In the two months I’ve been here at RPI, I’ve learned a lot more than just how to study for tests and complete work, as all that knowledge came over from high school. Sleepless nights and cramming for exams are almost second nature, whereas RPI posed a whole new set of challenges.
The biggest problem by far for me is time management. It sounds cheesy: if I do all my work when I get it, I should always have enough free time, right? To all you freshmen reading who haven’t figured it out yet, it is not that easy. When I get out of class, the first thing on my mind isn’t, “oh boy, I want to finish all this work quickly!” it’s “get me out of this place and let me sleep in the library for two more hours to mentally prepare for my next class.” College is nothing like high school in that regard: there is not a set path that I can take that will allow me to finish everything on time. There is a lack of rigidness in my life, which is both a blessing and a curse. Being responsible for my own education is not something I am used to yet, and I seem to fall frequently into the “oh one more episode” or the “oh just one more game of Hearthstone” trap.
Time management isn’t about how much work you can cram into one night; it’s about how well you are able to space out your assignments to make it through the week, while also not going insane over the workload. I admit, as a freshman, that I probably have no idea about the horrors that await me during my sophomore year. But if they are anything remotely resembling this year, than all I know is that I need to get better at making a plan and sticking to it.
On the topic of time management, optimization of interests has suddenly sprung up as a problem that I am not well adapted to. Never before have I had such a wide range of activities offered to me, and been given the choice as to what club, class, community service, or general organization I want to do in addition to my studies. Simply balancing out two clubs, pledging a fraternity, allotting time to eat, sleep, and go to the gym on top of staying up to date with my assignments has proven to be a struggle. I never had this problem in high school due to having lived in a routine all my life. Don’t get me wrong; the freedoms associated with college are amazing, but sometimes I yearn for a more structured existence.
Anyway, I’m having fun in college. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’m glad I chose Rensselaer, and only time will tell as to how well I’ll adjust to college life.