With exams rapidly approaching, the daily college bustle is slowly warping into the teeth-grinding, life-or-death hustle. Time is never on our side, ruthless in its propensity to sneak up on us with nearly missed deadlines and lengthy to-do lists. In secondary school, teachers organized our time, leaving little time for unnecessary diversions. In the workplace, we are mere workers in a lengthy assembly line of tasks, expected to squeeze out maximum productivity. College is a beautiful mix of work and play, where we seemingly create our own timetable.
An average student has 20 hours of class a week, usually less in many cases. Thus, how do we struggle to make ends meet? Between the constant battle for whose workload is the heaviest and the overarching criticism of institutional bureaucracy, it’s no wonder we are left with little time for actual productivity. We proclaim any academic demand as unreasonable, and contemplate a trans-Atlantic escape to a more tropical destination, where we will not be burdened by college work or any expectations. In the search for scapegoats, we frequently forget ourselves, and the name of the game we play, which is effectively, procrastination. There is always enough time, but our ability to manage it wisely, remains a source of consternation.
As a master procrastinator myself, I have very finely perfected the skills of the craft. The golden rule is to treat time loosely and obscurely. By refusing to track deadlines, you avoid the stress of their imminent arrival. I have always considered calendars and planners tedious, worrying they will impinge on my spontaneity. However, perhaps my subconscious has driven me to avoid any way to subsequently organize myself, to further indulge in my procrastination.
Judging from my unsystematic and chaotic habits, I feel that time management is the essential factor for success. The hardest part is not getting ensnared in the obscurest of details, and focus on the bigger picture. The trick of the trade is to avoid chasing perfection. I find the more pressure I place on myself with certain academic work, the worse my performance. Ironically, the fear of falling short of an impeccably high standard often hinders us in accomplishing a task or even starting it.
For the serial procrastinators, multi-tasking presents itself as an attractive solution, however instead of saving time, it often prolongs a task. Diverting our attention into too many streams may sacrifice the quality of our work, often leading us back to square one. The trap of mistaking breadth for depth in our work is common, because shallow skimming takes far less effort than the careful and tedious process that is learning.
Over and over again, we are told it’s all relative. Ten or twenty years from now we will not be left pondering how our lives would be different if we had received that extra percentile on an essay. Yet college students these days seem more stressed than ever, eager to prove their self worth through the means of a numerical grade point scale.
The UCD campus, in every sense of the word, is a bubble. You can live on campus, work on campus, buy food, workout, live and die on campus if you please. While this institution is a big part of me through my involvement in clubs, societies and my academic course – I refuse to let it swallow me whole. While I love my degree, I try and let it not define me as a person, and take advantage of all the opportunities to learn, both inside and outside the classroom.