UP graphic by Cormac Kelly

UP graphic by Cormac Kelly

Prioritizing key to preventing stress

Papers, exams, assignments — by this point in the semester, many students feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. In the struggle to juggle a dozen different plates, it can seem like we’re in imminent danger of dropping and breaking them all. When that happens, it’s easy for one’s anxiety level to go through the roof, and for school to become overwhelming, not to mention exhausting.

I know this experience firsthand, because it’s one that I’ve been going through this semester. Between my honors thesis, several other assignments and graduate school applications, not to mention work, marching band and being the president of a student organization, I thought there was no way I was going to have time to do it all. To compound matters, I’m graduating in December — meaning that I have t-minus six weeks to have everything done.

In the interest of preserving my sanity, I decided to talk to one of my professors about my situation. His advice?

“Eat the frog.”

Caitlin McAlister UP editor

Caitlin McAlister
UP editor

What?! What does that even mean?!

What that means, he explained to me, is that you prioritize your tasks — starting with the biggest, worst one that you don’t want to do.   That dreadful assignment, whatever it may be, is the metaphorical frog. He’s slimy, he’s nasty, he’s disgusting — but you have to tough it out and swallow him, however unpleasant that may be.

Starting with that task whenever you sit down to do schoolwork has some real advantages. It forces you to work on the thing that you have the least desire to and, in doing so, allows you to make progress on it, ensuring that it actually gets done.

This doesn’t mean that you exclude everything else you’re doing. The frog doesn’t have to be completely gone before you move on to another job, but you’ll feel better for having actually tackled it and lessened that burden.

I know I have.

Priorities are critical for balancing everything that is going on in our lives. Without them, that stack of assignments in front of us seems like a completely daunting mess.

There will always be frogs. The trick is learning how to eat them.

Story by Cailtin McAlister, UP editor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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