As the pumpkin spice lattes come out to be enjoyed, and the leaves begin to fall, thousands of students crawl back for another semester, or even to start their journey – but it can be a healthy sprint if one is applied in the proper way. While I am by no means a campus counselor or a valedictorian, I did graduate from a great school, with no student loans at the end, and in less time than expected. I give you this information with the hopes that it helps to balance and create wellness in your life, as you get closer and closer to graduating!
1. Challenge Yourself
While it sounds vague, you would be surprised at how many freshman brace for the worst upon entering university. I was informed by my advisor that 2-4 classes would suffice – however, this would have meant that continuing at this pace would delay my graduation by 1.5-2 years. Knowing how competitive the working world is (in my industry anyway), I opted for a maximum course load every semester, and did not regret it. This is not to say that every semester must be hardcore, but trying a more difficult semester can help to shape your limits and expectations. To try and balance out my maximum-credit semesters, I was careful to plant one or two easy electives within each schedule to ensure that I stayed afloat, and many of my friends jumped on board to do this as well. By the time many of my classmates were graduating, many of us were already benefiting from the head start with management roles and cool opportunities.
2. Study Selectively
In my time at university, I will admit that there were bizarre glitches in the course syllabus from time to time, where the professor would claim something like: “This week’s material will NOT be on the midterm next week!”. If you happen to hear something like that, then do not study it. I knew friends that did, because they felt that this meant they were great students. While this may be true, it is wise to apply your time to areas that are more likely to be tested upon, or areas where the professor says: “You’re going to want to write this down, it will be on the exam”. Listen when your professors give you information like this.
3. Strategize Your Skills
University is supposed to be fun and an enjoyable way to meet new people – you never know if you could be meeting your new best friend or a potential significant other in a new class. One thing that I will mention is to always remember why you are enrolled. These are the years where you get to sponge up opportunity, in taking internships, fluffing your resume or networking with professors. One thing that I definitely recommend is the importance of knowing what sets you apart from your colleagues – if you aren’t sure, that’s okay, just be sure to take some time to explore this eventually!
4. Work When You Can
One of the most crucial points that I stand behind in my university days was that I worked as often as I could – some years, this was fifteen hours a week, and others, it was as high as fifty-five hours per week (I worked as a barista while I interned at a media corporation). Having at least a bit of income rolling in will ultimately help you to graduate with a reduced amount owed by the end of your degree, and with less stress down the road. Even managing occasional gigs can help you out later. Remember, it’s important to push as hard as you can, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. There may be times where it feels okay to hustle, and other times where it is absolutely necessary to focus on other aspects, such as health.
5. Make Wellness a Priority
With all that is going on in your schedule, it is ridiculously challenging to manage any of it if you aren’t reading your body, or maintaining your personal wellbeing. While I was no stranger to back-to-back late nights writing papers (mostly due to #4, although I do not regret it), I recommend a healthier process if you can make it happen. Try reading a book, or taking some time to something you enjoy. In ten years, you won’t be worry about your assignments, but you could be worrying about your health, which is why it is important to remember the importance of self-love. Read yourself, and remember to push yourself, but not to the point that you pass out in a lecture.