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  • A screenshot of Tahmina’s to-do list including upcoming assignments and due dates.

    3 Time Management Strategies to Boost Student Success

    Tahmina Tisha

    Imagine you wake up in the morning and realize you missed a deadline at 11:59 pm because you simply forgot about it. Sadly, this is a common occurrence for many college students. I was no different. My freshman year was scary. Everything was new to me and I had no idea how to manage all my classes. The grades did not look pretty. I was missing social time. The saddest part of all, I wanted to quit college because of how overwhelming it felt.

    It is easy to get overwhelmed when you don’t have everything in order but fear not! Here are three tips that helped me learn to manage both my academics and my social life.

    Write it Down.

    An important step in staying organized is to have one place to log all your plans and homework. This can be a digital or paper planner. As college students, our minds can wonder in several directions. When I started college, I had 7 classes, 2 clubs, and a job. Projects and homework assignments were coming from all directions. I went to the bookstore and got myself a planner. I wrote down all my homework and the due dates. This allowed me to gain a better perspective on when things were due and how long I needed to prepare. It also helped me pinpoint when I had free time to step away from schoolwork.

    Utilize Technology.

    Even with a planner, it can sometimes be hard to remember to check it. I found a great solution is to use apps on my phone for assignments that need to be done in the next couple of days. I am constantly checking my phone, so I turned that habit into a time management tool. My favorite app for this is Microsoft To Do. This helps to remind me when I have homework due tomorrow or a test to study for. One trick I use often is to set my due date a day early because as a college student, I procrastinate. This motivates me to do the work early.

    Take a Break.

    Finally, college classes can be overwhelming. Most students spend a lot of time studying without a break. When a computer is used for a long time without a break, it overheats. Our brain is similar. When we look at a computer screen or a book for too long, it becomes harder to see or retain any of our work. Having an estimated study time can be very helpful. For example, during long study sessions, set an alarm or timer to remind you to take a 15-minute break after each hour. This trick will let your brain relax and refresh.

    These three tips have helped me survive my freshman year. As a sophomore, I can easily manage 6 classes, 4 clubs, and 2 jobs. I still feel overwhelmed sometimes, but by planning ahead, I am able to take time for a break without adding to my stress levels. It also allows me time to maintain my social life. College is about meeting new people, experiencing new things, and discovering who you are. Having better time management skills allows you to really take advantage of all college has to offer.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

  • Three female college students are sitting in a lobby. The student on the right is showing a document to the other two students.

    Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.

    Jayla Pope

    A college student's To-Do list is almost never ending. Most students are in school full-time, working, and involved in extra curriculars. Making time for school and your personal life can be challenging. Creating a plan that you will adhere to for all of your responsibilities is important to mastering time management. This plan will help hold yourself accountable, and even aid in rewarding you in your achievements. Here are some tips that you can take to create a schedule that works for your daily life and allows you make time for what matters most – you!

    Recognize Your Priorities

    The first step to creating a schedule that encompasses work life balance is making a list of your priorities. Start with the things that are of most importance. For college students that is normally school. If possible, choose classes that will help you be your best self. If you are a morning person, create a schedule that allows you to wake up and start your day early. If you are a late riser, curate a schedule that lets you ease into your day. After classes, be sure to carve out a special time for studying. All college students know that doing work outside of class is just as important as going to class. When you carve out time to study, you don’t have to worry about trying to “make time.”

    Build in Breaks

    Beyond just classes, it is critical to save time for yourself and the things you like to do. Most students think they can hang with friends when they get around to it, or make time for themselves later, but unfortunately that time rarely comes. You have to make sure you make time to allow yourself to recover from handling your responsibilities.

    An example work week schedule could be classes every other day from 10am-4pm. Perhaps you are involved in an extracurricular from 4-6 or want to grab a bite to eat. To end the night, you could study from 6pm-8:30pm. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest to be fueled for the next day. In between the days you have classes, you could work a part-time job or do things that interest you.

    Find Accountability Partners

    One of the most important steps in maintaining a set schedule is consistency. Creating the schedule is only the first part of the race, but to get to the finish line you must adhere to the schedule you created. Of course, things will sporadically occur; that is an aspect of life. However, you should do your best to make sure that you stick to your schedule. The best way this can be achieved is by informing your friends, family, and peers of your schedule. These people around you can be your accountability partners.

    Sharing your schedule with your friends can also be beneficial because they can possibly match up their schedule with yours. An example of this could be grabbing breakfast together or creating a study group. The best part of accountability partners is that they want to see you succeed, so they should be aiding you in doing so. Even if you start to divert from your schedule too much by slacking off or not maintaining your priorities, your accountability partner can help you recognize this (in a respectful way of course) so you can get back to being your best self.

