Student Life

Busy-ness Survival Guide

Learn how one McIntire student balances the rigor of the Commerce curriculum with personal goals while maintaining friendships along the way.

As the semester gets closer and closer to the end, I often hear the same word as I’m walking through the halls: busy. Everyone is busy, everyone has a bit too much on their plate, and we all could use a little more sleep each night. It’s an unfortunate reality as exams get closer, and it’s easy to let our busy schedules become all-consuming. But, because I am a fourth-year (which practically makes me an expert at most things), I have a few tips that I live by to help me get through those tough times.

Make a list of non-negotiables.

My list of non-negotiables has been something that I’ve been using since my second year — and cannot imagine living without them. Before each semester, I brainstorm a list of things I want to do outside of the classroom. The list has varied in length depending on the semester, but this list has become my non-negotiables — things that no matter how busy I get, I will still make time to do. As an example, I signed up to run a marathon this past October. This significant time commitment required me to step away from the books for at least an hour each day. It became my fall 2019 non-negotiable, and I am so thankful I had it. It forced me to make time for myself and to take a break from my day-to-day obligations. While not all my non-negotiables are so extreme (or time-consuming), I recommend you find what yours are — and make a serious effort to make them a priority no matter how busy you get.

Schedule something fun — every week.

Let’s face it, Mondays are tough. Each semester, they seem to be the busiest day of the week, and the day I look forward to least. But last spring, my friends and I decided to make Mondays a little less…terrible. We didn’t have a set plan for how we were going to do this, but we started with a Monday night dinner all together last January. Next thing we knew, this had become a tradition we couldn’t live without — Monday night dinner all together. We didn’t have a set place — sometimes we even ordered takeout. But it was something I looked forward to and made my Monday better every week. Whether it is a Monday night dinner, an extra dessert each Monday, or maybe even a quick 30-minute nap each Monday, I encourage you to find something on Monday, no matter how small, that you can wake up looking forward to that day.

Put everything in perspective — yes, everything.

To quote my mom, my grandma, and likely a lot of your parents too, “Don’t wish your life away.”

My mom tells me this way too frequently, but yet it’s always a lesson I seem to miss. Honestly, there have been several weeks during my tenure at UVA that I have wished would have ended sooner rather than later. We inevitably have these weeks. But every time I do this, I question why I had this mentality and couldn’t look past the short-term struggle I was facing. Now that I am an old fourth-year, I wish I had been able to see just how lucky I was, and how even during the tough moments, I was living in a time that I would look back on fondly for the rest of my life. I encourage you to take a step back every time you get stressed over a looming deadline, exam, or interview. Try to appreciate even the busiest of moments, and find a little joy in every situation.

Get important admissions news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.