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Tips on Managing School Life and Personal Professional Development

College is a balancing act. Between class, clubs, personal wellness activities, social events, work, etc- there can be a lot to juggle. On top of that, ‘tis the season for applying for summer internships and scholarships. Oh my! This can bring upon a whole other set of tasks to your plate such as updating your resume, writing cover letters and personal statements, etc. Reasonably, it can be hard to justify spending time on personal professional development ahead of class tasks yet, that doesn’t make them any less important. Hopefully, these tips can alleviate some of the stress and pressure and help you manage your school life and personal professional development.

1.Set Time Aside

  • A good strategy for finding time in your schedule for personal professional development is to make time. Do you have an awkward break in-between one of your classes? My advice would be to take advantage of opportunities like these and allot that time specifically on your personal professional development. Even if this is 15-20 minutes, with this time designated, you are more likely to spend this time productively on yourself and not on other tasks.

  • Another suggestion would be to wake up 30 minutes earlier 1-2 times a week. While this may not seem ideal, with great sacrifice comes great reward. This time can help you hone in on what you want to focus on and this trade-off could land you a nice scholarship or even an interview with your dream company.

2. Take Advantage of University Resources and Opportunities

  • The JMU career center holds a wide variety of aid for career-related help including major specific career drop-in hours, career fairs, and various workshops. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities while you can and have them encourage you to set some deadlines for yourself. I would also suggest utilizing your professor’s office hours and asking for their advice too. More than likely I would love to help and guide you.

3. Utilize free time

  • With Spring Break coming up, this could be a prime opportunity for you to work on your personal professional development without school being in the way. Utilize your free time while you have it. What if you’re traveling for spring break? No worries- take that time to relax and consider setting aside some time on the weekends to work on your PPD tasks.

4. Give Yourself Some Grace.

  • The process of applying to jobs, scholarships, and other opportunities is tough and it is important to give yourself a little grace. What if you have a super busy week? No sweat; give yourself a break and move some extra time to next week instead. It’s important to keep your head afloat in busy times and sometimes you will have more important pressing tasks on your plate and it is O. K. to be flexible with yourself. The best thing you can do is plan in advance and come to terms with yourself that you cannot do it all and that is good enough. :)

Best of luck Dukes in this busy time and wishing you nothing but success!

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