As active college students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, it seems like life just keeps getting busier and busier. It’s a constant struggle to juggle academics, work, clubs, and a social life. I often find myself facing some serious choices when it comes to prioritizing. So it got me wondering, is being busy a healthy thing?
According to a World Psychology article by Dr. John Grohol, the CEO and founder of Psych Central and an author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, yes.
“In two experiments with college students, researchers discovered that we can be happy doing nothing at all and remaining idle,” Grohol said. “But given even the slimmest of reasons to be busy doing something, and most people will opt for doing something over nothing. The researchers also found that people were happier when they were busy, even if they were forced into busyness.”
To further my investigation I needed to find a really busy college student. I found second-year biology major Danielle Butler, who is currently taking 16 units this quarter, is on the crew team, and volunteers at Cottage Hospital as well as at another clinic.
Q: It always seems like I nearly go crazy every time finals come around. How do you deal with finals while juggling your busy schedule?
A: When finals come around, I know that I study and focus better later in the day so I try to do everything else that I need to do in the mornings so that later in the day I can focus on studying for exams. I also take advantage of any breaks in between classes during Dead Week to do what I need to do.
Q: Would you rather be really busy or have very little to do?
A: It may sound strange, but I’d rather be very busy. I like having different things to do!
Q: How do you draw the line between too many things to do and what’s manageable? How do you know when a person is taking on too many things?
A: It took me a while to learn this one. I have always been the type of person to have several things on my plate…but in college I had to learn that you can’t always do everything. At the beginning of fall quarter, there were a bunch of things that I wanted to do so I attended all the meetings and from there I figured out what I had time for and unfortunately, I had to cut some things out of my schedule. It’s hard to do initially but I have found that I can give more time to what I have to do and it’s much more enjoyable! Once you start to dread what you’re doing, whether it’s volunteering or attending a club, or once it becomes a hassle to attend something consistently, that’s where I would draw the line. Pick the things you love.
Q: I feel like college makes a person really appreciate the commodity of time. Do you agree?
A: I completely agree. Especially being on the quarter system, things go into full swing straight away. Week one starts off and before you know it, midterms roll around weeks 3 or 4 in some classes. And with things outside school it’s the same way. One weekend may not work, so you say you’ll go next weekend, and then exams or just life in general gets in the way and before you know it, spring quarter comes around and you’re left wondering where the school year went!
Q: Any last tips on juggling a busy schedule for your peers who are clearly in desperate need for some super advice?
A: My biggest tips are just to take care of yourself and then to prioritize your time as well as organize your schedule. If it means buying post-its or a planner to plan out your day, do it! You’ll find that once you write down a list in the morning and check it throughout the day, you’ll start to get more done on time and you won’t forget to do things. Always carry around granola bars or snacks in your backpack or purse in case you need to stay on campus longer than you thought, and make sure that you still have time to eat and sleep and enjoy college!
According to an article titled “Keeping Busy is Good For You” by WholeHealth Chicago, “People essentially like being busy, even doing ‘busy work,’ if there’s some gain somewhere, whether it’s candy, a paycheck, a clean house, or money raised for a charitable cause. Clearly there’s a happy medium here. Protracted idleness likely can lead to depression, but stress-producing busyness isn’t a good idea either. You can work on your job and be an active volunteer for good causes, but being Mother Theresa on speed doesn’t help anybody.”
For more tips on time management attend the CLAS workshops as listed on their schedule http://clas.sa.ucsb.edu/schedule/AcademicSkillsWorkshops.pdf