Are you feeling the crunch of having to study for finals, hold down a job, and have any type of social life whatsoever? You are not alone, especially around the holiday season. More than half of all college students have to work while in college, and that number increases for graduate students. Is it impossible? No, but you are going to have to organize and prioritize in order to make it without having a total exhaustive physical or mental (or both) breakdown. That is why we have put together a few tips to help you out.
Get some sleep. This may seem ridiculous to say since you have so much to do, but without sleep you are worthless. Try to grab the recommended 8 hours by going to bed the same time every night and getting up at the same time. This may be impossible for those of you who have a varying work schedule, but the more uninterrupted sleep you can grab the better. Try to avoid things like excessive caffeine and alcohol since they have been proven to interrupt sleep cycles.
Plan your day to the minute by writing it down, and do it a day ahead of time. It has been proven that by writing down what you are going to do, you will accomplish most of it by doing so. This helps you keep on task, and gives you the feeling of accomplishment to see that you were able to get what you thought was impossible done. Your list should look something like this: 6:30-7:00am-Exercise 7:00-7:30am-Breakfast and shower 7:30-9:30am-Study 9:30-10:00am-Break and catch up on emails/social media 10:00-11:30am-Study 11:30am-12:30-Run errands/lunch 12:30-2:00pm-Study 2:00-2:15pm-Get ready/go to work 3:00-9:00pm-Work 9:00-10:00pm-Get ready for next day, 10:00pm go to bed! Try to save the socializing for the weekends so that you can concentrate on getting those priorities taken care of (school and work), and you should be ahead of the game.
Lean on your network to help you out. Getting through tough times means that most of us need help. When you have that big final coming up, ask if you can get your work shift covered by another employee so you can get that extra study time. Or, rely on your family or friends to help you with an errand (and of course you will do it for them if they need it), while you are studying or working late.
We said it earlier, but keep the dates and clubbing for the weekend! Not only will it give you something to look forward to after a hard week, but it will keep the distractions to a minimum. Reserve Friday or Saturday for socializing, and Sunday to rest, catch up, and plan.
Eat healthy. Your body and mind are at their best when you do this, and will also be more able to fight colds and viruses that are more common during times of stress and this time of year. A good plan of attack for this, is to cook for the week on Sunday, and pre-package in containers so that you can just grab while on the go. Also, keep a granola bar, piece of fruit, or health shake handy so that when you are hungry, you can fight the temptation to grab fast food.
Finally, take some "Me" time. Whether it is a walk in the park, 10 minutes of meditation, or a hot bubble bath, you need that time that is uninterrupted and only for you. This will help keep the stress at bay, and help you re-group. After all, you work hard, you are worth it!