Balancing Life, School and Other Activities in MIM

By Jake Culian

One of the most challenging parts of the MIM program is just how fast it goes.  This week is our finals week and February isn’t even over yet.  Needless to say it kind of feels like everyone is sprinting around here so I wanted to talk a little bit about time management and stress relief.  The first thing to know about MIM is that there is always something you could be doing.  There are projects for Operational Management, studying Chinese, endless amounts of reading and many wonderful events that the SBA offers http://www.pdx.edu/sba/events .  The first step to surviving the madness is organizing everything.  Personally I like writing it down so I picked up a large desk calendar and wrote out all the assignments, projects, tests and events that I need to take care of for the entire quarter.  This way I know what’s coming ahead of time and if anything new comes up it goes on the calendar.  It takes an hour or so but in return you always know what you need to take care of.

Now that you know when everything is due the biggest piece of advice I have is stay on top of it.  Many of us like to procrastinate, but this is a great way to get completely overrun.  For example yesterday we had 5 assignments due and we have final exams today and tomorrow.  By taking care of assignments sooner rather than later you can stay more relaxed and actually sleep some every night.

MIM Students and instructors at the MIM Chinese New Year Party

MIM Students and instructors at the MIM Chinese New Year Party

There are some day’s when everything stakes up against you and you just have to prioritize.  Prioritization is key skill to learn and with it you can make sure that the things that really need to get done are finished on time.  We can receive hundreds of pages of reading a week and it’s always important to take the time to actually finish it, but if you need to choose between reading and finishing off a couple assignment, finish the assignments first and read as you can.  It’s also good to remember that you can negotiate with professors.  They aren’t mind readers and don’t know everything that’s happening in your other classes.  If you’ve got a bunch of stuff coming due at the same time it can really pay off when the class asks for an extension, just don’t abuse the privilege.

Finally it’s always good to take some time off.  Eventually you can just run out of steam and trying to study for another hour just isn’t worth as much.  That’s the time to put away the books and go do something physical.  My personal favorite stress relief activities are running and dancing.  Portland has a lovely waterfront park which is great for walking, breathing some fresh air and letting things go for a bit.  Portland also has a fantastic array of dance venues which are within walking distances of school as well as classes offered through the recreational center.  For those of you interested in picking up a social dance I highly recommend checking out http://www.portlanddancing.com/ .  So remember organize, don’t procrastinate, prioritize, and find some time to relax.

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Filed under MIM Survival Guide, Student Life

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