Kemeny courtyard bee on a yellow flower close up
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a view of the patio entrance to Bildner Hall from the center of the McLaughlin dorm cluster. Light is reflecting off of the tree leaves in the upper right corner

Strong time management skills are at the forefront of a successful transition to college. However, these skills need to be modified as they generally do not smoothly transfer over in terms of how they were applied in high school. The reason time management is different in college is that schedules are less structured and therefore require a person to have more self-discipline. For example, some classes have attendance as a required aspect of the class and others do not, so it is your choice if you want to reap the benefits of showing up to your classes. 

I remember thinking that three courses would be a walk in the park given that I have a college background, but I quickly realized that would not be the case!

Important Aspects to Consider for Time Management:

  • Varying Class Structure: some courses put most of the grade weight on exams, while others put more weight on regular assignments or projects. This means if you are taking multiple 'types' of classes will likely be studying for an exam at the same time you are writing an essay or creating a project.
  • Sleeping is important!! In high school, I witnessed some wild sleep habits, but college quickly exposed me to even more radical habits. For people who are getting less sleep than they biologically should be, from my observations there are frequently two things linked to this, they are overcommitted to some aspect of college or they procrastinate their work. 
  • Eating: sometimes it is challenging to get all 3 meals in a day, especially if it will take time to walk to that meal. I have found that breakfast is the most challenging meal to eat consistently, but this certainly is not true for everyone. Eating balanced meals in terms of portions and nutrients can also be challenging sometimes.
  • Exercise is certainly good to have built into the weekly regimen, but it can also be challenging to keep up if you are not on a sports team and thus not required to do so. When my workload for a week goes up my exercise typically goes down, in part because I do not want to lose sleep. 
  • Social Time is wonderful and certainly helps maintain good morale in the face of a fast-paced academic term. However, like exercise, I am more inclined to have less of this and more sleep and work time.
  • Jobs are another thing to factor into the busy schedule. Some jobs allow you to get some academic work done at them (desk jobs when no one needs you), but in general, it is another thing to find time for.
  • Extracurriculars, Campus Activities, and Wellness: There are quite a few centers and organizations on campus, and they have wonderful programs, but they certainly require some time to have a meaningful experience. Activities with the DOC and Student Wellness Center are also great, but require free time!

In summary, different people prioritize what suits them and sometimes there are quite a few considerations to be made.

I also wanted to make a note about class selection since this factors into the chaos of time management. For the first year, selection takes place during orientation week and around final exams (to choose winter courses). Course selection also happens with a lottery which means that if more people want to take the class than there are spots, you may not get the one you want, which requires flexibility and backup options. Check out Nathan's post for more on 'First-Year Flexibility'

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