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First things first, one of the most exciting things about being a student is that you’re so young — you literally have the rest of your adult life ahead of you! The most important thing to do in college is to learn about self-awareness, cultivate awareness, and overall just get to know yourself.
Figure out what makes you happy. What are your strengths? Your gifts? Your passions?
Once you figure these out, also know and accept that throughout your life, your strengths, gifts, passions, and things that you care about and make you happy with often change as you grow and go through different seasons of your life.
That being said, the best way to get through college and thrive is to take a moment to really write down these things that encompass who you are, and have self-awareness about why these things make you happy. Then, you will be able to create structures and routines that will support more time to do the things you love and you’re passionate about. I often say structure creates freedom.
I really believe that once we know the big picture of what we’re going after and what we’re trying to do, we can make a daily routine within a 24 hour period that will support the big picture. So all these micro actions that you do everyday such as exercising, sleeping, drinking water, stretching, and thinking positively are not in vain. It is these small actions that actually move you forward toward bigger passionate goals that are important to you.
College is an amazing playground where you can learn about what makes you happy and to do the things that make you happy.
Something that brings me happiness every day, and that I know a lot of colleges teach, is time blocking. This way to balance your time will help you to incorporate all of the things you want to do into your day-to-day life to keep working towards your bigger picture.
I wrote a more detailed description about time blocking here, but let me explain just a little. With this time management system, you usually block time for each activity the day before. For example, if today is Saturday, you would time block during the afternoon or evening for everything that you plan to do on Sunday. And time blocking isn’t just for the things you have to do, like work, studying, or classes — you can also time block really fun things you want to do with your friends, roommates, or whatever else you want to do!
I think that time blocking is so powerful; it is a great way to have a healthy balance of studying, working on projects, and doing things that make you passionate. Once you create a routine, schedule it all, and time block it all into your 24 hours, it will have a positive effect. It truly helps you to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually; it is all just about learning to manage your time.
Time is the great equalizer — it is the most powerful thing that is offered to us every day. The difference of how you feel by the end of your life will be based on how you maximized each 24 hour period that we all live as people. Did you incorporate a combination of joy, fun things you love to do, hard work, studying, and a bit of everything else wrapped into each day?
I truly believe that through time blocking, you can make time to take care of yourself as well. When you make time to stretch, exercise, sleep, study, pay attention to what you are eating, drinking water, chewing your food well and having good overall health, you’ll have more energy and more momentum to keep up with a daily routine that supports the big picture.
In college you may not know all the answers to your problems. You may not even know what you really want your career to be, or what you are going to do after college in general! But what I do know is putting in a lot of hard work, getting to know yourself, and having empathy for your fellow students will allow you to get answers over time. Time blocking creates momentum that allows you to be the cause of your life and not the effect.
I’d like to leave you with this: my one college “hack” is quite simple. Just say “hi” to everyone. Seriously! Whether this comes easy to you or may be a struggle, it only takes a moment to allow yourself to be open and say hello.
In my college years I always had someone to study with, go to lunch with, and to do fun things with because I always was the first person to say “hi” to everyone with a smile.
I hope that you make the most of your college experience and live your life to its fullest potential, day by day. By becoming aware of the things you care about, and taking the time to make sure that you spend your time wisely every day, I know that you will have an enjoyable and successful time this school year.
All the best,
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