• Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.

    by Jayla Pope

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

    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

    by Paris Lane

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    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

    by McKinley Falkowski

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    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

    by Camryn McCrary

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    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

    by Paige DelBrocco

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    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

    by Sanjana Saji

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    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

    by Tory Harless

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    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

    by Kyle Linn

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    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.

     

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  • Transfer student transitions: Learning to balance everything under the sun (car)

    by Brandt Damman

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    Thumbnail Photo: Two members of Solar Car holding a windshield above the newly constructed solar car.  From left to right: Rachel Eckert, Composites Manager & Materials Engineer; Samuel Winter, Aerospace Engineer.

     

    A new university, a new horizon. Since last spring, I have graduated from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and transferred to Iowa State University (ISU) to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. The overall transition from a two-year college to a four-year university was thankfully uneventful; however, I would soon realize the difference in how I should manage my time and work.

    Getting Involved (Again)

    After transferring, I was unable to continue my previous club activities – as most clubs at DMACC didn’t exist at ISU. I began a quest to find new clubs and hobbies.  I ran into an old colleague who mentioned a club they were in, Solar Car. I attended the following Solar Car team meeting and joined as an electrical member. My primary task was to learn how to read circuit board schematics and aid an older member with designing a battery protection system to monitor the car’s Lithium-Ion batteries. 

    In addition to being involved with Solar Car, I was interviewed and accepted for a part-time IT Technician position on-campus within the Psychology Department. As a technician, I responded to faculty requests regarding problems with their electronic equipment. On top of both positions, I continued full-time school at ISU and began to delve into my coursework, but I failed to realize the predicament I placed myself in.  Not only would I have to choose what I enjoyed most, but I would also learn valuable lessons in time management.

    Timing Trouble

    By midterms, I began to notice my work piling up unproportionally across all three tasks.  As the semester progressed, each task became more demanding with varying expectations. The increasing expectations and workload resulted in several consequences. The two most notable and foremost consequences were my declining homework quality and diminishing amount of sleep.  In an attempt to correct my time management errors, I spent more time working late at night to catch up on homework. This not only resulted in a poorer quality of work, but it also reduced my number of hours of sleep. To top it all off, the more time I committed to work, the less time I was able to spend with my family, even during holiday breaks.

    Despite my attempts to manage all three tasks, I still deviated from my intended goals and needed to cut my losses during the last few weeks of the semester. I reduced my work on Solar Car, cut back my hours at work, and submitted the homework I could produce within the hours I allotted.  This admission helped me regain some sleep and focus for final examinations.

    Keep Moving Forward

    Taking on a job while balancing coursework and car manufacturing was a worthwhile endeavor.  This circumstance brought to light how much I have yet to comprehend regarding time management, but I also learned a great deal about different engineering majors, computer management, and a wide range of topics from my classes.  With the deviation from my goals and a poor management of time and work, I learned a few valuable lessons:

    • One, when scheduling courses and extracurricular activities, ensure that the time scheduled is rarely deviated.
    • Two, schedule everything as early as permittable.
    • Finally, while work comes first, ensure there is plenty of time for rest and relaxation

    I will undoubtedly incorporate these ideas into my schedule next semester and beyond. As the future brings a spectrum of challenges, I will continue Solar Car as an Electrical Systems Manager and remain confident no matter what the future may hold. There will always be something to look forward to as the sun rises.

     

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  • Maximizing your college experience

    by Sam Brinkman

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    College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You get to explore new ideas and adventures while learning and embracing different cultures at your school. It is an eye-opening experience that goes by in an instant. This stage in life is where people discover who they truly are because they must make decisions on their own every day. It can be frightening at first and take a serious toll on your mental health if you are not prepared. It is important to experience as much as possible while still getting good grades. Despite what some may say, it is possible to do everything you imagined and more in college while still maintaining a quality GPA. It is not always easy, but with commitment you can build good habits that will last a lifetime. Here are 4 steps you can take to help maximize your college experience in and out of the classroom.

    Understand Scheduling

    It is important to understand when you will be the busiest. For me, this is typically Thursday-Sunday. This is because most of my homework assignments are due around this time, and I have little time to complete them because I want to be out with my friends. That means in order to be stress-free on the weekends, you must complete your work ahead of time. People do not realize the time they waste early in the week because they think they have time to complete their assignments later. 

