When friends, grandparents or recruiters find out that I work 50 hours a week, I usually get asked if my schoolwork suffers.
The answer: Not this semester.
I can’t say that’s always been the case. I’ve had semesters at the Alligator when my schoolwork has definitely suffered as a result of spending too much time in the newsroom.
When I announced via Twitter that I was the managing editor for fall and that I wanted to keep my GPA up, I got encouraging (and semi-encouraging) replies from Pat Thornton and Kevin Koehler, fellow young journalists. But I don’t know that I actually believed I could do it.
This semester, I’m not having the low grades problem, despite spending more time in the newsroom than ever. I have a chance at pulling all A’s for the first time in college.
I’m honestly not sure how I do it, but here are the things I consciously do to give my life some semblance of order.
- I don’t sleep (sorry, Mom). Actually, I do sleep, but I do it on a rigid schedule. I have class at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I get to sleep in on Tuesday and Thursday. I wake up for class and I stay up the rest of the day. It’s not fun, but it’s what I do if I want to get anything done.
- I use my weekends. Saturday is the only real day of my weekend — since I work on Sunday and have class on Friday — but it’s the day I usually spend doing homework and other necessary tasks, like occasionally cleaning my room. I don’t have much time during the week, so if I have a huge test or project due, I try to get the studying or research done on Saturday.
- I have a pretty easy class schedule. You do need to plan in order to take on a full-time job like managing editor. I’m only taking four classes, and two of those have a reputation of being fairly easy. I hand-picked my classes with the goal of working at the Alligator this semester.
- I don’t question myself. I’ve got a strict no-panic policy. Every morning, I wake up assuming I’ll be able to do everything I need to do that day. I’m a perfectionist and a little obsessive; it goes against my nature to work this way. But I have to work with the schedule I have, not the unlimited schedule I wish I had. Somehow, I get everything done. I’m writing this blog post in between doing the calendar for tomorrow’s paper and editing the opinion section. I don’t make to-do lists — those just make me waste time freaking out about assignments due two months down the road. I’m trying to take each moment as it comes while always being aware of what I have to do. So far, it’s working out well for me.