Dear Ivy

Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/ Fourth Estate

In Fourth Estate’s First Advice Column, A Student Asks Ivy For Advice About How To Balance Their Schedule

Dear Ivy,

I’m having problems with balancing my school work, my job and the club I’m a part of.  My problem is essentially there isn’t enough time in the day for everything I want to do. I often find that I’m too tired to read textbook chapters or finish an assignment until early the next morning. Then the cycle repeats itself. I also want to devote more time to the club I’m in, because I really enjoy the club and my friends are also in the club, but often I’m faced with participating in the club or going to work or my classes.

I can’t quit my job because I need the money, and I definitely can’t stop taking classes. However, I’m also not willing to drop my club as it is so important to me.

I know that obviously school comes first, and that that is my priority, but do you have any tips on how to balance my schedule more?

-A very stressed out student


Dear very stressed out student,

The very first thing you need to do is get a planner or something close enough to a planner where you can write everything down. There’s only 24 hours in a day and you need to be spending 8 of it sleeping, so with the other 16, you should have plenty of time to balance everything as long as you work on your time management skills.

However, time management isn’t something that you can perfect overnight. It will take some time until you get a hang of your routine. If your grades are currently suffering from it, you might need to drop something. As you mentioned, you can’t quit your job, and you have to go to your classes, so my recommendation is to leave your club for the time being, until you can get your life in order.

But if you are adamant on staying in your club I would advise you to use your planner to dedicate time for everything and schedule everything around your classes and your homework. By writing exactly when you’re going to study and splitting up the work between the days you don’t have classes, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. If you split up your readings, you won’t feel as overwhelmed about all the work you have to do. Keep your classes a priority by scheduling your other activities around them.

Life is only going to get busier, and perfecting your time management skills will definitely make it easier, but make sure that you are prioritizing your mental health as well. Dedicate your time for your work, but don’t forget to set aside some me-time. Taking some time to do something that you love, or to just sleep in and relax, will motivate you to get some work done. I also find that rewarding yourself constantly for the work that you’ve already accomplished, can help push you through the week. You can’t be productive, and you will lose the passion for whatever you are studying if you are too stressed to enjoy it so take it easy. You got this!