    In order to plan your work, then work your plan, you have to be organized, committed, and have discipline. These key characteristics will help you obtain your goals and have a healthy work life balance. Creating the schedule that works best for you is important to keep you working through it. Prioritizing is important because it allows you to spend time doing the things that matter most first, then use the rest of your time accordingly. Lastly, sharing a glimpse of your day-to-day schedule with your friends, family, and peers can be extremely beneficial in avoiding distractions and making sure your “to-do” list is getting done!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

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    How to stay organized when facing a hectic schedule

    Paris Lane

    As there is so much to do on a college campus, it is common to want to fill your schedule with club activities, meetings, events, and more. Typically, the further along you are in school, the more packed your weekly schedule becomes. For some, this can become overwhelming very quickly. One of the keys to maintaining a successful college career is to stay organized. By making a list of important dates ahead of time in the Notes section of your phone, keeping up with a monthly planner, or utilizing online calendars, students can ensure that they never miss an assignment or important event and use their time at school to the fullest extent possible.

    Cell phone resources

    One of the most helpful, and most overlooked, resources on cell phones is the Notes section. This application provides a great place to list out all the important dates for the semester in one organized location. In order to give yourself a general overview for the semester, it is helpful to make a list of the courses you are taking this semester as well as all the organizations that you are a part of. Under each of these, you can make a bulleted list of upcoming important due dates or meeting dates and times.

    This serves as a convenient resource to refer to during the busy times of the semester or finals week. My favorite personal feature of the Notes section is the option to create a to-do list. With this option, you can put bubbles beside each date or assignment and check it off after completion. This serves as a good motivator because you can see all of the difficult or fun things you have completed throughout the semester!

    Keeping a planner

    Another way to have all your important dates at hand is to keep up with a monthly planner. Planners are a great way to stay on track as they give you the option to display your information as detailed or long-term as you choose. You can select a planner for the calendar year or academic year, plus choose the layout you prefer: monthly, weekly, daily, or a combination.

    Having options is nice because you can flip ahead to any given point within the semester and know what to expect coming up, as well as what you need to be working on day to day to ensure that you do not fall behind. As these are generally pretty small in size, you can put it in your backpack and carry it around with you anywhere. I bring my planner to class and write down homework assignments as they are assigned so it is not as overwhelming all at once.

    Schedule reminders

    If you want your phone to send you digital reminders, and you have a generally repetitive schedule, online calendars make organization simple as you can assign tasks and block out times every week for recurring events. Google calendar and the Microsoft Outlook calendar are just two examples of organized online resources that can be color-coded and set up however you choose. You can set up these to send you reminders everyday at set times that you choose. In addition, these are often free of charge so they can be a good alternative to planners. My favorite feature is that these online calendars are shareable with whoever you choose. This makes coordination with groups, friends, or teams a lot easier as you don’t have to manually detail your whole schedule out over text!

    Being a student in college can be extremely busy and overwhelming. One of the big fears that comes with this is falling behind or missing assignments. There are many ways to help yourself stay organized, including the Notes section on your phone, yearly planners, and online calendars. If you choose to use even one of these methods, you can save yourself the stressful task of trying to memorize events and due dates and you can work smarter, not harder!

     

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    Freshmen: Create good habits to achieve first year success

    McKinley Falkowski

    Your freshman year of college is one of momentous change and growth. Prior to starting my journey at the University at Buffalo, I was terrified of what college held for me. I knew almost nobody on campus and came from a high school program that had roughly 18 people in it compared to a university with a student body of 30,000. Additionally, obvious differences like more demanding work terrified me of what was about to lay ahead.

    Because I am a History major with a focus on Education, I spent many days back at my high school obtaining classroom observation hours. Senior friends still in high school and about to go off on the same journey would ask me, “how did you survive your freshman year?” The fear of the freshman year of college is universally terrifying, but I took advantage of the challenges thrown at me and was able to succeed.

    While explaining a key fundamental difference between high school and college, I ask students this question: “whose fault is it if you fail?” Most students respond that it is the teacher’s fault, to which I respond, in college, it is not the professor’s fault if you fail, it is yours. This fundamental difference means that students need to change their approach to school, like I did in my freshman year.

    Show up for office hours

    One of the changes I made was taking advantage of office hours. This is where students go to their professor for help if they don’t understand material. Even if I felt I understood the material, I would always try to see my professors once a week to develop personal relationships. Sometimes I would realize that I did not always have a fully accurate grasp of the material. Office hours completely transformed me as a student. College freshmen should take advantage of them if they wish to succeed in the new environment.

