"Dear Expie" is a semi-weekly, anonymous column answering student questions. This week, Expie answers questions about managing time and studying abroad. If you’ve got a burning question for Expie, email ExponentOpinion@montana.edu. All submissions remain anonymous.
I’m a freshman, and second semester is really rough. These first few weeks have been so busy, and I’m feeling overwhelmed with work and school. I never seem to have time to hang out with my friends or do anything fun. How do I manage my time better?
- All Out of Time
Dear All Out,
Time management is key to college success. Personally, my planner is the only reason I’m still alive. I strongly suggest picking up your own planner and writing down every assignment, shift, and commitment that you have on each day so you have a clear idea of what you need to do.
Next (and this part is really important), do those things. Don’t procrastinate or put off your work because you feel overwhelmed by it. Once you start on something, it always becomes less daunting, whether it’s a school paper or a long shift at work.
However, don’t let your schedule turn into nothing but soul-draining drudgery. Even if you feel like you don’t have time for it, keep your days balanced. Make sure that you take study breaks and do some fun activities like spending time with friends. It will make you more joyful, more relaxed and overall more productive.
If you really can’t fit a movie with friends or a dinner out with your significant other into your schedule, then you should consider dropping a few credits or working less. No degree or job is worth months of constant anxiety and stress.
I’m thinking about studying abroad next semester. I think it would be a great experience, and I know I would have fun. But it’s really scary to think about living in a different country thousands of miles away from all of my friends and family. Should I go for it or stay here at MSU.
- Living in Limbo
The short answer is yes, you should go for it. The long answer comes mostly from my friends and professors, who constantly advocate for studying abroad. Apparently, it’s practically required to graduate with a history degree from this institution.
Studying abroad gives you a brand new perspective. Wherever you go, it will be completely different from the United States. You’ll learn a crazy amount about how the people of other cultures live, and you might even understand the U.S. a little better.
You’ll also meet a whole bunch of awesome new people. Going to a new place and making new friends is always scary, but it’s also an incredible experience. Plus, you get to say that you have friends overseas, which gives you so many cool points.
Worst case scenario, you get lonely. Don’t forget that modern technology exists. You can always call, text, Snapchat, Facetime, Skype, email, and otherwise communicate with your friends back home in Montana. You’ll never be completely alone.
If you want to learn more about what studying abroad is like, check out the Exponent e-editions online at our website msuexponent.com for Rob Jump’s article “What the Hell Am I Doing Here?” and Shelby Morris’ article “A Semester Abroad.” Good luck with your journey!