“You must learn to manage your time!”
“College is about learning to juggle multiple responsibilities.”
“Sleep, studying, and social life… Welcome to college! Pick two.”
College is certainly an extremely busy time; everybody knows that. The problem is that no one really tells you (or at least, no one told me) exactly what that meant. I was given vague abstractions like the ones I listed above. I knew I was going to be busy, but I don’t think anything could have legitimately prepared me for the just how insane my college schedule would actually be. With that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little about some of the main things I learned about managing my time so that, hopefully, your transition will be a little easier than mine was!
First and foremost, I learned to say no. I am a die-hard people-pleaser, so this was ridiculously difficult for me. I began very tentatively—almost apologetically—at first, but it gradually got easier. The most important thing to remember about saying no is to be firm; you must leave absolutely no doubt in the other person’s mind that you are simply not going to help them with their project (even though it’s due tomorrow and you’re such a good writer).Other people’s problems do not have to be your problems.
Second, I learned that sometimes, you have to miss out on things that you want to do. For instance, you might have to skip the movie marathon your friends are planning the night or two before your big paper is due. Obviously, this is really disappointing in the moment, but I learned that chances are, there will always be another movie marathon – but there will not always be another opportunity to get an A on that paper.
Last, I learned to get things done ahead of time! It’s amazing how great it feels to have your project finished two days before it’s due, so you can lay back and watch a movie while everyone else is rushing to get theirs finished on time. Not only that, but it gives you more time to proof-read it and catch the silly mistakes that might have cost you points otherwise. The benefits of getting things done ahead of time do not only apply to assignments, though. They also apply to studying for tests.
Did you know your brain actually uses the time you sleep to sort through and organize all the new information it learned that day? Studying a couple days before the test gives your brain time to file all that information, so you have a better likelihood of remembering everything.
Honestly, I don’t think “time management” is really what it should be called. I think a better term is “life management,” because that’s really what you’re doing. Not only are you managing your time, you’re managing your life! Figuring out how to best allot your time makes you calmer, happier, and more productive—all of which make a positive impact on your life! Thanks to these skills I learned, I have been able to participate in a ton of different things on campus, some of which you’ve seen in the pictures I posted today.
Remember that everyone is different, so you might find other methods that you prefer over mine. It’s all just a matter of trying new things until you find what works for you. As long as you stick with it, I am confident that you will succeed!