It’s commonly said by members of the Greek system that with Greek life, you get out of it what you put into it. A sorority can be a big commitment, and there’s always a fundraiser or social event to attend. Because of this, balancing sorority life with school life can be tough, especially during busy times like recruitment week or finals. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of things.
Use a Planner
When you’re in a sorority, your planner is your lifeline. The only way to keep track of everything is to write it down. Pencil things in so that you can make changes if needed. Seeing events in front of you will help you remember exactly when each event is and when your busy days are. A semester long calendar, where you can see four months at a time, is particularly useful, as you can see deadlines in advance and plan ahead.
Colour coding your calendar, with one colour for school work and one for Greek activities, can help you stay organized. You can even distinguish between which Greek events are mandatory and which ones aren’t, so you’ll know which ones you can afford to miss if you need to study. If you have a digital calendar, try scheduling readings and assignments and then deleting them when you’ve completed them. This will help you see if you are behind on anything. Also, deleting them all and seeing an empty calendar will help you feel accomplished.
I am huge fan of lists. Create a to-do list of absolutely everything you have to do, no matter how inane, and constantly update it. By listing all of your tasks, you can make sure you’re not forgetting anything and clear your mind. Also, look at each thing on your list and consider realistically how much time it will take to complete. This will avoid leaving projects that you thought would be quick to finish until the last minute, only to discover that they will take more time. Crossing things off can motivate you to keep getting things done. Once you write everything in one spot, you may even discover that you have less to do than you thought.
Schedule some time in your day to study and stick to it. This helps to make sure that you have enough time to get work done even on a busy day. Treat study time as if it were a class. By doing this you can make sure you are keeping up with school work while still fitting in some social time.
Some sororities have the option of creating a personalized study plan to help you stay on track with your school work. This usually includes things like setting academic goals, tracking your grades and logging study hours. By sticking to a plan, you can see your progress which will further motivate you to keep doing well. Getting started on your assignments in advance can cut down on stress. Also, having someone in the chapter who is keeping tabs on your progress can be extra motivation to get work done. If your group doesn’t make study plans, make one for yourself! Tell someone else in the chapter to check in with you every once and a while to see how you’re doing.
Study groups are a great way to get work done while still seeing your sorority sisters. Some sororities, like mine, have a minimum GPA requirement or have mandatory study hall in an effort to keep sisters’ grades up. This forces sisters to make time for their studies, no matter how busy their lives get. In study hall, there are other sisters around that you can ask for help. If you study well in a group, this is a great solution.
Use the in-between time
When you have a short break between classes, waiting for meetings or on the bus, use that time to be productive. Review your notes, do some reading, update your planner, fill out forms for events or visit a professor for office hours. You can get so much more done by slotting work into extra blocks of time. Once you don’t have knocked some of the smaller items off of your to do list and don’t have a bunch of little things to worry about, you can focus on your bigger projects.
Do you have tips on how to best balance your commitments and school schedule? Share them with us on Twitter @Uchic or on Facebook.
By Anna Jonas, Dalhousie University