From the moment you set foot on campus, there are a million things going on. With a full course load, floor meetings and events, clubs, on-campus activities, and studying, it can get pretty intense balancing your life and trying to make sense of your daily schedule. Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
But, since college is all about learning new things and having new experiences, it’s understandable that you want to be involved in as many things as possible. So, how do you fit it all in?! Easy, just use these 5 simple strategies.
1. Create a schedule
It is impossible to stay on track and keep everything organized without a schedule. This can be kept in a student planner, on your wall, or in your smartphone, but you HAVE to have one. Start out by putting in your class times, then block out specific times to study each week. By committing a specific time of the day to studying, you’ll be creating a routine that will help you stay on track with your classwork.
After you’ve set up your class and study schedule, add in your extracurricular activities and job, if you have one. It can be helpful to color code your activities so that it is easy to differentiate between the types of actives you have going on.
2. Set Goals
I love setting goals for myself and it is a great way to get yourself into the right mindset. At the beginning of each term, write down your goals for that semester. Whether it’s a certain grade, better time management, or something specific to the coursework, set a goal and write it down.
The simple act of writing it down will make it more official and therefore harder to ignore. Posting your goals somewhere that you’ll see them every day–on your mirror or computer for example–will help you to keep them in mind and help you to stay on track.
3. Surround yourself with a solid support system
The people you surround yourself with can have a major effect on all aspects of your daily life, even if you don’t realize it as it is happening. Surrounding yourself with people who don’t support your decisions or don’t think you can do it will quickly, and negatively impact your performance.
Likewise, finding someone in your classes to be friends with is a great way to keep yourself on track. Having someone to ask for advice in tough situations or to commiserate over your least-favorite professor goes a long way!
4. Get to know your professors
I’m sure that you have heard this one before, but I can’t stress the importance of getting to know your professors enough. Unfortunately if you’re in a large lecture class, it’s normal for your professor to not even know who you are. Put a face to your name, and they have something to remember when you’ve had the flu for almost a week and you need an extension on a paper or project that’s due.
Your professors wouldn’t have the job that they have if they weren’t interested in helping their students succeed. Go to their office hours and introduce yourself, ask them to meet for coffee to go over the course material, if you’re having trouble, ask them for help. Some of the best classes I took in college were my favorites because of who taught them, not what they were about.
5. Learn to say “No.”
Being involved in college is pretty easy, even if it may not feel like that at the beginning. And if you’re involved in a couple of different groups on campus, it can easily start to be more than you can handle. Using the strategies above will help you keep the overwhelming aspects of college life in check but eventually you’ll have to learn the power of the word “no”.
At first, saying “no” to an event or helping out with a club you’re in will give you a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) but it will get easier. Plus, you’ll be setting yourself up for better grades and everyone will understand if you can’t attend something because you need to study–or to catch up on the sleep you lost studying after the last event.