Student Blog: Tools: Grace's Guide To Getting By

What works for me may work for you!

Student Blog: Tools: Grace's Guide To Getting By
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Dear BroadwayWorld Reader, 

Navigating college for the first time is no easy task. Like many other current freshmen, I have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of this whirlwind journey known as “college.” It has taken me some time to adjust to the mini-adulting lifestyle that accompanies being a full-time college student. However, now that I am into a steady groove academically, socially, and extracurricularly, I would love to impart some words of wisdom to help make someone else’s college journey a tad bit easier. That is the least I could do!

Here are three tools that help me manage my responsibilities as a college student:

BFA - Breathe, Focus, Attack

All of us Bachelor in Fine Arts seekers can confirm that it is easy to let the stresses of our degree infringe on our ability to relax and fully enjoy the college experience. We are always swamped with the demands of our respective creative majors. We understand that the work we do outside the classroom is just as (if not more) important than the work we do inside the classroom. Going above and beyond is the key to success. So, if there is any chance to work on our craft extracurricularly, we take it.  I have come to find that this need to do it all creates a  very jam-packed schedule with little room to collect yourself. Now, if you are anything like me, you get overwhelmed by chaos very easily. A mantra that has helped me reground myself when I feel that my commitments are out of my control is “Breathe, Focus, Attack.” I figured it was about time the BFA acronym underwent a little rebranding (good going Grace).  

Whenever you feel a wave of stress overcome you, it is important to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let yourself regroup. Once you steady your breath, work on shifting your turbulent mindset towards a focused one. Remember that you only need to worry about accomplishing one small victory thing at a time. A mistake I tend to make is getting too far ahead of myself and not being present in the current moment. Think about it this way, it is easier to jump over one hurdle at a time than three. Lastly, you need to attack whatever task is at hand. It is best to accomplish whatever you are doing to the best of your ability. Go after it with everything you have until you finish it completely and no longer have to worry about it. Then, on to the next thing!

Keep Calm And Carry A Planner

I like to think that I am invincible.  That I can juggle a million different commitments that pull me in a million different directions. That I can be everywhere doing everything I want all at once. That my answer can default to be “yes” for every extracurricular, project, or opportunity presented my way. In a perfect world, I would be able to manage being a full-time acting student, working two jobs, and partaking in everything my heart desired in my already limited spare time. Now, while I can’t do it ALL per say, I can do pretty close to it. Want to know how? 

My handy dandy planner. 

I use my tangible pink leopard-print agenda book to organize every single moment of my week. It is the keeper of my academic schedule, work hours, workout classes, and rehearsals. I document each coffee date with a friend, trip to the grocery store, study session, audition time slot, and assignment due date. To put it in simpler terms, my whole life is inscribed into the pages of my planner. I enjoy being able to visualize what my days look like. It gives me a clear idea of what I need to prioritize. Not to mention, my color-coding system helps me keep my various commitments straight so I don’t ever overbook myself. Now, while I still try to cram as much as I can into each day, I can do so without there being any major conflicts to my academic, social, or work schedule!

When In Doubt, Sleep It Out

Art and design school students are known to be very tired people. Actively keeping the creative juices flowing drains the good ol’ functionality battery. In all seriousness, we creatives tend to prioritize our work over ourselves. This results in drowsiness, underperformance, and outright burnout. Taking care of yourself should ALWAYS be your top priority. One way I make sure I am taking care of myself is by getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. No matter how much homework I have or how many auditions I have to prepare for, I always make sure I am asleep before 12am. I have learned that if you try to work late at night while gears are struggling to turn, it will take you significantly longer to complete a single task than it would if you were to just sleep off the grogginess and pick up where you left off in the morning. I accomplish my best work the morning of rather than the night before because I am working with a recharged brain. This is my most powerful secret to success. 

I hope that one of my catchy tools taglines resonated with you, BroadwayWorld Reader. Have an amazing day and I’ll catch up with you again real soon.

With love always,
Grace O’Malley


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