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.
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.
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