How to Be Intentional With Your Time in College

Something that I quickly realized upon arriving to college was that it was very easy use my time unwisely and not even realize it. For the first time in 12 years, you are not in school for nine hours of the day and there are no parents around telling you how to spend your time. On Tuesday nights, people invite you to to pull all-nighters and watch movies or the three clubs that you want to be a part of have meetings back-to-back on a Thursday night. I found that I was overwhelmed with all the decisions that I had to make regarding my time. Here are a few tips I learned on how to best manage my time. 

 

1. Allot time for studying and play

After the first week, I found that there were days when I was studying from  8 am to 11 pm and days when I did no homework at all. I didn’t like the inconsistency or the guilt I felt for not being social because I was locked up in my room doing homework or for completely ignoring my homework in order to be social. I quickly realized that if I have specific times for each of these things, I not only have plenty of time to get all my work done but also to be social and be a part of the activities that I want to be a part of. I pretend that during the week, school is my full-time job. I do work from 8 am to 5 pm, give or take a couple hurs, Monday through Friday. I put aside Friday nights and Saturdays to be schoolwork-free. That is my time to do some chores in my room, explore St. Louis, and be social with all of my friends. Sundays are my week-prep day. I have also found that participating in something social each night helps to keep me balanced on top of all the work that I did during the day.

 

2. Choose a handful of clubs to be a part of

Yes, college is definitely a time to explore your interests and to try out different clubs and activities, but balance is the key! There is no harm in putting your name down for the 12 clubs and teams that you want to be a part of, but after a week or two, I found that there were about four that I wanted to be a part of and give all of my attention to. Don’t get me wrong, trying new things is very important and should be a top priority; you are only in college once. But you don’t need to feel the pressure to be a part of every club on campus.

 

3. Take time to take care of yourself.

This looks different for everyone. Some people like to go to the gym, others like to journal or do art. Others like to go exploring with friends or have dance parties. Ultimately, you need to find the time to do what you need to mentally and physically take care of yourself. Carve out time in your week or day to do what you really love to do, whatever that may be.

 

4. Lastly, remember to allow yourself to sleep

No one sleeps in college. It is not a rumor that college kids just say to make those in high school excited about the shenanigans of dorm life. No, people really don’t sleep. The first couple of nights of late night talks, dance parties, and craziness are fun, but after about three nights of little sleep, doing anything is practically impossible. So although it may be fun to avoid it, sleep is so important and is a game changer at the end of the day. The moment that I started to put going to bed at a reasonable hour at the top of my list, I found that I was able to have more fun and get the work that I needed done faster and more efficiently.

 

These are the four small tips that I give to all college students struggling to balance time during their college life. Making these changes in my own life has allowed me to not only be a good student but adventurous and social, without missing out on anything!