    Get It Done Early

    In reality, you only have about three days to complete your school work. Monday through Wednesday is where the battles are won and lost in school. You should wake up early during this time span and focus on completing assignments and reviewing material in your classes even when you are not in class. This will also help you for upcoming quizzes and tests because you will not forget old material. Keep in mind this is for an average school week; you may have to sacrifice some social time during weeks that are busier because of midterms and final exams. 

    Self-Improvement Time

    Now that you have school work out of the way, it is important to be proactive in college. So many people waste away their time playing video games and staying home when there is so much out there to experience. I would like to challenge you to improve on or learn something new during your time in college. For me, I have motivated myself to improve on my fitness and eating habits. It is truly rewarding when you consistently work for something and see the payoff by the end of the school year. Also, once you devote some time for self-improvement, it builds your confidence to go out with your friends and meet new people. 

     
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  • Getting ahead by planning ahead

    by Jesus Hernandez

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    Once the semester starts everyone’s schedules become busy. Between classes, work, friends, and health, there is so much to fit into their days. Everyone has different tasks throughout their day they need to get done and planning ahead makes that much easier. My schedule changes every day and there are tasks that come up unexpectedly; however, I have found a few methods that make my day less stressful. 

    Keep Your Calendar Updated

    One method to implement as a college student to accomplish all of your daily tasks is to make sure you have everything on your calendar. Whether it be a physical calendar or the one on your phone, having everything up to date on there will remind you what needs to be accomplished that day. Putting things in when you know you need to do it will make sure you don’t overlap anything.

    Make Your Calendar Effective

    To make a more effective calendar, add the amount of time each task should take you. For example: eat breakfast from 6 to 6:30 a.m., go to the gym from 7 to 8:30 a.m., and so on. Doing this will help you stay on pace to accomplish your daily goals, make sure you do not miss anything important, and allows you to see what times you have open. Adding times will also help you avoid overloading yourself and help you prioritize everything while also taking care of yourself.

    Know Your Priorities

    Prioritizing plays a huge part when adding to your calendar. Make sure you do not leave all of the longer tasks for the end of the week because it will be too much. Do the most important tasks first and try to take advantage of gaps that open up to complete other tasks. Taking advantage of gaps allows you to have more time on the weekends and release some of that stress. Prioritizing also helps you avoid procrastinating and keeps you on track for doing your best.

    Build in Breaks

    It is important to remember to take care of your health when having a busy schedule. You shouldn’t be skipping lunch to complete a task or only sleeping one hour because of an assignment. Your calendar is important, but doing only what is on there is not healthy. Make time for yourself. When I know there will be a home football game, I will plan ahead to make sure that come game-day I am not stressing over things that could have been accomplished earlier. Having an updated calendar will allow you to avoid these kinds of problems throughout the semester. 

    Overall, as a college student it is easy to take on more than you can handle and sometimes it is OK to do a little less to make sure you are not over stressing each day. Keep your calendar and remember it is OK to say no and devote some time to yourself. Find the balance that fits for you.

     

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  • College is a Balancing Act

    by Kennedy “Dani” Corley

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    I’ve always heard that hindsight is 2020, and now more than ever am I thankful that I developed a few tips along the way to make it through college in one piece – and with my degree of course. I assumed college would be fairly similar to high school in terms of the ability to juggle extra-curricular activities, class, and close relationships. Surviving freshman year felt like a breeze until it seemed like there just weren’t enough hours in the day for everything I wanted to accomplish. I always had time for watching an extra episode of my favorite Netflix show or catching a nap in between classes and still carving out time for my studies. 

    I didn’t realize how much time I was actually wasting until I began pledging a business fraternity and working 15 hours a week for my internship all while completing a 16 credit hour semester. I consistently felt overwhelmed and struggled to prioritize not only what was most important, but also time sensitive. After arriving to my apartment late one night, feeling exhausted and not having the chance to complete any of my assignments that entire week, I took some time to develop a few rules to influence myself to give precedence to things and people that were most important. 

    Rule #1: Create a Calendar and Stick to It!

