Mastering Your Time

Stephanie MimsThe old saying, “jack of all trades, master of none” applies to most college and high school students today. We try to take on too many things all at once, none of which we can master. When your time is split between school, studying for exams, extracurricular activities, social time, sleeping, and family time, life becomes overwhelming.  This is especially true when trying to take on an internship and an actuarial exam in one summer.

As an actuarial student, we know how important studying is to our field and how much extra time it requires. During the school year, it’s challenging to keep up an A/B record in all your classes and study to pass an actuarial exam.  If you are like me, you decide summer will be a better time to study since you won’t have classes and you can focus solely on the exam material. However, halfway through the semester you end up with an internship position and underestimate the amount of time it takes to study for a passing score. This is exactly what happened to me this past summer when I tried to work an internship and study for an exam all in one summer.

Internships are just as important as exam credentials, but it would be nice to have both when you start looking for a job. Entering the summer, I thought I would be able to be an intern for eight to nine hours a day and then go home to study for my upcoming exam. I didn’t realize it would be so challenging to motivate myself after using so much brain power at “work.” I am not a morning person, so waking up at the crack of dawn was a feat in itself. Once I made it to my desk on time, I was tasked with new materials almost every day. As an intern, you learn a new skill with each task given to you. This is extremely taxing on the brain along with the stress of making the end result perfect. On top of the assigned work, I was required to interact with people constantly. As an introverted individual, having a conversation with someone for more than thirty minutes is mentally exhausting. I would come home more fatigued from communication than completing my work. This is because you have to think about facial expressions, try to remain business professional in what you say, and worry about the other person’s opinion of you all at the same time. After these long days, coming home to study is the last thing I would want to do. As my exam date approached, I found myself more motivated to study no matter how tired I was. It was definitely hard to make a good impression during the internship and succeed in studying for my exam.

When I am hired full time after college, I will have to find a way to work all day and study at night. Most companies do help out in this process by giving paid time off work to study, but it is a challenge to keep your motivation. My best advice is to surround yourself with people going through the same thing you are. When you realize you aren’t alone in this field, it’s easier to stay on a study schedule even with so many other life tasks going on at the same time