“Tell Your Day What to Do, Don’t Wonder Where it Went”
There are many benefits to studying abroad your final semester of college. Think about it, I don’t have to register for classes, I’m certain my credits are done for my major, I applied to graduate before I left, I didn’t have to find a job over winter break, I come home and I am done with school … there are definitely liberating perks. However, what many people fail to realize, is while all these perks are great, there are some serious consequences as well. Like, I’m graduating and need to actively pursue a career to start the rest of my life! THAT is some real pressure!
So while I still carpe diem while I’m here in Spain, I also have to keep in the back of my mind that I am going to jump off the cliff of security when I get back. No longer am I able to live with mom and dad, I need to become fully independent as much and as soon as possible. It’s a little tricky to have that cross on my back when I’m here prancing around Europe in a different language though … So what I decided to do was take some of my libre time and make gradual steps towards applications, networking, contacts, etc. that will help me when I get home and set me apart from my peers!
This is my most recent example of how important it is to have effective time management skills. While you may not be in a different country and about to graduate … it’s a little bit of an extreme … you are most likely handling more responsibilities than just school. Hello, social life? As college students we’re also knee-deep in one of the most ‘influential’ times of our lives … where we learn a lot about ourselves–values, beliefs, likes, dislikes, wants, goals, etc. We’ve got a lot of change happening around us constantly. So how do we keep up with it, organize it, and do what needs to be done to survive this craziness? Cue podcast.
The other day I listened to a great podcast from the EntreLeadership group, Pumping Up Productivity. (Take a listen to it online or choose to download their podcasts, they’re very inspiring!) The focus of their discussion was around how ‘busy’ people can get more done more effectively. Their advice was interesting. Most of what they talked about focused on a 2×2 grid of Urgency versus Importance. This quadrant was adapted from Stephen R. Covey’s celebrated book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and I included the graphic here in this post. I highly suggest you listen to the podcast and create your own quadrant similar to this one, but with the activities, people, and things that seem to take up your time. Be honest with yourself. Especially with the end of the semester in sight now, prioritizing your to-do list will leave you with less stress and more time for the things you really want to spend your time on.
It’s incredible what we waste time doing when we don’t want to do important things. Me for example, I will clean everything I can find a speck of dirt on to avoid starting a paper. Or, I’ll go out of my way to help other people do things instead of my pressing tasks. While you may be getting things done and even assisting society–this is still procrastination. (Aw man!)
I challenge you to listen, ponder, and fill out your quadrant and see how much more you can accomplish this semester to set yourself up for an amazing summer! Just think of all the possibilities (but not for too long … you’ve got things to do!)
“You will either tell your day what to do or wonder where it went.”
Courtney Cerniglia is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.