This blog post was written by College Forward student, Claudia Gloria in July 2020.
Hi, my name is Claudia Gloria and like most college students I’ve had my share of not having too much time to do anything. Like, getting a paper done, studying for a test, making it to class, eating, sleeping, social life, etc. You get the picture. No one really informs you on how to manage everything while going to college for the next four years or more. I know in my first year of college it was hard trying to balance everything and at times felt like there was not a lot of time to do everything I wanted to do. But, as time went on I soon started realizing that it was possible to manage my time and be able to do everything I needed and wanted to do.
How I Manage My Time
While in college, I had to manage working two jobs, taking two classes online, and being pregnant. Sometimes, life doesn’t really give you a moment to just breathe. I got through by maintaining a schedule; what I usually do to make a schedule is have my planner out and write everything down. When writing everything down in my planner, I prioritize what is needing my attention first and what can be put to finish last. I work pretty much from 8 am to 5 pm, and after work, I do my class stuff for at least 3 hours. After that, I watch tv or have “me time” until at least 11 pm. Then I head to bed, wake up, and do the schedule all over again the next day.
Since finding out I was pregnant, making a schedule became something that I wanted to do, to have to do. Becoming a first-time parent has changed my perspective on everything, ensuring that I get everything done on time, from getting school work done correctly and on time to making sure that I schedule my doctor appointments and requesting days off of work for them. No one prepares you for your plans changing when a baby becomes part of those plans that already existed, but that does not mean they go away; they just get to be shared with another person you love that can see you grow and accomplish your dreams.
Most students also have to work and go to school. On the Mental Health America site, “About half of full-time students have jobs outside of school. This number jumps to 80% when it comes to part-time students.” Some may get burned out, and some may continue doing it. Even when managing your time to perfection, you still feel the pressure and stress of never having enough time to get everything done. Even with making a schedule and getting every little thing done on a list that I make, I still feel overly stressed. Some ways that I have found to be effective to get rid of the stress with school and outside of school can benefit almost every student going through the same issues.
Mitigating “Not Doing Enough” Stress
Anna Heinrich wrote that there are seven effective ways to manage your time in college and still remain sane.
“Write down everything”
This does work well. I noticed having my planner with me and writing down important times and events has really been helping me make sure that I do not schedule something on top of anything else.
“Use your phone for good”
Some professors encourage technology. Others do not. The way you can use your technical devices would be to have your recorder on during lectures. Or even to write down notes in them as well and to use as a calendar when you do not have a planner with you.
“Stick to a routine”
Having a routine everyday is effective when you know what you’re going to do every day, especially when you are going to school and have a million things to do. But, you should also go outside of that routine and make time for yourself to do something that is not in your normal routine. Go to the park, ride your bike, see the friends you have made while going to college, and have a little me time like relax or read a book that has nothing to do with school whatsoever or been assigned to you.
A healthy diet and working out has been shown to relieve stress and made going to school a little more calming for me. Working out and exercising can make you keep your levels of energy up, making you want to accomplish more in that one day.
In college, organization is really the key to succeeding, with having an organized schedule a list then you’re able to do more by checking each thing off. Avoiding, procrastination, and having a messy area can really make a person go nuts plus it will also make assignments harder to accomplish and get done.
“Checklists are your friend”
This goes back to being organized and sticking to a routine. With a checklist, you are able to see what needs to be done, what has been completed, and what has not. It helps make certain tasks either a higher priority or something that can be done after the most important task is completed.
“Find a Balance”
Having a balance in college keeps you afloat and it helps keep your sanity intact. With a balance of being able to learn and do school work, you can get all the important stuff done You can take time off from just going to work day in and day out because school is considered work as well there has to be a balance between the two to make sure that you’re not losing it during your first year.
With this list, I can say personally that they are effective since I have used some of these steps to get through my own journey in college and in my personal life.
You may be thinking “Okay, I have this list that you got from someone else. What am I supposed to do to follow each point made?” Different people are organized in different ways. It is important to try out different time management tools. What works for your friends or classmates may not work for you. Whether you want to do each step that is listed or just do a few even, doing a few of them will make it easier to transition into college. This list also helps with everyday life situations like having a job or family, I know some parents use a planner to organize their everyday life like work-wise and manage their family.