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January 25, 2011

Exhaustion! Or, How to Survive an Overscheduled Life

Those of us at CWRU who are members of Greek Life are either just coming out of or still deep in the throes of recruitment season. What this means for most people (including me) is a whole lot of things to do outside of class, maintaining a cheery and friendly disposition around campus (in spite of homework, gross weather, or general lack of caffeine), and the bone-deep tiredness that comes with a day of meeting 20 to 30 girls or a week of meeting and getting to know the best guys.

What it means for me, in addition, is a whole lot of thought about time management. It's a skill that I didn't have a whole lot of upon coming to college, since most of it was done for me. I had to be certain places at certain times and homework was one of those things that just had to be done. Rarely was I considering the daunting task of event planning or weighing the pros and cons of missing a day of school to catch up on work. High school doesn't exactly work that way.

College is a weird beast, because it might work that way, depending on who you are. If you're like most Case students I know, you'll have more on your plate than you had ever anticipated by the time spring semester of your freshman year rolls around. And sophomore year? You can't even imagine.

So time management becomes crucial. For the sake of managing my time (and yours), here's a quick list of my best tips for time management when you've got too much work and play and general madness to shake a stick at.

1. You are a student first. Repeat this mantra to yourself daily. No matter how much you want to take on three officer positions AND sit on four exec boards AND play IM sports AND write for the Observer AND become a prolific Humans Vs Zombies player, you are still here for school. Remember that every time you tell someone (including yourself) that yes, of course you can take on three new projects. Maybe you can, but if your school work suffers for it, it's time to step back. Which leads me into my next point...

2. Don't be afraid to say no. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. You can't do everything, as much as you'd like to. It is okay to say no to people occasionally when they ask you to do things. Don't get yourself in over your head.

3. Prioritize. Know what's important to you, and stick to it. If you let small things sidetrack you, it can get in the way of bigger goals and dreams.

4. Plan. If you don't know how to time manage, the best way to start is to sit down and plan what you will do at what time. Even if you don't finish exactly according to your schedule, having a goal for projects will motivate you to complete them, and give you a better idea of how much time it takes to do the things you need to do.

5. Make time for you, your friends, your family, etc. As counterintuitive as this may sound, you need time off. You need to be able to blow off some steam by doing low-pressure things like hanging out with friends, watching a movie, or doing something for the fun of it (reading, I'm lookin' at you). If every single minute of every single day is spent working and pushing and striving, you will get burnt out. Seriously.
Note: It's important that this step be guilt-free. It won't help if your time off is spent worrying about the fact that you're taking time off.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to spend some time with a good book, some cocoa, and my cozy bed. 100% Stress Free.

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January 24, 2011

G(r)eek

Rush is awesome. Not only do we get to spend $4000 on random people, but for the first two weeks of every semester, you get to indulge on free food and free events with pretty awesome people. Everyone becomes surprisingly social and the campus seems to grow livelier despite the 10 degree weather. However, being a nursing major while working two jobs, you kind of have to stay in when everyone goes out. It’s not the best feeling in the world when you are responsible for being enthusiastic about all the events in your Facebook messages (that’s my job as Public Relation’s Chair) when you know that you’ll have to spend the rest of the night reading about the immune system. Yes, I live a sad, sad life, but the thing that I took from this situation is the importance of priorities. Of course different people have different priorities, but I always focus on my grades. I’m attending (and not to mention paying for) one of the top universities in the nation, so I better make the most of it. My fraternity is important to me, but not as important as my grades, which is why I plan on staying in when my other fraternity brothers will be passing out bids to the men that we want in our fraternity. There will always be more rushes, but there will always be one GPA. Call me a party pooper, but I definitely value my education at Case.

On the flip-side, there will be people who will choose social events over academics. There will be people who go out clubbing on Thursday nights at Barroom, and there will be people pulling all-nighters in the study rooms. My point is Case is a place where you will find your niche no matter what the situation. You can set your own priorities and find people who have similar view and values.

