Undergrads, graduate students, faculty and staff met over dinner to discuss what we'd like to spend more time on, less time on, and any suggestions we have that have helped us do so. Here are a sampling (not necessarily in the order that they were discussed):
1. Prioritize, and lower your standards on items that don't really matter (like the punctuation in this email!)
2. Cultivate good relationships with the office people, and those in the know in the dining halls. They are the ones who know procedures, shortcuts, how to process which paperwork and in what order it needs to be done. And, in an emergency, they are the ones who know how to bail you out.
3. Try to set aside some cookies in the freezer--then you can bring a variety the next time you need to bring something somewhere.
4. Laundry is overrated--if its not really dirty, don't wash it yet. But find a way to keep it out of the clean pile so it doesn't get forgotten.
5. If you don't know where to go, ask someone rather than getting bogged down with it.
6. Don't feel bad about not going to the gym when you'd really rather be getting your exercise out of doors.
7. Find people to do things with. Our little lists made us realize most of us want to be more physically active, several would like to dance more, and there is an African Dance class on Wednesdays at the Westcott community Center. This kind of builds on a pre-dinner discussion: some of us knit, others would like to learn--we foresee some lessons in the future.
8. Pleasure reading: Book clubs have merit, but require you to have read a specific book or portion thereof in a specific amount of time. Instead, get recommendations of books that friends have enjoyed, and put aside 15-20 minutes at the end of the day.
9. Find a (or several) delivery place. Because so many of us are already overtasked, we planned that those who could would bring something to contribute, and those that couldn't would bring a few dollars. We pooled the funds and ended up with an almost complete meal, and some nice discussion with some folks we wouldn't otherwise have had the opportunity to meet.
We did get a little off the track of the balancing theme later in the discussion, but since some of us wanted to spend more time with friends old and new, maybe that's not such a bad thing.
This potluck supper was coordinated by the Graduate Student Association and the ESF Women’s Caucus.