Balance is key in college

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the pickle jar theory.

You know the one where you get a large jar and put some big rocks into it. Think it’s full and you can’t add anything else to it?

OK, now add some pebbles. Full yet?

Try adding some sand to the jar. When you don’t think you can add any more sand, try adding water to the jar.

This theory is a great example of time management. When trying to balance your life, you should always begin with the required items- the rocks because they are of the highest-priority.

Then you add more to your schedule in order of size and importance.

While in college, many students fail to balance their personal lives with their heavy course load, inevitably setting themselves up for failure.

However, if students would follow a prescribed time management system, they may have more success in life.

Class is extremely important and every student in college should attend class. Out-of-state students should be the main ones attending class because they’re paying nearly $500 for each credit hour at FAMU.

The education students leave with will take them to new heights and destinations they never even dreamed possible.

Still, going to class is not the only thing students should do while they’re here.

They should also join clubs and organizations to enrich their lives and portfolios. In joining these organizations, students must find a happy medium between being heavily involved and maintaining high marks in class.

For some, this effort is easier said than done. They find it hard to attend class regularly, have meetings nightly, have their weekends dominated by group projects and community service events and still fit it in a social life.

Nevertheless, don’t give up.

Just like with the pickle jar theory, place the most important things at the forefront of your life. Accomplish those tasks and then continue to do the others.

The FAMU Career Center gives away free planners to all students who register in their office. The planners provide plenty of space to write down all activities. There are even stickers in the back to use when marking tests, meetings or events.

If the planner option does not seem to work students can try investing in a PDA. These cost a lot more but also seem to assist students in staying organized. The controls include, among other things, setting alarms for upcoming events and e-mailing your calendar to the PDA.

There are plenty of options students may employ to stay organized, but the first step is actually doing it.

At the onset, it seems hard to remember to carry around a planner everywhere you go. Yet once you start doing it regularly, it will become routine, and you will actually be upset if you forget it one day.

When students begin writing down all of their events, they will realize where they are wasting time and where they can gain it. Students can have control over their lives, but they must be responsible for initiating that control. They must realize the needs and demands of others may not be the same as for themselves.

For example, I enjoy being busy and lead a very active lifestyle. On the other hand, some of my friends prefer to take it easy by only joining one or two clubs. To each his own.

Setting personal goals can further assist students in getting their lives in order. By deciding what is desired, students can move step by step towards achieving it without getting distracted.

I believe Stephen Covey said it best in his world famous book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Habit No. 3 is “Put First Things First.”

By avoiding procrastination, organizing your life in order of importance and doing what you want to do and not what others are doing or want you to do, you can be efficient and in control.

Dominique Drake is a third year Professional MBA student from Cleveland. Contact her at