Better ways to cope with a ‘hellish’ schedule


Man stressed on an overloaded schedule. Photo credit: Diego Ramirez

It is only the third week of classes, yet many students are feeling overwhelmed. Student rates of stress, anxiety and depression are only increasing with every year. It is a fact that college students have more pressure put on them to perform better than ever.

Just last week, I cried in a busy restaurant about my schedule and many other duties. It made me decide to change the way I look at school. I can’t change how many professors view their classes or how my schoolwork bleeds into everything else I need to get done. However, I can change how I treat myself and deal with the things that come at me.

Firstly, no one can be perfect all the time. It is not a matter of if but when one will find themselves completely overloaded. The best thing to do is to go through each day, getting done what one sanely can. There are only 24 hours in a day. After sleep and rest, one normally only has twelve hours to do what they will with. And in that twelve hours less than eight of it should be spent working on something.

In an article by Lisa Evans, published in FastCompany, she gives three tips for elevating productivity throughout the day. Schedule breaks into your calendar. No one should be focusing on anything a full 8 hours without pauses! Next, make realistic to-do lists. No you are not going to get those 23 things (that you wrote down all neatly with a gel pen) done today. Don’t lie to yourself, it will only make you feel more overwhelmed. Last, but certainly not least, Evans suggests to prioritize your tasks. Often, people don’t want to admit that some homework is significantly more important than another homework but, in order to do the best you can one has to make those decisions.

What keeps me going is knowing that all of this is directing me towards my future dream job. But, when I go in for interviews it is unlikely that anyone will ask me what my GPA was. Or how my statistics class went in the first month of the semester. This degree that we are all killing ourselves for, is both a piece of paper to hang on the wall (that often times few people will ever ask about) and a ticket to a new place in life.

Like most things that require a ticket this should be fun. Don’t let yourself forget how important you are. College is a time for personal exploration and achievement. It should not be how it has become. Take back the power, a system can only dominate if it is allowed to do so. Our mental health and happiness is more important than that assignment.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at or @BayukRachael on Twitter.