How to Properly Manage Your Time in College
You’ve finally committed to your dream school, and now you’re thinking of all of the fun that you’re going to have as a new college student. That is until you realize that you actually have classes to go to and homework to complete while balancing everything else. Coming into a new school year can seem overwhelming and anxiety-ridden at the start, especially if you’re new to the process. Many students aren’t sure of what to do to avoid piling up work, projects, and other assignments. Unless you enjoy giving yourself the old “Why didn’t I start this sooner?!” speech over a 3 am cup of extra caffeinated coffee, here are a few tips to make sure those all-nighters are a thing of the past.
It’s wise in the beginning of a new school year or semester to get a visual sense of what your year is going to look like. Using a calendar, planner, or agenda is an easy way to do so.
By using these, you can mark the due date of each assignment, categorized by class. Instead of shuffling through the syllabus from each class trying to figure out what is due, you can see everything one day at a time. So when your professors give you the schedule for each course, write down each assignment (including projects and papers) so you can see when big projects or assignments will be due. This also helps if you find that you have multiple projects due at the same time. You can plan ahead to avoid confusion and frustration.
If you’re not into the idea of having to write everything down at once, do it by week! Get a whiteboard to hang in your bedroom or by your desk and have slots for each day of the week.
Do something every day.
Even though you may not have any hardcore assignments due the next day, make it a habit to work ahead of time. Even if it’s just an assignment or two, it will save you some unneeded stress in the long run and you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I already finished that assignment!” instead of doing it the night before. Try to take a half hour to an hour each day to focus on classes you may be struggling in. This will give you time to ask questions and get clear answers from your professors or classmates. Try and work on the smaller tasks of a large project first. Even if it’s just an outline for a paper or presentation, it’s less work that you’ll have to do later on.
Make friends with your professors.
I’ve made friends with most of my professors in the first semester of college. Yes, I said it- My professors are my friends. Since I go to a small college (less than 5,000 undergraduate students), professors can easily see if you’re not in class or if you’re falling behind. If you go to a bigger school it’s usually not that easy. The first or second week of school, meet up with your professors once so that they see who you are. Not just as a student, but tell them what you’re aiming to get out of the class (other than a passing grade). Ask them for suggestions on how to handle the class and any advice on how to balance it with others. If professors see that you are making an effort, they are more likely to bump your grade up at the end of the semester if you’re on the fence between two grades.
Also, they make great recommendations when applying to jobs and internships. But of course, they can help you understand the material if you’re struggling! No one likes sitting in class and thinking to yourself, “I have no idea what’s going on…” while the rest of the class is taking notes like it’s nothing. I’ve been there too, and it’s not fun. So do yourself a favor and make more friends... With your professors, that is.
Go to the tutoring center.
If you are struggling with a class and your professor doesn’t help, go to the tutoring center at your school if they offer one. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to hear the information in a different way from a different person. This can help you tremendously. Some professors at my school even give extra credit if you go to the tutoring center, which is also a plus!
However, many students only go to tutors if they don’t understand a subject. Another reason to go is if you’re on the fence when it comes to your grade. You may only need a few more points on a test to go from a 3.5 to a 4, but you can possibly get those extra points if you understand the material a little better and can understand those tricky questions. All in all, tutoring isn’t just about getting a better grade, it’s about improving yourself and becoming a well-rounded student.