Your Student Life: Managing Your Time
August 15, 2021
When you go off to college for the first time, you are likely to face a number of opportunities and responsibilities that you didn’t experience at home: parties, new friends, new relationships, extracurriculars, and of course the workload of classes. If you are coming to Ohio State as a first year student, you can expect some or all of these challenges in the coming weeks.
As exciting as the change can be, it is not uncommon for students to struggle with time management. Piedmont Technical College published an article in which Psychologist William Knause estimates that 90% of college students procrastinate. Procrastination not only leads to increased stress, but it makes it difficult for you to prioritize and balance your daily life.
If you often find yourself procrastinating, here are some tips you can implement into your life, helping you to better manage your time. These techniques include following a routine, planning ahead, prioritizing, balancing your commitments, and blocking your classes. If implemented, these tips will not only help you succeed in your classes, but all areas of your life.
Follow a Routine: In high school, you probably had a clear cut schedule: seven hours of classes, followed by any sports or extracurriculars. In college, you probably only have a few classes a day, and your class schedule probably alternates every day. Your classes might start late, or you might be finished early in the day. Compared to high school, you have more time for yourself, but it is important that you use this time wisely. Developing a routine early on will help you stay organized and fit everything into your day.
Plan Ahead: Read every syllabus and keep track of the dates of upcoming exams and projects. If you anticipate a busy week, start accomplishing tasks for that week sooner than later. This will decrease stress and help you focus on the big exams and projects when the time comes. Further, if you pay attention to the dates of upcoming exams, this will allow you to start studying early. According to the American Psychological Association, spreading out studying leads to greater success than cramming studying. I think everyone can agree that going into exams with a feeling of confidence about the material is a lot less stressful than going into exams feeling unprepared.
Prioritize: Make a list of tasks that you need to accomplish every day. Rank how important each task is, and start by working on the most important tasks. Even on busy days, having a list of tasks in front of you helps you realize that the workload is doable. An article by Webster University recommends setting priorities for the week and month in addition to the day.
Learning to manage your time effectively will not only relieve stress, but can help lead you to a successful college career. Implementing these tips won’t happen overnight, but with continuous practice, they can become habits.
Balancing Your Commitments: Obviously, it is important to get involved in college. There are countless benefits to getting involved, including meeting new people, making connections, and preparing for the professional world. Ohio State has an incredible number of student organizations and clubs to join. There is probably a club for anything you are interested in! However, many students end up spreading themselves too thin, and stress about wanting to build their resumes. This makes it hard to be fully involved in any one commitment. If you pick a few commitments, you have a better chance of obtaining leadership roles within those organizations, which ultimately looks better on a resume.
Blocking Your Classes: In college, you have a lot more freedom when scheduling classes. Many students are drawn to the idea of having extensive breaks in between their classes. However, this can result in lower productivity; if you take into account the time it takes to walk to and from class, you might not have as much time as you think. If you schedule your classes with the intent of having the most time after your classes, and minimal time in between, you will be able to use the time more effectively.
- American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/11/study-smart
- Piedmont Technical College: https://www.ptc.edu/college-resources/testing-tutoring-counseling/college-skills/time-management
- Webster University: http://www.webster.edu/academic-resource-center/managing-priorities.html
Stress Wellness Ambassador
Student Wellness Center
Office of Student Life