A Starter’s Guide to Making the Most of Your Time

Time. It is a valuable resource that we often feel we are running out of. “If only I had more time!” How often do you find yourself saying or thinking that? While you want to get a good education in the U.S., you also want to have an experience that goes beyond your classroom or lab. You want to explore all that your University, city, and other states have to offer. You want to make great friends. Perhaps you would like to take part in more of what Bridges has to offer…if only you had the time, right?

You Have the Time

What if I told you, you do have the time to do those things I mentioned two sentences ago? Students are skeptical when I tell them that they can both study hard and experience fun, friends, faith, sharing culture, travel and more. So if you are feeling skeptical, that’s ok; I can handle it.

Ask yourself this question: “Are my studies so overwhelming or time-sensitive that they are the only thing I focus on?” If you answered yes, you are not alone. You may be surprised how easy it is to do well in school while also enjoying the full international student experience you had hoped to!

Let me ask another simple question….What is one thing you want to do as an international student? Here’s an example of why I ask this: I found out a student had been wanting to come to a Bridges Discovery Group Bible Discussion for over a year, but never felt like he had the time to come. So he never has!

My advice to him and you is simple. Look at your calendar for this month and choose a night that you will block out to attend an event or gathering you would like to experience. That way, with the event in your schedule, you are much more likely to remember it. You will also have a strong motivation to prepare ahead of time so you can keep the commitment you made to yourself. If you do not make room for other priorities in your life, I guarantee your work and project deadlines will monopolize your life every time.

What Are Your Priorities?

Next, make a list of your top three to five goals you want to achieve while you are an international student. Writing out your priorities, especially the ones less concentrated on earning your degree, will remind you why you decided to study overseas. Giving yourself even five minutes to reflect on these goals allows you to evaluate… Am I having the international student experience I dreamed that I would? What steps can I take on a daily, weekly or maybe monthly basis to make a little more time to for pursuing these dreams? Whom can I trust to help me with this?

You will be pleasantly surprised that you have enough time to devote to both your academic pursuits as well as social or extra-curricular activities. All it may take is a few minutes to slow down and see it for yourself!

In future posts, Bridges will share more on managing your time well.

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