because this world is built off the backs of underdogs. This world is built off the back of gritty humans. And gritty humans get things done regardless of race, IQ, socioeconomic status, or cards that are dealt to them. Grit is a field leveler. It is that thing inside of yourself that no one else can tap into. That underutilized resource of hope and change. So, try checking your grit on a daily basis. Move your life into the direction you desire. Because no one knows your potential but you, and no one else is going to bring it out of you.


 

 


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

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Heather M.
Class of 2018
Major: Communication
Minor: Psychology
Blog Theme:
One Life’s Potential

Working Resolutions

Some have mixed feelings for work. Certain people love what they do, and then there are others who work just to survive.  Growing up I would observe my parents going to work and coming back home. All I knew was that they went to work for a few hours, and then came back home. I did not realize the actual meaning of work, so I just brushed it off.  I took their work for granted.

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My parents would try their best to get me whatever I wanted, from my favorite foods to toys. We moved to Albany, from Queens, when I was almost 11 years old. My dad had a new job up here which required a lot of overtime, so sometimes he would go to work for 2 days straight. There were times where I only saw my dad once or twice a week. A few years went by, and now I was almost 14. One night I was having a hard time falling asleep. I was thinking about my day, my actions that day, and things that have been going on around me recently. I started to think about how I do not see my dad as much, ever since he started his new job. That is when it hit me. He was working so hard to give my brother and I as much as he could. Since I was going to turn 14 that summer, I was going to be old enough to work.  I made a resolution that I would work so I would not have to keep asking my parents for money when I wanted to go places with my friends. I got my working papers and I worked for the next three summers. I did not make a lot of money, but I made enough to cover some of my expenses.

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Once I turned 16, I was able to work when school was not in session so I started looking for a weekend job. I was a minor with minimal work experience so that was the largest obstacle I had to overcome. There were many more qualified applicants, so almost every place that I had applied to did not call me back, or said they would but never did. I was starting to get frustrated but I knew eventually one of these places would hire me and once I was in, it would be much easier for me to get other jobs. There was a toy store in a plaza near my home. My mom worked at a bank in the same plaza. She learned that they were hiring people for the Christmas season. Although it was a seasonal position, I thought that, at least, it was something for now, so I went and applied. I got an on-the-spot interview and I was hired within a week. I finally got a job to work on the weekends and breaks. As the Christmas season was ending the manager decided to keep me. This made me ecstatic. I finally had a steady weekend job. Since they were a small shop, they were not able to give me many hours, but it was okay since school was still in session. I worked there throughout high school. The summer, before college I decided to take up a second job instead of sitting around all summer. This time around, the job search was easier and I was able to find a job within 2 weeks.

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I still work two jobs and go to school full time. I often am asked how I work two jobs,  go to school full-time, and maintain good grades. It is all about timing. If you waste less time and get stuff done, you will be just fine. There is also the motivation to work and cover my own expenses so my parents have one less thing to worry about. I was able to achieve this resolution, even though it took a few years to achieve. Things are not always easy but you have to keep trying. That’s the only way to succeed and also how I fulfilled my resolution.


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
Meet the Author

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Anik Paul
Class of 2019
Major: Economics
Minor: Business Administration
Blog Theme:
Resolutionary

Time

“Working on time management was not a choice I had,
it was something I had to do to survive college.”

It is 9 p.m. on a Tuesday and I just got home. It was a long day of four, back-to-back, tedious, and complicated classes. There are two chapters and a lecture slide to review for developmental biology, an essay to write about psychoanalysis, a difficult reading from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography for American literature, an essay and notes to review for history, a lab to read over and prepare for, and another essay to write for my contemporary writers class. So what do I do first? I spend an hour showering and then another hour eating, and then waste some more time prepping to sit down and study.

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I remember listening to my senior year AP Biology teacher stress us about time management, and the whole time I thought it would never be a problem I would have. During my freshmen year of college, my non-problem hit me like a truck, just like she said it would.

Time management is something I never had trouble with before college. In high school, and before that, I always kept myself on a cycle of getting home, doing my homework, and then doing whatever I wanted until bedtime. Coming into college, the workload amplifies, and suddenly the responsibility of life and just being older and having less energy, makes it more difficult to maintain a steady schedule. Even though I don’t procrastinate like some students around me do, I still do not get most things done as efficiently as I could.

Reflecting back to freshman year, I remember grabbing random assignments and getting them done, but, from time to time, forgetting an assignment or simply, missing a  deadline which really put a dent in my grades. I had to get into the habit of writing down assignments and when they were due, and making sure to reference my list of to-dos from time to time, so I never left an assignment undone, even if it had to be finished in a rush.

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Peer Advisor Diane caught planning out her semester with color coded pens. It works!

One method that I have been using since last semester, which I believe helped me to get a stream of As, is to make a chart with the days of the week and filling out which assignment I should do on what day, corresponding with the amount of time I would have to do school work. When I first started doing this I remember filling out the first few days of the week with a ton of work and nothing for the rest of the week. The problems with this, was that I would either be overloading myself with work, even though I had ample amount of time to get stuff done, if I spaced them out. Also, if I did not get everything that I wanted to get done for the day, I would feel really discouraged and keep working until they were done, which resulted in minimal to no sleep on some nights. Although I do not have those issues every week anymore because I space out my work accordingly, on busier weeks, I find myself getting barely any sleep.

Working on time management was not a choice I had, it was something I had to do to survive college. Time management was not something I could make a resolution about because it had to be put into effect immediately, to try new methods week-by-week to find what fits me and my work habits the best.  I am still perfecting my way of managing what to do and when to do it. Even though my way does not work out every week, I am better than I was before and I can work with that.


