The Struggles of Student Writers: Time Management

time-management

 

Here at Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing, one of our primary goals is to help foster the growth of talented local writers. One of the ways we’re doing this is by asking for their comments on All Things Writing. Recently, we asked a local student what his biggest issues were with balancing school, work, and his passion for writing. This is what he had to say:

       The difficulties faced by a student writer are time, writer’s block, and stress.

       For me, time is scarce. I only have a little of it at night, or in between classes to get homework or studying done. Before the semester started, I lined up my classes in the afternoon. I spread them out in order to have time in between classes to get assignments done. For example, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I have ITE class from 11-12:15, and Biology 101 from 4-6:45. This nearly four-hour gap  gives me time to read over labs, study for tests, and work on other assignments that I couldn’t finish in class. Sectioning out time for subjects can be a hassle as well because each subject has a different load capacity. One of the biggest problems I came across was Biology. It was a rather strenuous course, and at one point it was controlling the time that I used for other subjects, or my club activities. The solution was simple: I mapped out in my mind the due dates for assignments and exams, then I scheduled the time holes in between classes. By focusing on doing my work in these time periods, I didn’t have to worry about school work on my days off.When I had a free day from work, I was able to do some writing for fun.

           With time being so scarce, there is no room for procrastination. As a writer, I have no time to wait to do a lab report the night before it’s due because I’d be swamped with other assignments. That’s a one-way ticket to poor grades, stress, and lazy habits. In order to relieve the hoard of assignments that I’m given each week, I try to accomplish most of them before the due date or right on time. If this is done, there is no scrambling the night before to get it done. Instead I can relax and work on my writing.

            Another strain that all student writers have is writer’s block. Since I started college, I’ve been experiencing more writer’s block than usual. The best  explanation of this is that I’m always rushing to get everything done, but never relax a muscle. The key to unlocking writer’s block is to step away from whatever you’re writing and relax, or get in touch with nature. Sight-seeing always brings about new ideas. No matter how busy my schedule is, I try to write about anything that comes to my mind, even if it’s only a paragraph. This helps stimulates the brain to think more creatively, breaking writer’s block.

       Above all, and the most crucial part of being a student writer is managing stress. As a college student, you sometimes bite off more than you can chew, hoping you can sift through it with no problem. No. Stress builds when you have too much to do within a small amount time. Stress is caused by neurotransmitters sending signals to the brain, causing it to overthink situations. Instead, if we were to step back and not worry, our brains could solve the problems more easily. Student writers have to be extremely careful to keep the stress level at a minimum because we have many papers and topics to think about. If everything becomes a jumble, our papers don’t make sense. Not only that, but it’s backed by science. At the end of the chromosomes of the DNA there is a small strand called telomeres, which is the life span of one’s life. It has been proven that with too much stress over a long period of time, the telomeres begin to shorten, making your life span shorter. It is hard not to stress, but taking a step back, evaluating your situation, and letting things go will help give you tranquility and happiness that every student writer deserves. If you are determined, diligent, and can manage your stress and time, then you will be able to find the time to write the things that matter most. 

T. Poindexter, Virginia Western Community College – Nov. 7 2016

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