Organize Your Priorities
College has a way of keeping your days jam-packed with things to do, and some days studying for your classes doesn’t seem to make it to the top of your to-do list. You of course take the time to go to all your classes, but your part-time job gives you money so you can pay rent, buy food, and go do fun stuff on the weekends. That’s just as important, right? Or maybe the organization you’re involved in is doing a major fundraiser and you are required to help. Also, no college student likes to miss the chance to eat lunch and dinner with friends. Then you have to make time for the gym unless you want to gain the freshman fifteen from all that food. In addition, I would only hope you take the time to shower and clean your clothes. Then what about sleep? You have to commit to at least four or five hours of sleep every night in order to avoid sleep deprivation. So when does the studying ever get done?
Well I hate to break it to you, but apart from going to your classes and getting a good night’s sleep, studying should come before all of those things. Welcome to college, also known as higher education! I don’t think I will ever be able to truly express how important it is to come to college understanding that you are a student above everything else. College is your main job and should therefore always be a top priority. Remember that getting a degree is the reason why you are paying the big bucks to be there in the first place. Of course school won’t be your only focus. It’s just as important to have time to relax and have fun in order to keep yourself from becoming mentally fatigued. But they should never take needed time away from your studies.
The best way I know how to ensure that I get enough studying done during the week is to create a weekly schedule. You can easily make one on Excel. My suggestion is to make enough boxes to cover Monday-Friday from 8am to 6pm. Then fill in the times you have classes, tutor sessions, and any other set obligations or commitments throughout the week. You can even fill in a lunch break or workout times if you want. Then once all of your committed hours are set in place, look at the remaining times and decide when would be the best times for you to study. The rule of thumb is that you should study two hours for every hour you spend in class. I prefer to treat each week like I did in high school and get all my studies done before five so my nights are free to hang out with friends or relax watching Netflix. But if you are a night owl and get your best studying done after 6 or 7 at night, change your schedule time frame to better fit your natural study cycle. Just make sure you stick to your schedule once you have it all planned out, otherwise it is useless.
If you play your cards right, you should still have plenty of time to hang out with friends during the study and class free sections of your schedule. Then only after you have your academic obligations set in stone should you consider adding extracurricular activities such as a part-time job, Greek life, intramurals, or any other student run organizations. But when you do take on more commitments, don’t forget to add those required times to your schedule as well so you can visually see how busy your weeks will be each semester, which will hopefully help keep you from over committing yourself and consequently lose sight of your main goal: Obtaining a college degree.
Here is an example of what a basic weekly schedule may look like if you create one using Excel. The light purple represents times set aside for studying.