Focus on you for a minute. The world sends all kinds of messages about what it means to be…a UNC student, a citizen of the world, etc. But when it comes down to it, you have all the answers for what it means to be YOU. And using that internal voice can help you be more successful at UNC.
1) Set realistic goals. Realistic is the key word here. Maybe some people you know can go to class and work full time and spend 3 hours at the gym and study for 8 hours and take 4 hours to cook a five course gourmet dinner and be the president of every club and volunteer to save sea turtles and keep their inbox empty and still get 8 hours of sleep every night. I, however, am not that person (and probably you aren’t either). Ask yourself what is most critical to you. Prioritize! Then set some goals on realistic achievements for those priorities and plan for what you’ll do when you achieve those goals.
2) Be honest with yourself. Who do you want to be when no one is watching? Deep down, what are the characteristics you value most? And how can you cultivate those in yourself?
3) Say no. Just because you have a time slot open in your calendar doesn’t mean you have to fill it if something comes up that you think you “should” do. I find myself overcommitting and switching around other things in my calendar to accommodate obligations that I didn’t even want to do in the first place! This year, I’m going to say “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to make it” a lot more and “Absolutely, do you need me to get there early and stay after to clean up too?” a lot less! And, I won’t feel guilty about it. Saying “no” to others often means saying “yes” to yourself.
4) Don’t listen to everyone. You are the expert in you. Ask yourself first! Collecting opinions can be valuable, but ultimately you get to decide. I find that when I’m having a hard time making a decision, if I just sit and really ask myself what I should do, I know the answer. But acting on that knowledge is what’s difficult.
At the end of the day, you really have to listen to and trust yourself. But, you don’t have to take my word for it – you are the expert in you!