Honor Your (Over)commitment

mack
credit: http://www.psych2go.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/stress.jpg

By: Mackenzie Liberatori, Account Associate for Penn State Residential Dining

The second wind that a new semester affords us can sometimes be paired with a set of unrealistic expectations regarding our availabilities and levels of enthusiasm for the for the next fifteen weeks. Picking up those two internships in addition to your coursework seemed like awesome idea on the first week of school. So did adding that accounting class you needed onto your existing sixteen credits of scheduled classes; joining four new student organizations and committing to extra hours at work to top it off (or drive the proverbial nail into the coffin). The lingering threat of overcommitting yourself at a university with 40,000 students, 1,072 clubs and organizations, and a decent academic workload may seem almost unavoidable, and we’ve all understandably fallen victim to this plight at some point in our academic careers. So what exactly do you do if you’re overcommitted and kicking yourself for it?

You can start by refusing to let your hectic schedule discourage you. This is especially important during the mid-semester slump when you’re likely subsisting off of anything caffeinated at arm’s length and the blocks on your day planner may as well be colored in. Approach each of your commitments with a positive attitude and trust in your capabilities. Even faking enthusiasm to a degree can make meeting a deadline that much easier.

It is also important to bear in mind that a packed schedule does not justify sloppy or late work. Consistency is considered an asset to your academic and professional success. With that said, take pride in your work and make quality a priority rather than quantity. It is always okay to ask for help or give notice in advance if you know that you are truly not capable of meeting a certain deadline and subsequently prevent any last minute mishaps.

To prevent overcommitting yourself in the first place, it is necessary to develop proper time management skills. Be realistic. If you always seem to get caught up with obscene amounts of work that impair your ability to focus on anything clearly – let alone multitask – it’s time to stop making the excuse that you ‘work well under pressure’ and invest serious time and effort into scheduling yourself. Time management skills are certainly not easy to acquire and necessitate the complete overhaul of how you spend your day – blocking out hours depending on the volume of your weekly workload. They also involve much trial and error and utilizing past slip-ups as motivation to improve. However, the development of these skills are vital to any profession post-grad and should absolutely be developed sooner rather than later.

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