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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Editorial: Time management is a leviathan to be worked around, not slain

Time-management skills: Some of us got ‘em, some of us don’t. In high school and the preceding years, time-management skills essentially boiled down to doing your menial homework assignments as soon as you got home (unless you had a job, in which case your life was made exponentially harder), and saving the hard studying and projects for the wee hours. If you were of a particularly anxious sort or prone to procrastination, the wee hours could mean as early (or late) as 5 a.m. As far as the weekend went, school was essentially a non-entity, at least until Sunday evening rolled around.

The foundation for a good work ethic and the capacity to manage your time is built during these years. You had to have managed your time to at least a degree of functionality, or else you wouldn’t be at UF reading this column.

However, even for the best of the best — and especially for the worst of the worst — college can present a challenge that may at times seem insurmountable. With our newfound independence comes new expectations and new avenues of opportunity, as well as the omnipresent burden that is keeping your GPA at a competitive level.

Perhaps more than any other time in our lives, college pulls our hearts, minds and bodies in disparate directions, stretching out our respective degrees of commitment in our lives until something or other inevitably gives out. Some prioritize their personal health and fitness over having several extracurricular activities; others sacrifice a fulfilling social life in order to build their resumes and ensure that their future is as bright as can be; others simply get lost in the Midtown malaise and drop out after several consecutive semesters of wanton hedonism.

Regardless of the path one chooses, the very act of choosing itself represents a critical moment in our lives. Yes, it almost certainly sucks: If it were up to all of us, UF (and American colleges at large) would be populated by nothing but in-shape individuals who manage to not only eat, exercise and study well, but party like there’s no tomorrow while somehow making fat stacks in the process. But alas, most of us can’t have both the chiseled frame of Adonis and the learned wisdom of Athena (but for those of you who can, for God’s sake let us in on your secret).

Making smart choices and prioritizing are, if not the cornerstone of good time management, certainly a critical piece of the clock-shaped puzzle. Although it may seem awful now (because it is), college gives us an opportunity to figure out where our priorities lie, whether that’s through failing to address some of them or realizing where our passions lie.

A simplistic and shallow message for an editorial? Perhaps, but consider this: Would you rather develop those skills now while you’re in school and have the room to bomb an exam or two, or would you prefer to learn them when you have multiple mouths to feed and a job on the line? If college is a trial by fire, then the real world is a trial by hibachi grill fueled by the Olympic flame.

Time management, like anything else, is a skill that comes with time, repetition and innumerable instances of failure and disappointment. Stressful as it may be, look at college as an opportunity to refine that skill rather than decry it for being so damn hard.

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