College is different for every person, even if they are in the same field. The #ASKTFUI series follows our officers who are in college, have recently graduated, or are in graduate school answer some questions regarding organization.
Name: Melissa Cristina Marquez
Education: Currently pursuing her MSc in Marine Biology
How do you start your day?
My morning routine has mostly remained the same, despite the changes in my life. I wake up relatively early, around 7:45 AM. I try to have a cup of something hot, such a lemon water or peppermint tea. I try to get totally ready by 8:30 AM, including browse my e-mail and social media for any pressing issues. If I don't have work, I head to the library (to mooch off the free wi-fi) or my office at my University, given the day. By then I’ve eaten and spent time with my husband, so I can start the day very focused. The first thing I do when I sit down at my desk is open my notebook and write down what key things I want to accomplish during the day.
What is the best way to stay organized on a tight schedule?
I give myself some breathing room between assignments or meetings, allowing time for any last-minute issues to be resolved.
What is one organizational item can you not live without?
My planner! I have a whole system of color-codes based on topic (TFUI, MSc, Work, Personal, and so on). Next to each “to-do” on my list, I add a check box for me to check once the task has been completed. At the end of the day, I can see what has been accomplished and what has not been. This way, I can see what needs to be done and is priority the next day.
What do you do to stay focused on your work (i.e. what distractions do you get rid of)?
I can’t focus on my work if there are unwashed dishes, papers strewn about and overall rubbish. Depending on the work I am doing, I can’t listen to music, either (but white noise or the sound of rain works just fine). I do my best work when I’m in a quiet place, alone. Sometimes, though, it helps to brainstorm ideas with my team or chat with my husband.
What apps or programs do you use to stay on task?
I actually don’t use any! I’ve tried apps like “Evernote,” “Trello” and “My Study Life,” but I work best with writing things own. Plus, I’m making a concerted effort to spend less time on my phone (which is working out great right now, seeing as my phone fell victim to an attack of the Wellington Wind).
What is your advice to someone still in high school?
For somebody still in high school, I’d say two things: get good grades, but also take time to discover yourself by trying new things. High school and college are great points in your life to try volunteer positions, internships, or take a class that you normally would shy away from. Through these experiences, one can try to hone in on what makes you happy. Don’t fret about that—it’s okay if it isn’t clear right now! It may not be clear for several years, but starting to experiment with many things can start to give you an idea of what you are passionate about.
And while you start building the foundation to the rest of your life, remember to take time to enjoy the now. It is amazingly fleeting.
have any questions for melissa? contact her!
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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