When I first arrived in my host city, I noticed it was the season of “rebajas”, or sales, so most of the clothing and shoes were at much cheaper prices than usual. Who doesn’t love that right? While I wanted to check out as many stores as I could, there is only so much time (and money) that I have. I often found myself asking “should I go shopping today? Do I have time today or tomorrow?”. While I still ask myself this, it does not feel as overwhelming as before. At the beginning of this semester abroad, I felt like I needed to do as much as I could before classes officially started or that I could only go out during the weekends. I felt like I only had a certain amount of time that I could use for things like exploring food places or visiting the “touristy” sites, and that I had to finish everything within a certain time frame. I thought that I had to get over this part of the trip as soon as possible in order to not miss out on anything. However, as time went by, I started to realize that I didn’t have to put these imaginary deadlines on me.
While I do have to keep in mind the amount of time I have left abroad, I began to understand that as long as I manage my time well, I would be able to explore around Salamanca and Spain. I try to build a schedule that allows me to have flexibility in my week. One that allocates time for homework I may or may not have, as well as some free time. I prioritize finishing any work I have for class and try to do it during the weekdays in order to have most of my weekends free. I also try to do most of my work after a little break I give myself after I eat my “almuerzo” (lunch). On the days I have my afternoon class, I do my work after that class instead of after lunch. Regardless of the classes I have, I try to have a break sometime during the day. This break can consist of going to the store, a food place or even just taking a quick nap. I also do not limit myself on leaving everything for the weekend. If I notice that I do not have a lot of homework or things to do, I don’t hesitate to go out for some hot chocolate with a friend or go check out the “rebajas” during the week. If I have a free afternoon, I also like to walk around and check out some “touristy” spots or even places my professors have recommended. On the other hand, if I know that I have a lot of work or that I am feeling tired, I learned that it’s okay to say no to going out. I tell myself there will be more time later on. There is a balance for everything, and while my time management is still a work in progress, I think that it is now improving. Having a list of what I want to do and a list of what I have to do along with its deadlines helps. I have also begun to set up a schedule for possible trips I want to take both inside and outside of Spain. I do this while still keeping in mind my class dates and tests. There is more to come about this later, so stay tuned for the next blog!