Plan for the Unexpected

By Teresa Ruminski
Student Mentor, College of Business

Online University Student Mentor

At WGU, each student is assigned a personal faculty member to work with them as a mentor throughout their time at WGU. Additionally, each course has its own course mentors, subject-matter experts who are available to help students get through course material. Advice from your mentors is invaluable as you make your way through your online degree program. But we also want you to benefit from the wisdom of mentors not necessarily assigned to you, so occasionally, The Night Owl features advice from WGU mentors in colleges throughout the university.

Our lives are busy. It may seem like we are busier these days than ever before, but every generation would likely agree that there has always been a great deal to do just to get from one day to the next. We are all given the same amount of time: 168 hours in a week, 24 hours in a day. This is the time we are given to work, raise families, learn, socialize and rest.

Balancing activities to fit within these fixed hours is a science all its own. Since I'm not a scientist, I will keep my advice simple when it comes to time management: Plan, but also take advantage of the time you have right now because it is not guaranteed to be there later.

WGU students engage in six-month terms to complete their courses. Six months is half a year, which sounds like a long time, but doesn't it feel like the new year arrived just yesterday? We can do our best to create a schedule, but even the best-laid plans encounter obstacles and the end of six months rapidly approaches.

As a mentor, I have supported students through many unexpected events that have impacted their progress as a student, including:

  • Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards
  • Illnesses, surgeries
  • Car accidents
  • Loss of loved ones, care of relatives
  • Extra work responsibilities, job loss

Of course, there are positive circumstances that arise that also hinder study time:

  • Promotions, new jobs
  • New family members
  • Last-minute trips and vacations
  • Family events, weddings

These unexpected events happen to all of us, and they always will. Unfortunately, we can't plan for unforeseen obstacles in the road. We can, however, take advantage of today to work toward our goals, which allows us to address unanticipated events with more available time and reduced stress.

If you find yourself saying, "I'll do it tomorrow," make that shift to do it today. The present is the only time we are guaranteed, and we can choose to utilize it or squander it. Choose wisely, and you will be rewarded in your efforts.

Western Governors University offers online bachelor's degree programs in accounting, marketing, sales, IT, business administration, and HR. Online master's degree programs include the MBA, MBA in IT Management, MBA in Healthcare Management, and M.S. in Management and Leadership.

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