    Tackle time management

    An additional adjustment I had to make had to do with time management. In college, so many assignments are thrown at you and you need to be able to juggle them all at once. That is why during the first week of classes, I take the syllabus from each class and write when all assignments are due in my agenda. This way I am always able to see when an upcoming assignment is due, won’t lose track of any assignments, and always see when a quiz or exam is coming up. Many times a professor will not remind you when something is due, they will just expect it to be done.

    Be alert for lectures

    A final element I had to change was my ability to pay attention in lecture halls of over 300 students. I made sure to choose a seat in the front of the class, otherwise I knew I might doze off. I also made sure my phone was turned off to minimize distraction. Finally, I found that actively writing notes using pen and paper increased my ability to focus on the material being presented.

    College is fundamentally different than high school, and it is terrifying for almost all people in their freshman year. However, these are some of the strategies I used to succeed, and I know you will be able to use them to succeed, too.

     

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    Time is valuable: Utilize tools wisely

    Camryn McCrary

    College is considered to be the best four years of your life, but some great things can come with a cost. With the large amount of freedom, flexibility, and independence, it can be hard to stay on the right schedule and not procrastinate. Especially since college always seems to have something going on, whether its homework, a test, a club event, or just hanging out with friends; you start to hit a wall of work overload. Fortunately, the following tips may be able to help you both have fun, as well as balance the many challenges that college brings us.

    Use Technology

    Many college students already have a large collection of textbooks, papers, worksheets, and other things that may overload your brain. However, using different technology platforms can help you stay on track and even lower anxiety levels. Whether it’s your laptop, tablet, or phone, using a digital planner is a great way to have your deadlines and reminders at your disposal. Inputting all the information and deadlines for the semester allows you to plan ahead for any big projects or tests. The visual representation of a crazy college schedule will also help you better balance your obligations so that you can physically see where you may feel overwhelmed and be proactive in it.

    Keep a Routine

    Since college doesn’t have anyone monitoring where you are and what you are doing, it can be really easy to fall out of structure or routine. Having a solid regular routine is important to help you avoid procrastination, which ultimately leads to that stressed out feeling. Referring back to the use of technology, setting up recurring tasks in your calendar will help you develop habits and new routines. Examples of this could include blocking off time in between classes for activities, such as going to the gym, studying, grocery shopping, and other activities.

    Set Rewards

    Just like any other situation, rewarding ourselves after reaching our goal helps us feel more confident that we can achieve even greater challenges. This feeling of pride after achieving a goal allows us as students to feel motivated to be more productive in whatever work we are doing. Just like when you run a race and are rewarded with a medal, you should read a chapter, or finish an assignment, and then reward yourself with a tasty treat, a 10-minute break, or whatever puts your mind back at ease.

    Maintain a Healthy Balance

    Sometimes we all just want to get certain assignments or projects out of the way faster than we think. However, it is extremely important to be able to maintain a healthy balance of everything on our plate. Piling everything up and trying to complete it all in one sitting will easily cause a work overload. It is completely fine, and necessary, to schedule in rest, relaxation, and fun when working or planning out your week. Every single day doesn’t have to be all work and no play, because having those down times to ourselves helps us recharge and refresh our minds in order to better prepare us for our next task.

    Through time management you are not only able to get your work done, but you will also have the feeling of being accomplished and time for things that you love. Know your time is valuable, so think of as that and take care of it.

     

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    Good time management allows you to succeed in college while still pursuing your passions

    Paige DelBrocco

    As a fourth year college student, I understand how tough it can be to find the time to focus on hobbies or do things that you are passionate about. For me, drawing and being creative is what makes me feel fulfilled, but sometimes I feel guilty working on my art when I have an exam to study for or an essay to write. I realized that in order to live a happy, productive and positive life, I should not feel bad doing the things I love to do. Here are some tips and tricks that I have found useful to manage my time, while still pursuing my passions.  

    School Comes First

    The best way to avoid feeling bad about working on things other than school is to stop procrastinating and get all of your obligations out of the way first. As soon as I finish with classes each day, I like to get started on my assignments that have upcoming due dates. Rather than immediately grabbing my iPad to doodle after class, I will try to get at least two things done. This makes me feel like I have accomplished something and helps me relieve the stress that comes with being a busy college student. Not having to think about those assignments that I just finished lets me unwind and destress, so I can draw and create without worry.

    Put Your Phone Away

    As we all know, smartphones are a huge distraction. I have found myself aimlessly scrolling on TikTok or Twitter for hours on end, and then realizing I only have an hour until I should go to sleep. It is extremely difficult to do—believe me, I know—but I recommend putting the phone down for a few hours of the day to devote your undivided attention to your schoolwork or hobby. This will give you the time to focus on something either productive or satisfying, which is the whole point, right?