    Google Calendar saved my life and my grades! This online platform allows you to visualize any events, assignments, exams or even lunch dates you have coming up while showing you the breaks you have in your schedule. At the beginning of every semester, I enter my class meeting times, fraternity events or meetings, family events, and everything in between to get a sense of where my time will be devoted every week. This online calendar also provides simple tools such as Tasks where you can enter on specific dates the assignments due, and Reminders which I use to remind me when bills are due or when to order a birthday gift. There is even an Events tool which allows you to specify the date, time, and location of any event going on. The visual aspect allowed me to see when I had time between classes or meetings to grab lunch or get some studying done. 

    Rule #2: You’re in College to get a Degree

    This is the first step of prioritizing your time and effort into something you originally came to college to accomplish. Gaining a well-rounded education definitely includes performing well in your area of study, but also how to spend your time outside of class in various clubs or organizations. However, in order to keep your scholarships and GPA intact, always prioritize getting your work done before the deadline. Completing assignments or beginning to study for an exam a few days in advance works wonders not only for your grades but also the availability of time you gain later on. Enjoy the time spent with friends and family along with achieving those academic goals. 

    Rule #3: Self-Care is the Best Care

    Speaking from personal experience, it is so easy to forget the importance of taking care of oneself physically, emotionally and especially mentally over the duration of the semester. We as college students exchange sleep to study for exams, consume tons of coffee to stay energized, and sometimes forget to eat with all things we have going on throughout the day. The significance of breaking away from your schedule to recharge and enjoy your hobbies or your favorite Netflix series is crucial the busier you become. Always remember, you can’t produce your best work if you don’t feel like your best self. 

    Sometimes you may feel like you are drowning, but there is a way to come to the surface. Learning the art of balance will keep you on the right foot and keep you from burning out. Finding what works for you earlier rather than later will keep you focused and stress free.

     

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  • Beating the Beginning of the Semester Scaries

    by Colleen Borian

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    There’s no better feeling than the relief of finals being over, the comfort of spending time with friends and family, and knowing there is no possibility you could be forgetting about an assignment for class over the break. Between celebrating traditions, being able to sleep in, and having an excuse to make yourself a guest in your own home, it’s safe to say adjusting to the “back home baller” lifestyle is one we all look forward to. 

    Once the excitement of the holidays dwindles down and the new year is rung in, the start-of-semester scaries are a real thing. It may seem hard to get ahead in school before you have any assignments, but by taking the time to do a few things to prepare will ease the stress of being thrown back into reality.

    Establish Email Inbox Ease 

    Take the time to clear out your inbox and update your email organization system. While I liked to think my color-coded, folder-filled inbox is tidy, I realized I still had emails from professors about classes I took two years ago. Deleting unnecessary emails makes searches easier and can create a less overwhelming feel. Don’t have your inbox organized? No worries – take time to create some folders, labels, or develop a system that you can start to utilize during the semester.

    Clear Up Your Computer

    Regardless of how neat and ordered your files and documents were at the beginning of last semester, it is safe to say by the end the system was a bit unorganized. Take some time to delete any old files or back them up if you may need them in the future. I like to do this, as well as create folders for my upcoming classes, so I can get right to work once class starts. This is also a great time to clean up your phone. Backup or upload your photos, then delete apps and pictures that do not serve any purpose. Not only will clearing up documents and photos prevent the dreaded “out of storage” warnings, but it can allow you to move on from the previous semester’s stress. 

    Schedule Around Your Syllabus

    As soon as you know your class schedule, you can plug that into your preferred system of organization. I use a digital calendar to track where I need to be and when, so I am planning on putting in all of my class times before the semester begins. If your professor uploads the syllabus early, take some time to jot down any assignment due dates. I do this in a physical planner, and I always feel better when I start the semester knowing where I need to be and when. 

    One of the best parts of winter break is the joy of not worrying about having to do work, but completing these small tasks can make a big difference when syllabus week ends and reality kicks in. These are perfect to do while watching a movie, hanging out with family, and even provide a great excuse to go to your favorite hometown coffee spot with friends! 

     

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  • School, Job, Internship: Finding time for it all

    by Elise Aguerrevere

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    Finding time for an internship or job can seem impossible while trying to get used to a new course load of challenging classes. Whether you need a somewhat steady income to pay your bills or just some extra cash for going out on the weekends, most college students find themselves searching for a job at some point throughout their four years at school. Plus, fall and spring term internships are just as plentiful as summer internships now. Although it may seem like you could never find the time to balance these opportunities with your class schedule, employers can be understanding and will often put your academics first. It’s all about finding the right fit for you. 

