If you are reading this article, you might be about to enter college for the first time or need a refresher about time management in college. Either way, welcome! Managing your time in college can be difficult. Even though you have more flexibility than in school it can be hard to manage your time when things get busy with essays, projects or even with your social life. These are a few tips from my experience in college and I hope some of these tips can help you in your college life.
1. Plan your time and update your calendar
While you will get a schedule for your lectures and seminars, calendars or diaries can be really useful to start using as you settle into college life and get used to the flexibility. For college time, I use a synced calendar such as OneCalendar to sync both college and personal college schedules, to ensure little clashes and factoring in-transit time, something I forgot to do up to recently!
Even if you plan your time well, there might be times where you miss a lecture or two. Ensuring you catch up on notes if you happen to miss a lecture is key. If you can organise shared notes between your classmates, it reduces the need to ask others for notes, as you can only have to read up on shared notes instead. Shared notes can be really useful at exam time as well in case you missed any important points in your own notes.
2. Pick a few societies to focus on
A mistake I made was signing up to ten societies when it came to Freshers’ week and then only committing to half of them. I would recommend only committing to five at most. I’d also recommend committing to one main one that you’re really interested in. For myself, I chose the Media Production Society in semester one and Karting in semester two. It allowed me to still have free time and balance college work. If you have a part-time job, it would be good to see what times the societies run their events. If you have to work in the evenings, it would be good to have a society that has events in the mornings or afternoons.
3. Take some time out for yourself
Even with the hustle and bustle of college life, having some self-care and mindfulness planned for yourself can reduce the possible stress of college life.,. Taking time out of your daily routine to focus on yourself can have a positive effect on your mental health. Meditation, reading a book or even sitting and watching the world go by can be nice ways to relax Even trying to relax while on your commute can be helpful. It might seem strange but I felt using the time on the bus to check in with myself meant I came off the bus feeling better than when I got on it.
4. Take a step back if you’re stuck on a college assignment
Many people have faced a brick wall when trying to finish an essay or project. It may be frustrating, and that’s perfectly OK. Rather than staying stuck on a certain essay or section of an essay, I find it helpful to take a (literal or metaphorical) step back from what I’m doing. Taking some time to brainstorm why you are stuck and allow new ideas to flow, or if that does not work, leave it for a few minutes or even for a day or two and focus on something else. The time away from the essay or project might mean you’ve fresh new ideas when you come back to it.
5. Ask for help from classmates or the college
Whether it be college work, or even just general time management, college life can be hectic for all, especially when communication from lecturers and the college itself can be lacking for some students. Asking for help and getting advice from classmates , going to the Student Union or going directly to a lecturer or module coordinator can help clear any worries you may have.
With these tips, I hope I have passed on a few nuggets of advice that can help college life for you as well as they did for me. Whether you have a part time job, lots of volunteering opportunities, childcare or long commutes, everyone has their own way of managing time in college and there is no golden way but hopefully some of these tips will help you.