How I Survived My First Semester

With my second semester fast approaching, I thought this would be a good time to review my first semester of library school. I work full-time and was taking two classes so I knew time would be tight. In March I began a part-time job as an Archives Assistant and my free time shrunk even more.

I had some goals in mind before the semester started. Below I’ve listed these hopes and dreams along with how they actually worked out.

I will read every bit of every assigned reading, even the recommended ones. I want to take advantage of my opportunity to the fullest! I will start every assignment early and leave nothing to the last minute.

That lasted maybe three weeks. By the middle of the semester I was skimming only the most important articles and gleaning information I needed from chapter headings and final summaries. I spent my weekends catching up as best as I could. It worked out okay for the most part as I did well in both classes.

I will not let the grind of work, classes, and homework derail my exercise and fitness plans in any way!

I’m a pretty active person and I work out 5-6 times a week. Or, I did. I stuck to this goal until I began the Archives Assistant job. Between that and school I had three out of five weekdays where I’d leave my house at 6:00 am and not get home until 9:00 or 10:00 pm. I didn’t beat myself up too much over this. I still got in 3-4 workouts a week. Okay, most of the times it was three, not four. But still, not bad. I know me and I know if I didn’t get at least that much I would be miserable and my body would feel pretty miserable too. Plus, exercising is a great energy boost and since I didn’t do so well on the next goal I needed all the help I could get.

Sleep is important and I will never let myself get less than seven hours.

Yeah… Sleep is super important and I know that and everyone knows that. But sometimes if I didn’t get home until 10:00pm and had to get up at 5:00am the next morning and I still had to make and eat dinner and get a load of laundry in and clean the litter box and get lunch ready for the next day and… and… and. I did the best I could. I’m not one of those people who brags about how little sleep I can get by on. My minimum for feeling my best is eight hours a night. Fridays were very rough for me as the lack of sleep built up throughout the week and by the time I got off work around 8:00pm I felt like a zombie. On the plus side I saved money by being too exhausted to go out on Friday nights.

I will eat healthy and nutritious food and won’t let my packed days be an excuse to backslide into quick and easy junk food.

I give myself a draw on this one. I reached for peanut M&Ms much too often for a quick boost but I never went through a drive-thru. On my long nights I did pretty well on packing a decent snack to tide me over. Triscuits became my best friend. On weekends I’d try to get caught up and cook ahead for a week or more. I’d freeze individual portions of soup or a healthy casserole that I could just grab on my way to work. This helped me avoid (most of the time) grabbing a cheesesteak from the cafeteria just for convenience’s sake.

I will give myself some slack on the housework and not stress over a messy house.

This one wasn’t too hard to implement. I have a friend who cannot go to sleep if there are dishes in the sink. I am not that person. I’m ignoring dishes in the sink right now as I write this post. But it was impressive how the closer I got to a paper’s deadline or a test date, the cleaner my house got. Procrastination in homework really makes a house sparkle.

So I wasn’t perfect in achieving my goals but I did okay. I would like more time for a social life and more time for reading for pleasure but I felt like that even before I started school. I’ll keep the same goals for the next semester- maybe I’ll learn some magic ways to tweak time and get everything done.

Have you had your grand plans upended by the grind of daily life? How did you handle it?

Feature photo by Brian Stimson and used under the Creative Commons license.

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