    Just the thought of having to find a job is daunting to many students. Thankfully, most universities have a career center that is there to help you find job and internship listings. They can direct you to on-campus positions that fit with your class schedule. Some on-campus jobs even pay for your meal plan or housing on top of your salary. On-campus jobs are a great way to make some money and build your resume while still staying in touch with your academics as they are not allowed to schedule you to work during your classes. 

    Internships can be more tricky to balance with classes as they can often take up more time than an average part-time job. Getting creative with your schedule can help. You could try to schedule all of your classes in the mornings or only on certain days of the week so that you can better fit those internship hours into your schedule. Another option is to consider taking a class or two online. Often times online classes are not as intense as in person ones and allow you some flexibility on when you complete assignments. Now that you have a few extra hours where you do not have to be on campus for class, you can put those hours into your internship.

    It is all about finding what works best for you. Being honest and upfront with your employer about how you are doing in school is also important. They will most often prefer that you do well in your classes than overwhelm yourself at work. If you find yourself falling behind in school, speak with your boss and maybe ask if you can take an afternoon off to study for that exam you have coming up. They can be more understanding than you think. 

    At the end of the day, balancing your academics with work or an internship is all about time management. You have to find what works best for your schedule and never forget that your studies should always come first. 

     

     
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  • Increase Your Productivity by Taking Things One Day at a Time

    by Sarah Ambuehl

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    Imagine having enough time in each of your days to complete everything you needed to accomplish. I have found with a little bit of planning, this is possible! There is always something that you can be doing as a student whether it be homework, studying, going to organization meetings on campus, laundry, or even making food for yourself. With all of these lingering obligations it can feel extremely overwhelming. Here are three ideas to help you avoid feeling too busy to function.

    Plan out your semester

    First things first, make sure to buy a planner at the beginning of the year. A planner can help you to keep track of life’s responsibilities. When beginning the semester, I always write down my class schedule for each day so I can record assignments, exams, and whatever else that was mentioned in class. Next, I will go through my syllabus and write down set dates of assignments or quizzes the professor has listed which helps to prepare for what is coming! 

    Once your planner is ready to go, make sure to utilize it. I color code each of my classes using colored pens and highlight things I need to go to such as work or events. Doing this helps me see what’s going on at a quick glance. 

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  • Lessons Learned as a College Student-Athlete

    by Brad Robison

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    A college student’s schedule fills quickly with classes, homework, studying, and more. Not much time is left for extracurriculars, so students have to be selective when it comes to how they spend any extra time they’re left with. While most students choose to spend these small amounts of time taking on new hobbies, joining clubs, or maybe even partying, I don’t exactly have the luxury to fully embrace some of these opportunities. I decided at a young age to commit myself to athletics and after many years of hard work, I accomplished my goal of becoming a student-athlete by being fortunate enough to join my university’s NCAA water polo team. 

    As a high school student-athlete my days were long and filled with morning practice, classes, afternoon practice, plus each day’s homework and studying. I thought this would prepare me for the brutality of being a student-athlete in college, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. In college, my schedule is ever-changing with different times for morning swims and lift sessions, classes, and travelling to games almost anywhere in the state on any given day. It makes the routine I had in high school seem almost comfy. To be honest, sometimes it gets overwhelming trying to plan ahead which days to sleep in, when I have assignments, and all the little things in-between. However, it is days like these when I know that I am able to make the most out of my experiences and grow as a student, athlete, and person. I have learned a lot of lessons from athletics and want to encourage those considering the same by sharing a few.

    Time Management

    Possibly the most valuable skill as a college student, budgeting time has become second nature to me. For example, I have found that I am my most productive during the early mornings when my brain is fresh and clear and before the fatigue from afternoon practices set in. Additionally, I have learned how important it is to be productive during the small gaps in my schedule so that my work is more spread out and doesn’t need to be done in one long sitting.

    Discipline and Sacrifice

    Being disciplined is no doubt the most difficult task to exhibit while in college. With there being an endless amount of distractions each week, it is almost shocking that students are able to get anything done at all. Being a student-athlete has taught me that no matter how convenient it would be to skip class and take a nap or how tempting a party the night before a game may be, if I take a minute to contemplate my goals both academically and athletically, I am able to make the right decision and go to class or go to bed early so that I am well-rested for the next day.

