With registration just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about what kind of schedule best fits my needs. The world has a way of telling you when something just isn't working out, and it's a good idea to listen to the signs and make the lifestyle changes needed to make you a happier and healthier person. Here are a few common signs I see in my friends and have sometimes seen myself.

You’re always late to your first class of the day

Depending on when this is, this might just be your inability to show up to things on time, but more likely than not, this is a sign that your classes are too early in the morning. When you're registering this semester, try to pick classes with later start times. But what if you have that one required class that you absolutely have to take and the only section left is an 8am? Or what if the class you really want to take that’s only offered once every three semesters is early in the morning? This has happened to me a couple of times, and my solution was to get more sleep so that I could wake up earlier without being tired (easier said than done, of course). It takes a little bit of a balancing act to adjust to an earlier bed time, but life becomes so much easier when you’re not missing half an hour of class every day.

You never have time to eat meals.

From experience, this means that you’re way too busy. If you can’t even take the fifteen minutes to eat a meal, or at least buy a meal and eat it on the go, you need to cut something out of your schedule or find a way to prepare meals beforehand so that you can grab and go easily. I still live in the dorms, so my range of things I can cook is limited, but I usually make my lunch two days a week since I have class from 11-5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays with no breaks. I like making my lunch a bunch of different components that can easily be eaten during passing periods, although more often than not, I end up eating my packed lunch during class. Pro tip: pick foods that you can eat quietly, or you’ll feel vy self-conscious as you eat during class. Next semester, I’ll make sure to actually plan myself time for meals.

You’re tired all the time.

Many people would argue that this is the normal state for a college student: tired all the time, can barely keep their eyes open, wondering when the cycle of all-nighters will end. As someone who is very busy and still manages to get a reasoanble amount of sleep, I can confirm that it is possible to live a busy and overwhelming lifestyle while still feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. If you’re tired all the time, chances are that you aren’t getting enough sleep or you aren’t eating the right foods your body needs to fuel itself. Either way, some lifestyle changes are in order. My solution has always been to leave homework incomplete for the sake of getting the proper amount of sleep, but you could also drop activities, lower social commitments during the week, and give your siblings the responsibility of setting your Netflix account password to something that you couldn’t guess if you tried. Homework is temporary; lack of sleep and eating the right foods can impact your body’s development and your future.

You keep getting low grades in a class.

This could mean a lot of things. Perhaps the class is just taught in a structure that isn’t good for you, or the assessments and homework assignments are in a format that you don’t like. In that case, you might have to change how you take notes, how you interact with the class, or how you learn. Employ new study strategies— study with friends, study with flashcards, read a little bit from the textbook every day. Talk to your TA about ways you can raise your grade. If you understand the material but you’re still not doing well, there’s a problem somewhere in there, and you should be actiely trying to fix it.

But what if you really don’t understand the material, and you don’t care much about improving your grade in the class? I feel this way about my algorithms class, and I’ve decided to relegate that class to a lower priority level on my list. I’ve accepted that my grades might be lower, but it turns out that the change I really needed was a change in outlook rather than a change in lifestyle. 

The semester is almost over, and now’s the time to get ready to make those changes that will help you be successful in your finals and in the semesters beyond. Power through, prioritize yourself, and remember that if life’s telling you that something may be wrong, you should listen.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of UT Computer Science, The University of Texas or any employee thereof.