A Fresh View: What Is That Thing They Call Time Management?

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

Hello again, dear readers… I rise from the grave to welcome you back to A Fresh View

I missed you all last week, but I think that gives you some idea of what kind of mass warfare I’ve been dealing with when it comes to my complete and utter mess of a life. I’ve officially become a zombie and have sold my soul in an attempt to survive under the brunt of taking five classes, over-committing in extracurriculars, applying for jobs and internships, and working all at the same time.

The current situation…


The worst of it was definitely last week, when I had a bunch of exams and papers all due at once. The workload has eased somewhat, but I’m continuously playing catch up with all my readings and assignments that I had to put off to deal with more immediate deadlines. Life of late has been a cycle of never ending deadlines that keep cropping up and require my attention in turn, forcing me to put increasing amount of work on the back burner to deal with later, only to have it pile up and slowly suck out my soul. As I’m writing this post, I think I have something like 30+ hours of reading that I need to catch up on over the weekend, so that’s a thrilling prospect that I’m definitely looking forward to tackling.

So the question of the day is the all-important time management: how to get all your work done, get sleep, and still find time to have fun. Shouldn’t be that hard, right? giphy2Turns out time management is one of the most difficult things to do, especially as a first year, when so much is thrown at you all at once and you’re still not used to  all of your new responsibilities. Something that still surprises me constantly is the sheer amount of time it takes just to maintain house – sweeping the floor, vacuuming, tidying up messes, doing laundry, making the bed, and so much more. These little chores take up so much of your time, and having roommates throws a different wrench into the dynamic as well. This kind of housekeeping isn’t what you think about as the most time consuming things, and while they aren’t, when you begin to neglect these things, everything also slowly starts to fall apart until your life has literally become a dumpster fire and you don’t have any clean socks in the morning. So while keeping house my seem like something you don’t need to pay too much attention, the second it starts to crack, it’s the beginning of a terrible downward spiral.

Something else that we tend to throw out the window at the beginnings of trouble is sleep, and I am definitely extremely guilty of tossing the quality of my sleep schedule for the sake of catching up on work – I’ve been doing it since high school, and unfortunately, the habit has definitely settled in. But skipping out on sleep is one of the worst things that you can do to your body, and after so many years of doing it, I can feel its adverse effects. I’m always tired, and I’ll find that I’m hit with waves of exhaustion with increased frequency. When you’re always tired, the quality of your work definitely suffers, and it takes you twice and long to produce something half as good. So don’t neglect your sleep! tenorOnce your schedule starts to fall off the rails, it’s absolute hell getting it back on track. Taking care of your health should be your primary concern – university is only a few years of your life, but you’re stuck with your body until you die, so take care of it, because that’s the only one you’ll ever get. Unless we find out a way to transfer consciousness into robots.

Time management is an elusive skill that I definitely need many more years to master, and all I can say is that it’s all a matter of prioritizing and asking yourself the hard questions about what you’re willing to sacrifice. Life is a giant buffet, and you’ve only got one plate. You have to make difficult decisions about what you’re willing to scrape off your plate to make room for other things and what are non-negotiables. Unfortunately, most of the time, you can’t have the entire cake and eat the whole thing as well. Maybe just a slice or two.

Please forgive the disjointed conglomeration of thoughts that is this post while I try to get my life in order! Hopefully I’ll be back next time with a better handle on my life and more uplifting content. I’ve been thinking about writing posts in the future about deciding on a major/the prospect of doing a double concentration, but let me know what other topics you’d like me to cover 🙂

This week in listening: “Hopeless Valentine” by Nell

That’s all from me this week, folks!

Stay focused and enthusiastic, and I’ll see you next time~

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.


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