    Living a Balanced Lifestyle

    Living a balanced life is, in my opinion, one of the keys for making the most of the opportunities given to you and is different for every person based on their personality and goals. For me, being a student-athlete provides great balance to my life as it compels me to eat healthy, exercise consistently, and allows for time to spend engaging with my peers.

    Friendship and Teamwork

    Perhaps the most cliché thing an athlete would say is how much they value the friendships they’ve been able to make through their sport. And although it’s common to hear, it’s also true. Being a member of a team instantly makes you a part of this giant new family that shares all the experiences, both high and low, that you go through, resulting in unbreakable bonds that endure throughout college.

    Although the extra baggage of being a student athlete does interfere with some of the more typical college activities, the benefits taken away have far outweighed all of the other opportunities I may have missed out on as a college student. Using these skills, I am able to make the most of every opportunity before me and be the most productive, healthy, and happy version of myself. If you are considering participating in a sport in college, whether it is for your school’s team, club team, or even intramurals, I highly encourage to do so because there are benefits that come from being part of athletics.

     

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  • Student-Approved Secrets to Managing Your Time Effectively

    by Alana Castle

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    Close your eyes and picture this: it’s the night before your Chemistry midterm and you have yet to study. You know that you are unprepared for the exam, but you have been too busy cramming to finish a 10 page paper for your Global Studies class to review the material. When you finally submit your paper, minutes before the deadline, you are exhausted and fall asleep on top of your Chemistry textbook. A week later, you get your grades back and find out that you received a D on your midterm and a C on your paper. 

    If you are like most college students, this scenario likely feels all too familiar. And, if you’re me, it reminds you of the time this actually happened to you during your first semester of freshman year. Regardless as to whether you’ve been there once or twice in your college career or find yourself in this position regularly, there are ways that you can escape the black hole of ineffective time management. So sit down, grab a coffee or a snack, and allot yourself 10 minutes to read this blog because I am going to share with you some secrets that I have learned that can help you make the most of your time!

    Schedule, schedule, schedule! 

    The reason time management becomes an issue for most college students is because having the freedom to make your own schedule often results in no schedule at all. I have learned that planning out my days is vital to my success as a student. By giving everything in your schedule—no matter how small—a deadline, you’re actually freeing up time for other things. I have found that sitting down each evening and writing out my obligations and assignments for the next day has helped me manage my time effectively. Whether you use an agenda, online calendar, or the reminder feature on your phone, creating a game-plan for your day will keep you motivated and on track. Nothing motivates me more than waking up knowing exactly where I need to start.

    Hold yourself accountable!

    Planning out what you need to do each day doesn’t always mean that all of your responsibilities will be accomplished. The secret to scheduling is learning to hold yourself accountable to your plan. Also, keep in mind that this does not mean that you cannot be flexible, but it does mean that, if you said you were going to study between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., you actually sit down and do it. Maximize your productivity in those two hours you allotted yourself by minimizing your distractions. Put electronic devices down or away and find an environment that fits your specific needs. If that means finding somewhere quiet in order to focus, or sitting outside because the fresh air boosts your mood, do exactly that!

    Find time for what is most important—YOU!

    The aspect of scheduling and accountability that seems to scare most college students is the misconception that there will be no time left for yourself. The beauty of a schedule is that you are able to arrange time for what is most important—your physical and mental well-being! I know that it can be all too easy to devote every waking moment you have to school and work. But studying all the time often leaves you feeling unmotivated, unhappy, and burnt out. When you create your agenda, think about what brings you joy. For me, that is time to go for a run, practice yoga, grab dinner with friends, or visit one of my favorite art museums. Doing this may seem counter-intuitive, but by giving yourself a break, you are setting yourself up for success. You will be able to tackle things more effectively if you are physically rested and mentally rejuvenated!

    I can thankfully inform you that, although I may not be able to retake that freshman year Chemistry midterm or rewrite the Global Studies paper, my academic performance has since improved immensely by learning how to manage my time effectively. The next time you feel swamped, take some time to implement these student-approved secrets into your daily life. Just 10 minutes a night can help you to make the most of your time and take back the control of your personal, professional, and academic success!

     

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