College offers a world of opportunities, but trying to keep up with your grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain a healthy social life is overwhelming. You want to make sure you don’t overschedule yourself; doing so can lead to burnout, fatigue, and more serious health issues. Here are some tips on how to prevent overscheduling yourself while in college.


Set Priorities

Setting priorities — for both academic and non-academic commitments — will help you tremendously. You’ll want to have an academic plan that outlines what courses you need to take. Before each semester, make sure to review your academic plan so that you schedule your classes appropriately. This is especially important if you choose to work part time or participate in extracurricular activities.

Next, you’ll want to review your non-academic commitments or other areas of your life that you value such as family, personal finances, and free time. Once you’ve considered your non-academic responsibilities, set priorities for them and compare them with your academic responsibilities. Now, set realistic priorities that allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your life. Make sure you’ve left yourself some downtime. Remember that if you have to squeeze something into your schedule, you need to either remove that task or rearrange your priorities.

Keep a Calendar

Try using a physical calendar like a planner to maintain your schedule. Using a physical calendar might sound pre-historic to most millennials, but think about using something visual that outlines your life laid out in front of you. You can see what you have to do on Monday and Friday all in one view. With a physical calendar, you can also write notes or reminders in the margins, which you can’t do with calendar applications on smartphones and other electronic devices.

Master Multitasking

If you thought you were a master at multitasking while in high school, then college will test those skills. In fact, multitasking will help you survive while in college.  However, multitasking requires practice, and certain activities are easier to balance than others. For example, if you ride the bus or train around campus, you can open up your notebook and study your notes during your commute. Texting during class, on the other hand, isn’t such a great idea because it interferes with your learning.

Schedule Some Downtime

When setting priorities and creating your calendar, be sure you schedule some downtime. Set aside a block of time on your calendar that is just for you, and don’t alter it under any circumstances. You’ll eventually become an expert at telling people no when they ask you to do something else. You can spend this time alone or enjoy a night on the town with friends. 

Every college student has felt stressed out for many reasons, but you can avoid stress from overscheduling. College is a busy time, but setting priorities and filling your calendar wisely is going to reduce stress levels. So, leave yourself time for mental breaks; your physical and mental health will thank you.

Attending college is a personal and financial investment into your future. College is the time to develop personal and professional skills that eventually mold your marketable or “transferable” skills. These skills will help you further down the road when you finish school and enter the workplace. By identifying and strengthening your abilities, you can get a jump-start in the job market.

What Are Transferable Skills?   

Transferable skills are those qualities, talents and personal attributes that most employers want to see. You’ll develop these skills during your college years when you do internships, complete academic projects, and participate in campus activities. For example, communication, organizational, interpersonal, and leadership abilities are transferable skills because they show an employer how valuable you are. In fact, if you’re applying for a job that you have no experience in, transferable skills can show that you can do the job. 

Skills You May Already Have

When you think about your communication skills, ask yourself how strong your public speaking skills are and if you’re able to coherently articulate your thoughts. Not only are your verbal skills essential, but your nonverbal skills are critical, too. For example, how well do you write or edit? When you consider your organizational skills, think about your ability to multitask, set deadlines and follow through. If you want to assume a leadership role after college, think about your ability to delegate, build teams, and resolve conflict. 

If you’ve identified that you lack in some of the above abilities, there are some actions you can take to improve those skills while you’re in college.

How to Boost Your Transferable Skills 

To expand your communication skills while in college, you can participate in classroom presentations or become a member of the drama club or debate team. You can also take part in internships and take advantage of opportunities that allow you to present to your co-workers.

You can boost your organizational skills, ability to multitask, and time-management skills by doing other projects in addition to your classroom projects. For example, you might have a semester-long math project and an organization at your school that’s asking for volunteers for a project. That would be an opportune time to improve your transferable skills.

Finally, you can strengthen your leadership skills by participating as the team lead on group projects. Perhaps you can take on the role of president in one of your school’s student organizations. You can also participate in activities outside of school, like becoming a board member for a local charity. How well you communicate your transferable skills on your resume and during a job interview will be the key factors to landing that position.

So, remember the old saying that we have to crawl before we can walk. At some point, we’ve all had to experience our first job. College is the time for you to learn who you are and to develop yourself professionally. But, your marketable skills will play a vital role in your future success, and building them starts before you enter the workforce.

It feels like you’ve been staring at the same blank document for hours, yet inspiration just won’t come. Few things are as frustrating as a case of writer’s block. It can strike at any time, especially when you’re afraid of failure, feeling stressed or tired, or suffering from the effects of conditions including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety. However, there are some ways to combat the problem and kick writer’s block to the curb.

Create an Outline

Many of us have writer’s block because we know what we want to write, but we aren’t sure how to write it. We agonize over the details, and that prevents us from moving forward. If you relate to this search for perfectionism, you may benefit from creating an outline.

An outline can give you a template for your writing. It doesn’t need to be perfect, and that can be very freeing. Note the points you want to write about, any quotations you will use, and the information you’ll include in your introduction and conclusion. With this outline as a guide, you’ll find it easier to flesh out your writing.

Take a Break, but Avoid Procrastinating

Sitting at your computer willing the right words to come can quickly become frustrating. In these instances, you need to break the cycle to break your writer’s block. Walk away from your screen and try to focus on something else. Going for a walk, watching a favorite TV program, or indulging in a creative passion like painting or baking can give your brain a rest and help it recharge.

Just make sure you don’t break for too long and start procrastinating. It’s important to give yourself enough time to work through your ideas and come up with the best paper you can.

Work the Problem Through With a Tutor

Tutors can help you tackle all kinds of academic problems, including beating writer’s block. When a nasty case strikes, schedule a meeting with your tutor. Talk about the problems you’re facing and what you want to express in your writing. Your tutor can help you organize your thoughts and develop them in your writing. He or she may also review your work after you’re finished. Knowing that another set of eyes will assess your work before you submit it can ease some of the pressure you feel and help you beat that writer’s block.

Just Start Writing

Stop second-guessing yourself and let the words flow. Imagine you needed to stand up and present a speech on your topic now. Write down the words you would use. Don’t worry about whether they’re formal enough or technical enough. The important thing is to simply get them down. You can go back and edit your work later. As you start to write, you’ll likely find the writer’s block fading away and your confidence growing. You might even be surprised to find the words you wrote when you were feeling blocked aren’t as bad as you imagined.

When writer’s block strikes, take a deep breath and put these steps into place. It shouldn’t take long before your creative juices are flowing again.