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College students, welcome back!

Six glorious weeks have passed and you’ve had the time to recover from the mad dash that comes with the end of every semester. You’re feeling recharged and can look forward to an entirely different schedule. At this point, you’re carving out your shiny new groove and strategizing a way to maximize your time in order to balance the things you want and need to do.

As an Associate Counselor for a Rochester-based strategic communications firm, I still go through this process today (sans the month break!). I am constantly reconfiguring my workload – juggling clients, project and pro bono work, all while making time for the things that matter in my personal life. It may seem tough to get back into the swing of things after a long time off, but I’m here to share a few tips to keep the balls in the air.

Visualize

Mapping the next four months is like packing a suitcase. Visualize your best case scenario. In my case: a course load balanced with challenging and easier classes, a part-time job and resume boosters like volunteer opportunities, clubs and internships. You only have a finite amount of space to work with. If you’ve packed too much, don’t be afraid to allow yourself to postpose some of your goals.

Map your time

Whether it be by using a paper planner, desk calendar or Google Doc, keeping a running list of deadlines will help your planning process. Start by mapping key dates on a master timeline, then break your to-do’s down by week. Your workload will seem much more manageable, and you’ll feel more rewarded if you can achieve goals on a weekly basis.  

Prioritize

Whenever I have several new projects starting at the same time, I can feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do first. Prioritizing is more than a way to plan your time, it’s a way to assign a value for each to-do. Think about your assignments, your internships, the responsibilities given to you in a club or volunteer group. Each has a different return on the investment of your time.

It’s learning these things in college that led me to pursue a career in an agency setting. Refining these skills through continued practice is what will make you excel.

Emily Drzewiecki is an Associate Counselor with McDougall Communications. Her role is to provide counsel to non-profit and B2B clients seeking to better understand public relations and recognize future opportunities that will help support brand messaging.

After pursuing a challenging, accelerated three-year program, Emily is a 2013 graduate from The College at Brockport. She earned her Bachelor's in Journalism and Broadcasting with a concentration in Public Relations and Graphic Design. Emily is committed to the field of public relations in the Rochester community, as she is actively involved in PRSA Rochester and the Young PR Professionals.

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