Making it through college involves more than an adequate IQ, rather it’s reliant on making time. If you’ve gotten this far, I’ll assume you’ve already been advised to “use your time wisely,” so I’ll avoid that tired platitude and get down to the nitty-gritty.
Here’s five tips for staying on top of all that college life entails, and then some.
- Wake up early
“Early” is a point of contention for the average teenager or twenty-something, so let’s say by 8 at the latest. By far the best part about getting up early is that, as Chief Hopper from Stranger Things would put it, “mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” With mug in hand, go outside and take a few breaths, do some stretches and go over your day. Review step by step each commitment and to-do, and take note of any available time slots that may fall in between. Now you’re ready.
- Keep monthly and weekly calendars.
Having two calendars is helpful if you use one for due dates and another for school/social dates such as your work and school schedule, appointments and meetings. I have personally found that using a monthly calendar for due dates is best for staying in touch with the big picture, finding patterns, and planning ahead, while weekly calendars are usually smaller, more portable and easy to refer to.
- Designate a homework day
Usually best if at the beginning or end of the week, homework day should be reserved for when you have the most amount of available time. It’s never easy to pick responsibility over relaxation but a good icebreaker can be filling out that week’s calendar.
- Don’t stop until you’re done
In order to accomplish tip number three, it is important to stick to tip number four. That means no TV, Facebook or Netflix breaks. Sure, sometimes you need to get up and walk around, this is fine as long as you don’t begin another task while not having completed your current goal.
- Learn to say no and don’t overcommit
Probably one of the most important aspects of being successful while enjoying yourself is learning to recognize your own limits. Over-committing can easily turn into overwhelming responsibility, so realizing you won’t be able to do something before you commit is an admirable trait. Likewise, being able to prioritize your needs and essentials will allow you to cut back on otherwise stressful commitments, such as a second job, an extra class or an extracurricular activity.
As with life, school is all about staying ahead of the curve. Sometimes you can only learn to roll with the punches by taking a few. I know I certainly did. Once you do though, you’ll find that it gets easier until it becomes natural, and that’s when the real fun starts. Take it from a senior.