By Jenalyn Camagong
Every beginning of the semester I tend to panic after looking at the pile of syllabi stacked in my folder. That panic is induced by the thought of all the work that needs to be done in the semester. No matter how many semesters I have gone through and completed victoriously, that feeling of being overwhelmed sets in. That overwhelming feeling comes from the thought of the time that needs to be dedicated to all this work and if it is even possible. And I tell myself it is possible.
A few weeks ago, I started my second out of three years in the MSW program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I decided to do the part time route because it allowed me to take on a full-time job then attend classes in the evening. My first year was not too bad at all, it was my second year I got really worried. I became worried because this time, I had to balance not just school and work but I had to squeeze in time for internship days. I recently started a job working with residentially challenged individuals, assisting folks with their legal matters and connecting them with service providers. It was a career that was rewarding and to have the thought of having to possibly quit my job broke my heart. I realized that I became worried about things that didn’t even happen yet. Guess what?! I didn’t need to quit my job and they worked around my schedule to let me go to school and do my internship. It was the most amazing feeling knowing that I still get to do what I love doing and continuing my education.
That overwhelming feeling started setting in again. My days begin before sunrise and staying at the office late. On other evenings, I’m attending classes. But then I start to remember stories of others handling and getting through their schedules, which is more intense than mine. I have a classmate who I met during my first semester of graduate school. My classmate has three children, a full-time job, and taking the full time route for the MSW program. Another inspiring person was my mom. When my sister and I were children, my mom had to handle a full-time job and was basically a single mom for four years while my dad was in the Philippines awaiting his visas to get to Hawaii. I became inspired by their stories and I told myself if they could do it, I have no excuses.
What helps me to keep on track with my schedule is a planner. I also utilize the calendar on my laptop that syncs with my cellphone so I’m constantly updating my schedule when things come up. This really helps me to keep my sanity. A planner helps me to spread time and dedicate time each day to work on an assignment rather than procrastinating. This helps me to see how my week will be in terms of school and work and the task that needs to be done.
I also dedicate time for self-care. The weekdays are so busy that I use my weekends to not only do homework, but also to take time to relax and recharge. This past summer, I got engaged and I find all the wedding planning to be therapeutic. Sometimes the wedding planning is an excuse to see my best friends for a cup of coffee or get ice cream. Having dinner with family or friends also helps to take my mind off of work and school. When I am stressed out, I take long walks with my dog. The weekend is also a time in which I can take care of my spiritual health and attend church on Sundays.
Time management is important as it allows you to organize your priorities and placing time frames on events and fitting others on your schedule. For me, it really helps writing it down on a planner because it allows me to see how my day, week, or month will look like. A planner also helps remind me of upcoming assignments, meetings, and birthdays or special events. Writing down my schedule on a planner also lets me see what type of self-care I can do at a certain weekend. An example would be going to the beach if I don't have a lot of assignments to accomplish on one weekend. Or if my weekend is filled with writing a paper, I’ll take time to browse through the internet for wedding ideas. In the midst of the having a crazy schedule, it is good to take time for yourself, to rejuvenate and to recharge. You totally deserve the “me time” to relax especially from working hard throughout the week. You’ve got this!