Contrary to popular belief, college is actually the very first time in your life when both flexibility and independence are possible. You simply have the power to set your own schedules, such as answering your assignment, studying with an online tutor, and/or spending time with friends or families. Still, it does not mean that managing your coveted free or unstructured time will not be difficult. In high school, your time was more than likely structured and organized, with clear reminders for what you had to do and where you had to be. And yes, it is a crime to forget those pesky and often annoying parents, who keep telling you about “not to do this and only do that.”
Sure, you can very much enjoy the freedom that college life brings, but you may very well hit the wall of freedom overload. And in no time, this free time of yours will get filled with competing demands, all of which will place even more stress on your attempts to adjust to your new educational environment. The following tips are designed to help you become more productive by managing your time. And by doing so, you can finish all your homework and get a life as you navigate yourself in the direction of college success.
1. Always Manage Your Academic Time
Even though you may have a million other things going on, it is still important to frequently remind yourself why you are studying in college in the first place – to graduate, that is. Meaning, your academic work must always come first when it comes to prioritizing your time. When you look at your schedule for the day or week, make sure to figure out what your commitments are in terms of academic. This is where you need to determine the time of your classes, how much homework do you need to finish, what exams or quizzes you have, and what time of day you will have an online tutor.
Of course, these are just a few examples and they can differ accordingly. Just keep in mind that if you need to, work backward. For example, you have an upcoming exam on Friday and you will need at least 3 hours to study for the subject. This is where you need to block off an hour, say, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You will use these days to study for the exam.
#2. Aim to Attend All Classes
This is definitely a no-brainer. Going to classes is simply important and it is one of the most time-efficient things you can do. When you happen to miss class, expect to take much more time just to cope up with the missed lesson or material. And yes, you have to; otherwise, you will have a hard time passing a subject or two. More importantly, you will never learn whatever there is to learn. Who could, getting notes from that guy who writes illegibly? That is not just an option.
#3. Write Everything Down
Let’s say you are sitting in class and you are ready to leave by the time the teacher says so. However, you have a homework that is due in three days, not to mention a forthcoming exam next week. When you leave the class, you try to make a mental note to remember those dates. But really, how often has it happened to you that you tend to panic the night before your homework is due? And it is all because you forgot? Instead of burdening yourself with the mental process, do yourself a favour and write everything down. This should save you the late-night scramble. You can even go through all the course calendars and syllabi at the very beginning of the semester and write down all the important dates. If you know what is coming up, you will have a better chance at getting prepared in advance.
#4. Use the Calendar to Your Advantage
Nothing helps a college student like you to always be organized, and this is where a good calendar can help you big time. It automatically becomes your go-to memory, allowing you not to worry about storing stuff in your already overloaded brain. In other words, it serves as your external reference, helping you keep track of everything. And during the process, it lowers your anxiety levels. For instance, you have to remind yourself about your schedule with an online tutor. To make sure that you do not forget it, use the calendar and key in all the details about your tutor session. But for it to be the lifesaver it is meant to be, you must make sure it will be used on a consistent basis. Remember: Having a visual representation of whatever your college schedule is will help you better juggle in completing all academic demands.
#5. Keep a Regular Routine
In college, it is expected that when it comes to monitoring where you are and what exactly you are doing, there is just no one who knows except you. The only catch, however, is that this becomes a golden ticket for you to be tempted. This is why you need to keep a regular routine and structure, as these allow you to prevent the pitfalls of avoidance and procrastination. Mind you, these two can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. You can start by setting up recurring “appointments” on your calendar, so you jumpstart new routines and habits. Moreover, you need to be faithful in scheduling every “up” and “down” time, such as blocking off time in between classes for specific activities (e.g. reading, running errands, studying, etc.) The more consistent you are here, the more productive you will become.
#6. Practice Self-Awareness
If you do not try to know more about yourself, it will be impossible for you to be better at adapting to the challenges that college brings. Sometimes, your needs and wants will conflict with each other. For instance, you are not a morning person. You just find it hard to wake up early in the morning. If this is the case, then do not schedule a class around 8 am or so. Learn to adjust and be fully aware of your own energy levels in a day, including all personal preferences which relate to your ability to push through stuff. This is where you need to plan your day and everything about it. As long as you know when the time of the day you are most alert, you should be able to focus. The same thing can be said when scheduling your classes, online tutor time, and homework.