Pick your poison: How to know how and when to buckle down, step up to the plate and face the challenges of school, work and life in general.



Here we are again, nearing the end of another quarter at Bellevue College. For some of us (and you know who you are), it’s crunch time. I know the scramble to cobble together assignments for missed points and the delusions of pulling a 97.8 percent on the final all too well.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to buck the habit this quarter, but my sympathies are still with my fellow procrastinators. Even the ones who have been on top of it face a challenging puzzle, though. Registration for winter quarter classes is in full swing after first opening only a few weeks ago and now it’s a fast-filling free-for-all.

It’s not easy to make big decisions against a ticking clock, especially when you’ve got the rest of your life to figure out. Basically, you’re trying to piece together your next three months based on availability, convenience and difficulty.

Availability is the easy stuff, just because there’s a yes or no answer to it at the end of the day. What’s my work schedule look like for the next few months? Am I even in a position to commit myself to school this quarter? Of course, everything works out pretty well after this step—with the exception of that one Monday shift that perfectly derails your plans. You know, the only one that you can’t get covered. Murphy’s Law strikes again.

Then there’s the convenience factor—this is where all the justifications start. Do I want to take a full load? Should I buckle down for six hours three days a week or grind it out every day for the rest of the winter? How do I link these class times together? Finally, the hardest one of all—the difficulty modifier. Can I pull off three math and science courses at once? Even if I can, where’s the line when enough is enough?

These questions weren’t as easy to answer for me as I once thought. Last year, I pulled a full load fin both all and winter quarters. I worked over every angle, every logistical contortion to get the best classes. We’re talking those cherry classes, the ones chained straight through peak times on campus, the ones that fit perfectly into your chosen degree that you actually had a moderate interest in. I thought that if I put school front and center and put myself in a place where I had to integrate with the new school, things were bound to work out.

Turns out, if you don’t want to do something enough, you’ll find a way to avoid it somehow. I ended up working 60 and  70 hour weeks at three jobs  in addition to my own startup business until crashing and burning halfway through my winter courses.

In the end, it was only thanks to the  grace  of a particular math professor that I was able to avoid laying waste to my transcript.

So I took spring quarter off—got the company off the ground, learned my lesson and put the rest of my life together. Now I’m back, and better for it. It’s time to let the games begin.