Friday, December 4, 2009


Macalester has a good habit of causing "overload."

"Overload" is a bitter-sweet phenomenon, in my opinion. As the name implies, it's an occurrence where there's just too much. And it seems like there's always too much at Mac. Too much work, too much to do, too much to enjoy... The cycle can get pretty dangerous when the "too much to enjoy" causes a build up, leading to "too much work." It's happened to me once or twice, where there'll be a day with so many different events on campus that I'll attend, put off my homework, and end up stressed out and overloaded.

Hip-Hop for Hope and the Winter Ball are two events happening today (Friday), one after the other. Because I'm going to both, that essentially means from 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I won't be doing any school work. That's not necessarily a long as you've done some work beforehand and have that time to afford. In order to help with not missing some good events (though you will most definitely have to miss a good number in your time at Mac), here's some advice:
  • Don't schedule anything between the hours of 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is when good speakers come to campus and when events like "Soup and Substance" will occur. At these happenings, lunch is usually provided, so you get a free meal and get to hear some interesting stuff!
  • Use the mornings. I usually get up at 8:00 a.m., get breakfast, and get some reading done before my 10:50 a.m. class. No, I'm not very sharp in the morning, which is why I usually don't try to crank out an essay then; I'll save some reading to finish up, which doesn't take nearly as much of my brainpower.
  • Try to get things done early. If you have some time in-between classes, before the late afternoon, then settle yourself in and get some work done. After about 5:00 p.m. everyone is done with classes, meaning there'll be a lot more distractions than earlier in the day.
  • Use a desk calendar. I prefer this to google calendars because then I don't always need my computer on to know what I need to do. A calendar of any sort, though, is a crucial investment; write everything down, from club activities and events to homework assignments, so you can keep track and plan ahead.
Hopefully these help, but when things start to get hot - usually during midterms and finals - then avoiding "overload" gets even trickier. I'm looking forward to winter break, which is just two weeks away, and that keeps me chugging along. Just don't let yourself get overwhelmed; sometimes it'll take saying "no" to something fun, but time becomes your most important commodity in college. Don't spend it lightly.