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January 17, 2011

From Costa Rica to Amsterdam

As a new semester beings, I can't help but think about how amazing winter break was. Usually, winter break is spent staring at my computer, bored out of my skull, waiting for something to happen. This was not the case. My family and I went to Costa Rica for a week. The trip was nothing short of AMAZING. We traveled throughout the country stopping by key tourist areas along the way. We saw one of the rarest birds in the country and got to experience the unique wildlife. However, the thing that made my trip so memorable was the fact that I got to get so much closer with my younger brother. Being 6 years younger than me, we don’t really have much in common. Yet, for some reason, we started talking a lot more. I could finally relate to his experiences in middle school, and we started playing the same video games.
How does this relate to CASE? Well, the first point I wanted to make was about traveling. Going to Costa Rica helped me realize how much I loved learning new things outside of the class room, and what better way to do so than to study abroad. With that being said, I decided to go on a trip to Amsterdam to learn about social justice. I'm extremely excited for the trip because I'm also going with a few of my fraternity brothers. This leads me to my second point: The more time you spend with those that you want to become close with, the easier it'll be to achieve your goal. I always wanted to be closer with my brothers. I wanted those "life-long friends" that so many people say Greek Life has helped them achieve. Yet, living out of house along with a busy schedule hasn't helped at all. That's why I'm so excited for this spring break because I'll be able spend a whole week with a few of my brothers outside of the country. This combination of brotherhood with experiential learning is something that I never thought could go together. Yet, here, it's really not that hard to get a few of your brothers to accompany you to a different country. Study abroad is also extremely popular among students, which makes it even easier to travel with your friends. I’m totally looking forward to three easy credit hours while not only enjoying what I learn, but making memories with fraternity brothers. Spring break 2011, here we come.

Here are some of the photos that I took in Costa Rica:

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January 16, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again!

And we're back! In class, that is. And to blogging. It seems like it's been an eternity since I've last written a post, but it's amazing how busy you get during finals season.

So far my classes seem really good. My Monday and Wednesdays are pretty light. I'm taking the following:

M/W:
Hatha Yoga
Quantitative Methods in Psychology

I took yoga spring semester of last year and am really glad to get back to it again. It's such a stress reducer! The second course is a mized bag of research design, statistics, and other fun stuff for psych majors and others alike. It's taught by the head of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Dr. Lee Thompson. So far it seems pretty straightforward, and the information is a great foundation for future research. I just hope my book gets here in time to do the homework! (Sometimes ordering from places like Amazon is super slow. It might be good to order early, buy from the bookstore, or borrow from a friend)

Tuesday and Thursday are jam-packed, but I have some of my favorite classes. I'm taking:

T/Th:
Social Psychology
Drugs and Youth
Colors, Capes, and Characters (a comic book SAGES course!!!)

Social Psych has been excellent so far. I've heard (horror?) stories about it being a lot of work, to keep up with the readings, and to always go to class. Granted, it's only been a week, but I kind of feel like those things are things you should be doing anyway. Either way, the material is fascinating, and I'm very excited for it.

Drugs and Youth promises to be really cool. It's a small, discussion-based class in the Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences. It's only twenty people or so, but we've already delved into big topics like why people are motivated to use drugs, what drugs do to you, and what implications that has for society. Pretty heavy stuff.

And finally. My favorite thing ever. Seriously, I'm so excited about this last class. I'm the first person to tell you, I'm definitely a geek. There's no way around it. I like comic books. A lot. And so when looking for my last University Seminar to take in the SAGES track, I knew it had to be this course. We read comics (some old, some new) and discuss them critically, in many ways like any other literary medium, but with its own unique characteristics. In other words, it's TOTALLY AWESOME! We started the class by talking about how crazy/weird/cool it is to have a periodical, paper medium that uses staples as the binding. And it's taught by Brad Ricca. He's a pretty cool guy (and also my sorority's faculty advisor).

And possibly the best part of the semester? I have Fridays off. Yes, that little beautiful moment was brought to you by my own desire to have some time to breathe. And it's wonderful. Last Friday? I woke up at a decent hour, ate a real breakfast (oatmeal! eggs! juice!), went to work out at Carlton Commons, and caught up on emails and responsibilities for my office in Sigma Psi. All of this while not having to worry about class. It was wonderful.

I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday season, and that the beginnings of 2011 are treating you well, too!

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