For College Students: Taking “I am very busy” with a pinch of salt

It is all too common to hear “I am very busy; I don’t have enough time” from college students as an easy excuse for not doing more. I was the same, and I seriously believed that I was busy. I also used the excuse to justify not being able to keep in touch with family members (who are spread out all over the world), going to the gym (I need to gain muscle/weight) or a couple of other things. Last semester was very different when I decided to do as much as I could possibly get my hands on. Apart from being a full-time student with an 18-credit course load, I worked part-time for 20 hours a week at a Fortune 500 company, was the President of the Debate Club and participated in a debate tournament, lead my intramural soccer team to the finals eventually losing out on penalty shootout, became a co-organizer for a meetup group, worked on my senior thesis, lead the team for the CFA Institute research Challenge and also worked on a startup idea (which we have now scrapped). Since it is winter break at the moment, except for having no classes and no intramural soccer, I am still involved with everything else I mentioned above. Having done all of that, I have learnt a great deal of what I am capable of. Here are a few lessons learnt, in no particular order:

  1. You can always juggle a lot of things if you really want to. The quality of work might not be as good as you would like it to be. However, it is possible to do much more than you think you have time for.
  2. I learnt more about myself and also realized how I previously was inefficient in managing my time properly. So pushing yourself will help you figure out manage your time better, especially when you need to be efficient.
  3. I work better away from the place I live at and need a place which is “for work”. I have finally figured out options and go there if I feel I need to focus on something.
  4. You can always find time for something, unless it is a long-time commitment. However, when you know that you want to commit yourself to a project, you can either finish up other projects or let go of the ones that are not as important to you anymore.
  5. Even though the quality of my work has suffered, it has now enabled me to figure out what is the most important project for me, focus on that moving forward and let go of those which do not add a lot value any more.
  6. Trying my hands at a lot of things also allowed me to explore and learn many things in a short period. The last 6 months has been a great learning experience.
  7. Finally, the most important one is learning to apply myself and coming up with results that I can show for my effort. I had problem with execution, and have learnt to overcome that by just applying myself and getting a result in what I am doing.
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