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

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Simonti B.
Class of 2019
Majors: Biology and English
Past Blog Theme:
Writing My Own Chapter

Current Theme:
Resolutionary

MyStory Mondays 10-23-17 Adjusting

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MyStory Mondays is a weekly digest of our latest posts.

Our UAlbany MyStory Bloggers share their lives with you to help you to stay focused on your goals, to remind and inform you about the many supports that we have on campus to help you succeed, and to let you know that, whatever you are going through, you are not alone. 

This week, we are focusing on adjusting socially and academically.

Elizabeth B
Click on the Pic to Read More about Liz’s Journey at UAlbany
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Click here to read about how Anik addressed his social fears.
When I was in a large group, I was afraid people would judge me. I would ask myself the same set of random questions in my head every time I was around a lot of people. “Is there something in my teeth?” “Is there a stain on my clothes?” “Does my breath smell okay?”

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In her last post, Simonti shared her love of music, especially Hindi music.  This week, she writes about how music had become a distraction and how she wrenched herself from her addiction to sound. Click here to read more. 

Music has always found a way to make me feel more excited about doing whatever it was I had to do. It made my life more colorful. There are certain songs, in which, I have a period of my life stored. This is something no picture or book has ever been able to do. I have been the type of person that always needed a song playing in the background, anything, just to avoid having to be without a tune. But there was a problem…

Navigating RoomHATE

 

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Kate Engert offers several steps to addressing difficult roommate situations, in her post, “Navigating RoomHATE.”  This post was part of her MyStory blog series, Metamorphosis. Click here to read her offerings.

Alex J Project MyStory 2015
Alex went through almost everything. Click on the image to read her story.

Want more stories? Click here.


Plugging Our Friends:
Check out Great Danes Daily: The UAlbany Dept. of Communication Student Blog.  You can also follow them on twitter @gr8danesdaily.

Social Resolutions

Have you ever seen a person you know from school in public and tried your best to avoid them so you do not have to greet them and make conversation with them? That was me from middle school until the beginning of 12th grade. I hated social situations. I preferred being in smaller groups of people I knew. Being in a social situation would make me very anxious and extremely fidgety. I would not know what to do with myself. When I was in a large group, I was afraid people would judge me. I would ask myself the same set of random questions in my head every time I was around a lot of people. “Is there something in my teeth?” “Is there a stain on my clothes?” “Does my breath smell okay?” Continue reading “Social Resolutions”

Musical Distractions

music-581732_960_720.jpgMany people are heavily music dependent and for all the right reasons. Music fills the void of silence when doing the most mundane tasks, like homework, working out, or going to a party you really had no intention of going to. The first “English” song I ever heard was Katy Perry’s “Hot and Cold” from a friend in the 6th grade. One song turned into an ipod, stored to the brim, with music that I listened to nonstop that summer, during my trip to India. This would continue on through the 7th grade and so on. Over the years, my musical tastes changed from Katy Perry-like sounds to a wide range of genres.

Music has always found a way to make me feel more excited about doing whatever it was I had to do. It made my life more colorful. There are certain songs, in which, I have a period of my life stored. This is something no picture or book has ever been able to do. I have been the type of person that always needed a song playing in the background, anything, just to avoid having to be without a tune. But there was a problem…

Although music was something I used to escape, it was very distracting to me when I listened to music while doing homework, working on projects or doing anything that needed my full attention. For many years I shrugged it off and told myself that I was one of those people that “concentrate better with music,” but during my freshman year of college and seriously struggling with my grades I decided that I needed to stop lying to myself. In 2016, New Year’s night, I decided to give myself a whole year to work on being able to concentrate without musical “help.” Although it may sound silly, it was so hard for me to even find the motivation to do homework or study without music… so I didn’t. After years of having something distract me in the background, suddenly changing and forcing myself to use all my concentration on one task was not settling well at all in the beginning. I found myself studying for a few minutes and then taking an hour long break, or constantly fidgeting with something to keep the other half of me distracted like music did.

After a month of watching my grades deteriorate, I decided to cut off listening to anything for good unless it was playing at a store or somewhere I had no control over it playing. It took me nearly half a year to get used to focusing or finding motivation to do anything that was related to me using my brain, without tunes, but then things started to pick up rapidly. I began to memorize more, concentrate more, and finish whatever task I had to do in nearly half or a fraction of the time. After a year of working on my goal, I was able to successfully separate my academic life from music, and still let myself enjoy music when I was not studying. This resolution has been my only real, “stereotypical,” one-year-long resolution. I gave myself a set amount of time to work on something that really needed improvement, and it worked really well.


Listen to The Myth of Multitasking on NPR


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

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Simonti B.
Class of 2019
Majors: Biology and English
Past Blog Theme:
Writing My Own Chapter

Current Theme:
Resolutionary

 

The Power of Focus

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If you listen to any successful person talk about how they got to where they are, a lot of times, the word focus will be mentioned at some point. Everyone wants to be successful, but many of us lack focus. Although we live in this multitasking age, multitasking just does not work. And I am not just talking about daily tasks. I am talking about greater focus in life. Look back and be honest with yourself. Do you consider yourself to be a focused person? I personally do not consider myself  to be a focused person. I constantly have to remind myself, “Heather, be focused.” We are constantly getting distracted from what we need to be focused on. Whether we are distracted by our phones, other people, worried thoughts or, you fill in the blank. Continue reading “The Power of Focus”

Soaked: Breakdown to Breakthrough Part I

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Working for my family’s business was my first real job.  It was flexible and an opportunity for me to get some work experience, develop my communication skills, and it was an opportunity for me to learn the basic foundations of working in the world of retail.  New Visions forced me to adapt in ways that were unfamiliar to me. It forced me to throw myself into chaotic environments and allowed me to explore a field I thought I wanted to be part of.     Continue reading “Soaked: Breakdown to Breakthrough Part I”