It is easy to forget that you are also attending school while you are on exchange through NSE. You are going to be taking classes, might have a job, and are trying to explore around the area and meet new people. Because of this, some people find their time on exchange to be a very busy time in their lives. This means that it is extremely important to master multitasking, staying organized, and to exercise your time-management skills.
I am a lot busier while on exchange at Sonoma State University than I have ever been in my life. I have a part-time job, internship, and classes to attend to each week. This can be quite stressful, but I have become good at multi-tasking. I have a job working with children on Sunday mornings at a local church. I always bring some homework to do if I may have a smaller group to supervise. This is how I have completed of my reading for my history class this semester. I work at the front desk of the Global Engagement Office for my internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If I am not helping students out or taking phone calls, I am working on this blog. When I am in class, I give my entire focus and attention to the lecture so that I do not have to do as much work outside of class. These are just a few of the things that I do to multi-task, which is essential with my busy schedule. Multitasking isn’t for everyone, and might not be possible with your activities, but if it is possible then I highly recommend taking advantage of it.
Because I am so busy this semester, I have to stay extremely organized. I do this by keeping a planner, a detailed calendar, and always having a clean space. Each day I write down the tasks and homework that I need to get done that day in my planner. Checking stuff off my planner once it is completed is one of the most satisfying things and makes me feel very good about myself. Along with a planner I have a very detailed calendar. This is where I put all of my events, trips, class schedule, work schedule, and any other thing that requires me to be at a certain place by a certain time. I use Google Calendar for this because I like having it online to easily edit and change things around if I need to. Lastly, having a clean space is one of the most important things in being productive. My room and especially my desk are always clean so I can really focus on the work I need to do. I also make my bed each morning when I wake up just to start my day with a clean and clear space and mind. I am sure there are some other organizational strategies that are very beneficial, but these are just the three that I use most often.
Time is limited, and we always seem to need more of it. Because of this, I have created some habits in my daily schedule that help me with time management as well as balancing my life. I was never a morning person before this year on exchange. Because of the demands of my schedule and activities I have had to adapt to getting up early and going to bed early. I find myself a lot more productive in the morning and seem to mentally check-out by 6:00 PM. I have adjusted to this by waking up at 6:00 AM every day I have classes and never sleeping in past 8:30 AM on weekends. This has allowed me to be more productive with my time. I also always make sure I get my 8 hours of sleep each night. I have also balanced my school and social life by dedicating Saturdays to be a fun day. This is when I go on adventures, hang out with friends, or do something fun. The rest of my weeks are devoted to school, work, and my internship. Having this balance and having a fun day to look forward to has really helped me make the most of my exchange in Northern Californian as well as staying on top of my work and school.
Although, living and attending school in a new place can be very exciting, you also have to realize that you are a college student. Because of this, it is extremely important to take advantage of moments you can multitask, perfect your organizational strategies, and stay on top of your time-management.
Submitted by Brandi Norum