by Ariel Kelley
“I am too busy.”
These are the four words that I hear spoken most often on Evangel’s campus. Whether I am asking someone to go to a movie, grab a quick lunch at Chipotle or join an organization on campus. The reality is that these four years at college are four years of your life that you can never experience again. It is so important that you don’t let the busyness of life keep you from fully experiencing this season in your life. You will be “busy” for the rest of your life. It only get’s more complicated as you get older. You have so much time, talent and energy to donate to your campus right now. Believe me, we all feel busy. We all feel overwhelmed at times. The awesome experience of attending a university isn’t mean to overwhelm us. It is meant to help us grow and change in ways that we never even knew were possible. It is meant to make us adults. And as adult-in-training, we need to learn how to handle the “busyness” of our lives in a productive way.
Here are some helpful tips from one busy student to another:
Prioritize your schedules.
Overlapping events and meetings cause unneeded stress on students. If you have a class at 5 p.m. but you also have a meeting for an organization, that is a no-brainer. Class needs to come first. Your organization will understand. Let someone know well before the meeting. (Usually, 3 days advance notice is the proper etiquette.) Make arrangements to talk to someone and find out what you missed at the meeting. Now, if you have a meeting for a different organization at 3 p.m. and your friends ask you to make a Starbucks run with them, which do you think you should choose? Honor your commitments and reward yourself with Starbucks after the meeting.
Get yourself a Planner. TODAY.
This is college, a planner is a necessity. Personally, my planner is filled with every meeting, appointment, trip and plan that I have from now until the end of the school year. And everyday the list grows. I would be lost without my Lilly Pulitzer agenda. Using your cell phone or laptop is totally acceptable as well. Just be organized and know what your day consists of.
Schedule one night a week that is YOURS.
That is the night where it is okay to Netflix binge, catch a movie, spend some time alone, treat yourself to a pedicure or pig out on Oreos (personal preference). Being NICE to yourself is a great way to keep you from feeling too overwhelmed. You are your biggest fan and all of those cliché’s about self-confidence are true. You have to take care of yourself. So relax, unwind and give yourself real room to breathe.
Don’t commit unless you are prepared to give 100 percent.
One saying I absolutely hate is, “It is impossible for me to commit one hundred percent to everything that I do.” That is false. The breakdown of what giving one hundred percent looks like comes down to commitment. True commitment looks like attending meetings on time, finding one or two special projects in the organization that interests you. You don’t have to be involved in every aspect of a club or organization. It is okay to specialize and donate your time for a specific area. This helps you manage your time and still commit one hundred percent.
If you are considering committing to something on campus, consider these things before you say yes:
Do I have conflicts during the meeting times?
Am I interested in this because I truly believe in it, or do I want to join in for my resume or for my reputation?
Will I have time to participate in any special projects?
Most importantly: Examine your busyness.
Is your busyness full of late night intentional talks with your room and floor mates, diligent studying for your classes, fun trips to Hurts Donuts with your friends, serving the community with your organization, and leading students? Or is your “busyness” filled with a list of organizations to boost your ego, 5 hour Netflix binges, sitting in meetings that you hate and feeling overwhelmed?
There is nothing wrong with being busy, but the activities that you are involved in should leave you feeling fulfilled, not drained. It is imperative that you get involved with organizations on campus but it needs to be work that you LOVE doing. You need to be involved in activities and organizations that are giving you a purpose. My field of study is English education but I am involved in the College Republicans here on campus. Why? Because discussing politics and the need for change in the world excites me. It fans the fire that I have already. It doesn’t douse it. The organization has nothing to do with my major yet it has given me such an amazing experience here at Evangel.
You CAN say no.
If you absolutely have no desire to be a part of an organization or you know that you have NO time to commit to it, then you should politely and quickly tell the person no. Give them a valid reason. They will understand. And it is much better that you tell them upfront rather than half-committing to projects that you don’t have the heart for.
If you skipped down to the end of this article (shame on you) then the TL;DR version is this: We willingly make time in our lives for the things that we want to be involved with. We are passionate people, and that means we will spend long nights, even longer days and countless hours on projects for the things that we genuinely love to do. If you are feeling tired, exhausted, defeated by the “busyness” of your life, then maybe you need to really think about what is keeping you SO busy. God never intended for us to feel defeated but to be warriors of our lives. Are you fighting the right fight?