How to Manage Your Time in College

College is literally a juggling act. You have so many things going on all at once and you don’t want to drop a single ball. Between going to school, doing homework, studying for exams, holding down a job, or even helping raise a family- well how can one person successfully do all that and not feel a constant pressure on themselves! It boils down to being able to manage your time successfully, but how are you supposed to do that?

Block Your Courses

Many students make the mistake of scattering their classes throughout the week and having hours on and off throughout the day. This is such a bad move to make! If you take your courses back to back as much as possible, then you will have larger amounts of time to devote to tedious amounts of studying. Usually if you have a fifty minute amount of class time, you will spend the majority of it on your phone surfing through Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, if you can block your classes on two or three days out of the week, then it will free up whole days of studying.

Make A Plan

It is never too early to go on ahead and start planning how you are going to do all of your class work for your classes in a semester. In fact, I have found that the very first day of class really helps me determine which classes I am going to prioritize over other classes. Enter all of your assignments-weekly assignments, quizzes, exercises and short papers, as well as exams- into your planner. Then develop a plan for your usual weekly studying and big research paper, projects or exams.

Aime To Make All Classes

Going to your classes is one of the most time efficient things that you can do. When you miss your classes, it means that you have to spend quite a bit more time trying to learn the material you missed rather than being in class in the first place. Additionally, you almost never learn the material as well out of class as you do in class.

Keep A Log

When you finally get into the rhythm of doing your class work, you should track how long it takes you to do the homework in each of your classes, prepare for your quizzes and exams, and write short papers. By knowing this, you can plan your time for your future assignments and it will help prevent you from overestimating how long you are really studying.

Determine Whether You Are An Owl Or A Rooster

Schedule your studying time for when you will be the most productive at engaging in your school work. This can vary from person to person because everyone has a preference for different times of the day. Some students will find that 11 p.m. is the best time, but others will find that 7 a.m. is the best. Just because your roommate is studying at a particular time doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Do Your Work On Time

Even though there are no parents or teachers to breathe down your neck to do your homework, be sure that you are doing your outside classwork when it is assigned. Doing the readings ahead of time for the class, studying for each quiz as it comes along, and memorizing what needs to be memorized on a week-to-week basis are all strategies that will increase your efficiency and cut down on overall study time. Sure it can feel good to blow off your homework when there is no exam looming over your head or the professor doesn’t call on you often, but the fun will quickly diminish when you have 500 pages worth of reading to get caught up on before the day of an exam.

Balance Your Courses

You will find that many professors will think that their class should be the center of your attention, and that their class will have to have their homework done first before any others. Learn to triage your courses- spend different amounts of time on your courses based on how important or difficult the class is. Do not spend all of your time on the course that you think is the easiest or the one that is your favorite. Additionally, if you think that you are spending too much time on certain course work, then it might be best to cut back. Keep in mind that you signed up for four or five courses, each of which will end up counting for around 20-25 percent of your overall grade.

Learn to Focus

For the most part, we are used to receiving material in 140-character units, in 20 second bursts, or with a lot of 20 second videos to go along with it. Unfortunately, college is not Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. In college, whether it is a lecture, a reading, or a problem set, sustained attention is needed. Learn to practice without breaks and without any additional stimulation. I know that it is hard to reprogram your brain, but doing so will prevent you from having to start focusing again.