Learning to Deal with the Unexpected

Time management I would like to think is one of my strong suits, despite the fact that I do not think of myself as the most organized person. For me life is all about a balance of academics/work, extracurriculars, and friends/family. While obviously there is a hierarchy, I always ensure to make some time for myself to enjoy good company, explore new places, etc. while also managing my responsibilities at work and school. That has been the theme of studying abroad so far as well. While I have been keeping up with my responsibilities such as blog posts, discussion boards, and obviously my tasks for my internship, I have also ensured I would get to explore Ireland as well other European countries. For example, this past weekend my friends and I took a trip to Galway to explore the coast and the Cliffs of Moher. It would be easy and within my comfort zone to stay put in Dublin and at UCD’s campus; however, why would I not take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to me! Especially when I can balance the time between my work hours and my social hours.

In terms of managing my time at my internship, I have found myself adjusting quite well. For my internship, I have been working at UCD’s IT Services Department for their summer initiative to update software and hardware on campus to better allow computer functioning and activity remotely. Thus, we have had to move throughout campus, working on several PCs in an area at once to wipe and reinstall Windows 10 Pro onto them to ensure they will be visible in Microsoft Azure’s system. Because we have to work on multiple PCs at once, time management is key. Thus, when one PC is taking time to download software, reboot, etc., we can take advantage of that downtime to work on another PC, switching back and forth so that no time is wasted. 

While obviously different from how I would approach schoolwork with my time management skills, I still need to know what works for me. For example, I know my work quality declines the later it gets into the day (especially past 6 pm), thus I try to get my work done in the early morning and afternoon. Luckily my job is 9:30-5pm every weekday, so getting quality work accomplished in the allotted time has never been an issue. Also, as someone who likes being given instructions and clear expectations for what to do with my time, my internship has been quite helpful. My supervisors lay out all of what I need to accomplish within a day (what computer area needs wiped and installed, where to go, etc.), thus I am able to juggle my responsibilities in time because I know the scale of my day and what I need to accomplish.

Despite my love of structure in that form, I am not the most structured individual. I do not keep a calendar or organizer of my responsibilities. Instead, I remind myself every morning and night what my responsibilities for the day/next day are and what I should work on and when. Luckily this method has yet to fail me in college but I know that’s definitely not for everyone!  

Finally, as I have learned over this past weekend, time management does not always go according to your ideal schedule. This weekend has been my most difficult of the trip so far. On my Galway trip I was hospitalized and learned I would later need minor surgery when back in Dublin. This was definitely difficult to swallow as I was unable to accompany my friends to the Cliffs of Moher and I missed out on a lot Galway had to offer. Not only that, but because I was feeling unwell I had to call off work much to my chagrin as I had certain responsibilities that I needed to accomplish this week. While such a big wrench in my plans/trip abroad is not great, time management is all about pivoting. You have to be able to readjust your schedules and shift things around based on unexpected circumstances. Thus, even though I was in pain, I managed to see some of Galway that I missed before we left back home for Dublin on the train. Not only that, but my coworkers were understanding and helped me pivot my time and responsibilities to days later in the week. All in all, I have definitely realized the importance of time management in the past two weeks here.