It’s a question I ask myself, and has definitely been asked of me many times.
When I tell people the full title of my degree, History and International Relations with French (and a Year Study Abroad), they balk. “Three subjects?” They cry. “How do you focus?”
The truth is, I absolutely thrive on being busy. Three subjects, especially three subjects I adore, means I’m never getting bored and I’m always pushing myself. Yes, it means my desk looks like it’s been in an unfortunate encounter with a tornado, but it’s definitely worth it.
I picked up French again at the beginning of this term because, as much as I love my degree, I need a language, and I want to spend a year abroad next year, in Paris. Whilst Sciences-Po doesn’t need fluent French speakers as it teaches in English, I do want to be able to live in Paris, not simply exist. And it’s proving to be a welcome addition to my timetable, adding 4 contact hours a week onto the measly 6 of my combined honours. I know I have less time, and I have to keep my brain functioning so it doesn’t meltdown, so I’m getting things done well in advance. As you may know, this is new, as last year I was rather a fan of the all-nighter procrastination method.
And then there’s my extra-curricular activities. I’m a member of seven different societies, I’m heavily involved with the Student’s Guild, I’m an academic representative as well as an NUS delegate. I’m writing frequently for Exepose, the student newspaper, as well as Her Campus Exeter, our chapter of the well-known American online university magazine. Oh, before I move on, I should tell you that I’m still the Press Officer for the Yacht Club at home, and am always developing the Rowing section of the website, doing the newsletter or updating the Brand Guide I made for them. And then there’s my blog.
Yes, it seems like an overwhelming amount. Really, there are times when I’m looking at my planner and I want to cry. Where is the time to go and see the amazing new films at the cinema? Oh, that’s right, I don’t have any!
But I wouldn’t give up what I’m doing, because I’m challenging myself and making sure I can face any challenge that’s thrown at me. When I’m out in “The Real World”, I won’t be able to choose if I want to do the extra, or if I’m overwhelmed with a variety of different work. As a future journalist I know I’m going to struggle and stress and go from having no work to too much, so by preparing myself now, with the amazing support system the university offers, I’m only taking advantage of the resources at hand.
I’m not complaining about any of this – it’s a brilliant experience, and it’s so exhilarating when I pull it off. I’ve got an interview with one of my favourite bands, The Fratellis, at 12, and I was just awarded the Young Achiever prize at the Yacht Club’s AGM.
If you have the opportunity and the time, do as much as you can. The worst that can happen is you find out where your limits lie. My limit, and biggest weakness at the moment, is my Netflix addiction. Who wants to read 140 pages of contemporary political theory when they could be watching Criminal Minds? Not me!
How do you cope with stress? Would you like to know more about how I organise myself in this maelstrom of activity? Leave a comment below.