Accomplish It All: Organizing Your Priorities While Balancing Academics

Many people believe that surviving university requires you to be exceedingly intelligent or extraordinarily gifted. They are wrong. These traits, while certainly helpful, are not the most important qualities needed to successfully navigate your way to your degree. What is important is prioritizing, deciding early what you want to achieve during your time in university, and managing your time in a way that allows you to achieve these goals. Read more on how you can do each of these to accomplish your goals while in school!


The best way to decide on your priorities is to visualize what you see yourself doing in the next five years. This goal does not have to be clear-cut or absolute and can be as nonspecific or broad as deciding that you want to attend graduate school. Once you have decided, ask yourself what you can do with your time in undergraduate to help make this goal a reality. What are the GPA requirements? Is there anything you can do outside of your studies now to make you a more appealing candidate in the future? Then, conduct some research and find the answers to your questions. Once you do, make a list of the top three things that you can do to bring you closer to your goal. Those three things will be your priorities. Live by them. Every decision you make from then onwards should be in pursuit of one of your priorities.

This is where it gets tough. Many people make lists of what they want to accomplish early in the semester, but when the time comes to make sacrifices to help them fulfill these accomplishments, they usually neglect them. The very definition of a priority is something that takes precedence over other things. Therefore, if you find yourself constantly choosing the option that is in opposition to your goals, you have clearly lost sight of your priorities.

To successfully work towards your goals, there needs to be consistency. You cannot discard your priorities when they become cumbersome and retrieve them when it is convenient.

Your daily choices will eventually accumulate into what your future will be. It is up to you to ensure that those choices produce an outcome that you are pleased with.

Time Management:

Making good decisions does not necessarily mean that all of your time in school will be boring and unadventurous. Sure, there will be times when you will have to sacrifice your social life for your studies, but that does not have to be a constant occurrence. The key is time management. Arrange your study schedule around any social events that you may want to attend. With this method, you must maximize all times that you put aside for studying. If you decide that you are going to study three hours each day, then you must strictly adhere to that schedule. If you can accomplish this, then you are sure to have a successful in your studies.

University involves a great deal of hard work, but by deciding on a few priorities and working towards them, it can be manageable. However, it is important that you have the correct mindset and attitude towards your studies and that you are dedicated enough to remain consistent. I believe Benjamin Disraeli summed it up best when he stated that “the secret of success is constancy of purpose.”

Chevel Powell

Chevel Powell is an international student from Jamaica who currently studies at Dillard University. She intends to attend law school after completing her bachelors degree in Political Science. Her interests include; writing, reading, political analysis, volunteerism and taekwondo. She lives by the mantra "if it is to be, its up to me." She is commonly described as ambitious, assertive, goal oriented and altruistic.

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