By Jordan McNeil


College can be overwhelming. I mean, life in general can be overwhelming, but right now I’m focusing on college because that’s where I’m at in my life at the moment.


My semester started off running from the get-go, but I got caught with my shoes untied at the starting line. I had some prep work I had planned on doing over break to try and make sure I was actually prepared ahead of time, for once, but unsurprisingly very little of it got done. It was break, after all.


I know we’ve covered this already, but I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I knew I should’ve been even just a little bit productive over break; I actually wanted to be for a moment. However, I also wanted to relax some, enjoy not having anything to do or anywhere to be for a month. It’s good to take a break when you can.


I only regretted this decision of mine a tiny bit when the semester started. It takes me awhile to get back into the swing of a schedule. I have to create a rhythm with my time — manage when I’m asleep, get up, do work before class, head to class, work, study at home, et cetera, et cetera. I’m always at a loss at the beginning of a change because I don’t tend to keep any rhythm on breaks. I don’t need to.


But now I started in a deficit — and my classes started much faster and more intensively than my sleepy brain fresh off of vacation was prepared for. So I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, and the fact that this is happening so early in the semester is not making it any easier to handle. If I’m feeling overwhelmed three weeks in, what is it going to be like during midterms?


It’s reaching the point where it’s almost panic inducing, which makes me want to do nothing more than curl up with some cute goat videos and wait until it just goes away or fixes itself. I know it doesn’t work that way, but sometimes I really wish it did. It would be a whole lot easier.


But since that’s not how it works, I’m trying to institute another strategy, forcing myself into a schedule, a rhythm. I’m making a list of everything I have left to do, in order of when they’re due and in order of the amount of time they take — shortest assignments to most time consuming. I find that the best way, for me anyway, to the overcome the overwhelming feeling is to be able to prove to myself that I’m actually chipping away at the mountain looming in front of me. It’s easier to knockout a lot of smaller assignments in one sitting than doing a few large ones. And then you get to cross them off your to-do list, which is concrete proof that the mountain is fading away, one assignment at a time. Then you have enough weight lifted from your shoulders that you feel ready to tackle the more in-depth ones, and before you know it, you’re all caught up and no longer overwhelmed.


I’m about halfway there with my current overwhelming mountain of work. Hopefully, I’ll be back to a reasonable rhythm by the end of the week. And then maybe I’ll start getting in the habit of being productive over breaks. Maybe just a tiny bit, because relaxing can be a good thing to combat feeling overwhelmed too.