We’ve blogged a lot about what to bring for college, (like Ameka’s post on dorm rooms and mine on weather supplies). But the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to succeed in college isn’t something you can pick up at Target or order from Amazon. Sorry…
It’s time management.
Sure, you need that in high school, too. But college is a whole new world. You don’t always have teachers writing assignments on the board everyday, or required organizational supply lists (you know, those teachers that told you exactly how your binder had to be organized for a class grade, what color the folder had to be, etc.) And your parents won’t be right downstairs to make sure you get your homework done.
It’s all up to you, now. I’ve found the best way to manage your time is to have a system. It doesn’t matter if that system is setting alarms for every meeting on your phone, you and your roommate holding each other accountable, setting your own deadlines, or being ridiculously organized. Find a system that works for you and stick with it.
The only system I can explain is my own. And I fall under the “being ridiculously organized” category. So first thing’s, first. Get yourself a planner. I like full-page size weekly agendas because I write EVERYTHING down. On the left side, I write my commitments for the day — work shifts, organization meetings, homework due dates, tests, etc. On the right side, I write the work I get assigned that day. On both sides, I mark things off as I do them.
Some of this gets highlighted (like big test or paper due dates) and the pages of my planner are usually covered with Post-It notes. But if it weren’t for this system, I’d be in big trouble.
Time management is important not just because it will keep you on track with your homework, but it allows you to schedule time for yourself. Which is sometimes difficult to do. But it is just as important as scheduling time to study. If you have been up late several nights in a row, try to schedule in time for a nap, or find a day that you can go to bed earlier. Block off time for fun, whether that be making plans with friends, attending social events, or just taking a break from everything.
Whether you follow a super-organized method or not, to be successful in college, you need a system to manage your time. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time before you’re ready. Success in college isn’t just about getting good grades and being accepted into graduate school or hired for a job.
College is fun! It’s also about making friends, learning all kinds of stuff (inside and outside of the classroom), getting involved, trying new things.
Make the most of your time in college, in any way you can, whether that’s with a planner, a buddy system, or a frantic procrastinating process.
It’s hard to believe that I’m almost halfway done with my time at Transylvania. While it’s so exciting to be getting closer to a grown-up life in the real world, it’s scary. And sad.
Because college is wonderful and you won’t want to waste a second of it. I promise.