    Schedule a Spot for Your Hobbies

    Enjoying our hobbies or passions is just as important as the other day-to-day tasks we are obligated to do—like work and school. I like to make a to-do list on the Notes app on my phone, and I always make sure drawing makes the cut. Not only are you making sure you set aside time for it, but putting it in writing with things that are deemed as important gives it its own sense of significance. 

    Being a college student is definitely not easy, and it can be hard to find the time to do things you love. Don’t let the responsibility of school get in the way of your hobbies. By following these easy tips and tricks—I promise you will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

     

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    Keeping a full plate steady

    Sanjana Saji

    I’ve always been told that ‘your college experience is what you make of it.’ I never truly understood what that meant until this past year. I am a senior at Penn State University and I just completed my first year at the main campus, University Park. To go from a small branch campus that’s only two hours away from home to attend a large ‘typical college style’ campus that is a five-hour trip away is a big change that I had to mentally prepare myself for. 

    Walking into junior year, I realized that I only have two years at the main campus to experience and accomplish everything that I wanted to, which is an endless list in reality. Thankfully, time management and decision making weren’t my weaknesses, but these were two of my skills that were constantly tested. I had an unfaltering positive attitude and an ambitious drive walking into junior year, which is a big part of how I accomplished so much and still managed to keep calm throughout.

    I had multiple things on my plate which included my classes, my job with Pearson, dance team, and being a director for a student organization. Other things on my schedule that didn’t occur weekly included meetings for the national honor society that I’m a part of, attending TA office hours, group projects, and social events. Personally, I like to stay busy and limit my free time because that’s what helps me sustain a productive lifestyle. With so much on my plate, here are a few tools that I use to stay organized and manage my time.

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    College students: 3 great ways to take time for yourself

    Tory Harless

    One of the biggest struggles that I have faced in college was feeling overwhelmed. As a freshman, I constantly felt like every day I was on a strict schedule that I couldn’t break away from if I were to complete everything that needed to be completed for that day. While in college I have had two part-time jobs, full class schedules every semester, and have been involved within my sorority.

    Most days my schedule consisted of work, hurrying to eat lunch, class, homework, hurrying to dinner, and then either more work, homework, or meetings. I was going out of my mind and started to feel really unhappy. Until one day I made myself take a step back from this stress creating cycle and realized why I always felt so over worked and exhausted. Here are 3 good habits I’ve found really help me take time for myself.

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    The benefits of a balanced life

    Kyle Linn

    Rarely do college students have school as their only responsibility. Properly managing jobs, extracurriculars, relationships, and personal health is an extremely important tool for succeeding both in and outside of school. Finding the balance between all of these is different for each person, but figuring out what works best for you is the first step.

    Recognizing the Problem

    As a student with two jobs, completing various major-related responsibilities, and mentoring three freshmen, it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all. My original method to address this situation was to set goals for each day. This was inspired by a 2014 commencement speech for the University of Texas by William McRaven, where he states, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and encourage you to do another task… and another… and another…” While my goal setting wasn’t limited to making my bed, it would be equally simple, like studying for half an hour or completing a specific assignment. Accomplishing these tasks within my allotted 24 hours gave me the feeling of productivity, but I found myself procrastinating these tasks until 11:30 p.m. I needed a sense of structure with my chores.

    Finding a Solution

    I decided to begin waking up at the same time every day, regardless of when I went to sleep the night before. If I went to bed at 10 p.m., I needed to be up by 7 a.m. the next day. Even if I went to sleep at 3 a.m., I still needed to be up at 7 a.m. This consistent wake-up time allowed me to have the same amount of time to myself each morning to do any tasks I had set that day. Keeping the same schedule and completing my tasks earlier in the day meant I had more time for other activities. I started attending clubs, I got two jobs, and I became a business mentor in my university. Additional responsibilities aren’t the only thing I gained from a consistent schedule though.

    Getting A Little Extra

    With the extra time I had, I was able to plan my meals and spend actual time cooking. Morning sugary cereals became eggs with toast and spinach. A rushed Panda Express lunch became a meal that I had prepped hours, sometimes days ahead of time. With a healthier diet I have more energy, things like working out or studying no longer felt like a chore. It took over a year to figure out my own personal grove, what worked for me, what didn’t. Even today I’m still finding new ways to better budget my time and energy, but the benefits of it are incredible.

    I’m thankful for a stressful beginning. Without it, I may have never been pushed to change. A healthy schedule can change your approach to each day, each month, each term, and maybe even each year. When you’re not stressed day-to-day, you find more time to plan long term goals.