Our guest columnist is national competitor Melissa Bulanhagui, who graduated from Newark High School in Delaware a few months ago. Melissa is very involved with her community and church, and other commitments outside of skating, and it always surprises me whenever competitive skaters find the time to redirect their energies to, well, anything else! I was equally surprised to learn that she attended "normal" school, where she went to classes full-time, went to the prom (see photo below), and has great friends outside of skating, as well as within the skating community. I asked Melissa to dispense advice to others who may also be balancing school and skating and other important things in life. What she wanted to share was quite interesting, and wise, and universal.
Time Management by Melissa Bulanhagui
As your alarm goes off in the morning, you suddenly wish that your day was already over. After pressing the snooze button several times, you realize that you have at least one million things to do, so you rush to get ready and begin your day. In order to survive and live a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise is a given. On top of that, you have to make your healthy lifestyle a happy lifestyle, finish your school work, start your homework, figure skate, do all your chores, work, and somehow maintain a social life with your friends and family. The thought of all this is stressful. Soon you find yourself wondering why there are only twenty-four hours in a day. The only way to handle all of this is through time management and organization.
Balancing your lifestyle is completely necessary to a stress-free lifestyle. To help you balance your schedule, great aids are agendas. Make a "to do list" and organize it into a weekly planner. Prioritize all of your work. Also be sure to write down due dates and goals of when you want to finish tasks. Work on all your assignments each day and remember that procrastination is not an option. Working on projects last minute is extremely stressful on your body and your work will suffer from it. As you are building your schedule, make sure to have breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Doing all of this work is impossible without fueling your body with the right nutrients. Give yourself a day off and make sure you are having the right amount of sleep in order to stay healthy.
As you are building your schedule, you will probably need to make adjustments -- just find what works for you. And remember to stay happy and stay healthy. One of my favorite quotes for when life gets hectic is, "Stay calm in a stressful situation." So the clock is ticking, start organizing your time now!
Note: Melissa is currently in preparation for the 2008-2009 figure skating season. She will be participating in the Liberty Summer Competition in Aston, Pennsylvania, from July 15-19.