Freshman year of college can be overwhelming and utterly confusing, especially at a large school. As you’ve probably heard, time management in college is difficult but so important. Florida State has endless amounts of clubs, organizations, and volunteer work that students can be involved in. With the job market becoming more competitive for young professionals, it can feel like there is immense pressure to build up your resume as quickly as possible. While this is not a bad idea, it’s crucial to prevent spreading yourself too thin. These are some tips I’ve learned which help me to balance my social, academic and professional life- without overwhelming myself.
Choose your classes carefully
Many freshmen think it will be best to complete the most difficult classes first so that senior year is a breeze. I recommend doing this but proceed with caution. Before choosing your schedule, I recommend talking to your advisor and others who have taken your classes. Your advisors know which classes may be more time consuming/difficult. To prevent an overwhelming and stressful semester, consult with your advisor and try to pair difficult classes with easier ones to balance your schedule. My professors have been a lifesaver in giving advice for scheduling as well as time management in college. On the FSU Facebook page, you will find countless reviews on professors and the difficulty level of their classes. This, along with your advisor’s advice regarding classes and time management in college will help you to choose a balanced schedule.
Pay attention during drop/add week
Syllabus week is known to be the easiest week of classes- no homework, no tests, only the responsibility to show up to class. While this is true, it’s crucial to pay attention when your professor explains the syllabus and the assignments due over the course of the semester. Asking questions and paying attention during syllabus week has helped me gain a better idea of the difficulty and workload expected for classes. Syllabus week is a great time to adjust your schedule so that it is best suited for you.
Manage your time
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in college and am still working on is time management. Learning to manage your time is crucial to prevent becoming overwhelmed and missing deadlines. Something that is a true lifesaver in managing time is a planner. I recommend getting a planner with space to fill in due dates for assignments, test dates, and other responsibilities. Planning out which days I will study, or complete homework is also especially helpful in preventing procrastination.
I complete as much work as I can on Sundays and at the start of the week. Despite your preferences, setting aside specific times to work on schoolwork will aid you immensely in managing your time. I’ve learned the hard way that waiting until the last minute to start assignments is an unnecessarily stressful experience, and often results in myself not putting in full effort.
Consider carefully which clubs you join
Florida State offers a club for almost every activity or interest, but you do not necessarily have to join every club that interests you. I’m not discouraging you to become involved but be careful not to become overly involved. Every club has certain days that members must meet. I recommend joining at least one club pertaining to your major, and a few that interest you in any way. Florida State offers a club for almost every single major or one that relates to your major.
Joining a club relating to your career interests will provide you with connections to people in your field, internship opportunities, as well as add something extra to your resume. Academic clubs may seem like a bore, but they can be largely helpful in furthering your career and competing with other young professionals in your field. FSU also has exciting clubs for every hobby including- a surf club, a quidditch club, tennis club, soccer club, and so many more. Check out the Florida State website and contact members to learn more about the time commitment and activities included in these clubs.
You don’t have to say yes to everything
Time management in college not only applies to how many things you can do but also what you are interested in. Another lesson I’ve learned to manage my time commitments and stress is to say no sometimes. While you may think to say yes to every single opportunity is the nice thing to do, you may be ultimately hurting yourself. If you are genuinely interested in an organization/club, then I recommend joining.
But if you are joining countless organizations solely because you feel the need to say “yes” to everything, this is a dangerous habit that will catch up to you. Despite how much your friends beg you to take on another responsibility, it’s important to remember that it is your life and you will not benefit from being involved in something you do not care for. It may be difficult turning people down, but you are preventing yourself from unnecessary stress and time commitments.
I personally love socializing and having fun, but sometimes I have to remind myself of the reason I am at Florida State- to graduate and attain a degree. Especially in college, it can be physically painful to turn down social invitations in order to study for a test or catch up on assignments, but you’ll be glad you did so when it comes time for grading periods. It is possible to both do well in school and have a social life, but you must not forget that school should always be your priority.
Time management in college is crucial, especially for your academic success. If I know an exciting concert or social event is happening one night, I try to complete my work as early as possible in the day so that I can attend. Also, studying days ahead before an exam will relieve some stress the night before and allow you to have breaks to socialize. Although it may not be the first thing you want to do, I recommend completing assignments and studying as early as possible to ensure they’re completed and allow time for fun.
Starting this next chapter in your life is scary. Use these suggestions to aid you in keeping a balanced life and preventing spreading yourself too thin in college.
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Senior at FSU.