Without time management, a student’s college journey can become complicated by unplanned diversions, organizations’ activities, academic courses and tests.
Jorge Solis, a political science and business administration major from Pell City who was a sophomore in the spring, said he always finds time for everything. That’s because, as a resident assistant in Newman Center, he knows that “time management is crucial.”
“Having a set plan for yourself can help you reach your goals, keep you on task, and prevent procrastination,” said Miranda Carlee, a peer educator at the Student Counseling Center.
Study is an important part of college life. Students have different study habits.
“We each have our own unique study habits that we find effective for ourselves,” Carlee said.
“Research has shown that people remember information the best when they study in frequent, relatively short bouts of time, instead of cramming last-minute.”
Jorge Solis has his own way to study.
“I’ll study during lunch sometimes,” Solis said. “Sometimes I stay up to study; sometimes I wake up early to study.”
Many college students have part-time jobs. To learn how to balance study and work is essential.
“Having a work ethic and good time management skills are key,” said Aaron David Walker, a marketing major from Birmingham who was a sophomore in the spring. He had two part-time jobs last summer and now has an RA job.
According to Walker, being busy could help students improve their time management skills.
“Keeping a planner is a great way to stay on track and to keep you reminded about assignments, exams or shifts at work,” Carlee said.
Leisure time is not time that can be wasted.
“I find out that I don’t manage my time well when I have a lot of time,” Walker said.
Carlee has her suggestions for college students when they have leisure time.
“Do not waste your time procrastinating or doing unhealthy habits,” Carlee said.
She suggested that students use their extra time for healthy activities such as exercising and relaxing.
Socializing with friends is a way many students choose to relax.
Asked how to find time for friends during a busy semester, Carlee said students should set aside a scheduled time for socializing, but before that, they should complete the most important things they need to get done.
Due to social events or assignments, students may stay up during school weeks. When they have spare time, they may choose to sleep longer.
“Sleep is important, but not oversleeping,” Walker said.
According to Walker, naps are dangerous because too many naps create lazy habits.
Diverse activities can be a distraction. Students need to find a way to balance their study and activities.
“Yes, I know how important time management is because I benefited from it,” said Haoyu Ma, an exchange student from Suzhou, Anhui province, China, a journalism major who was a senior in the spring.
According to Ma, he was curious about American culture during his first semester.
“I almost participated in every event,” Ma said. “I just enjoyed being involved in a new place.
“But my grades were a big issue because I didn’t have enough time to take care of my academic courses until I started to manage my time.”
Ma learned a few time management skills from the university orientation course and used those skills in his studies.
“Get a pen, get a paper, get a course schedule and a library schedule, and then make a study schedule for your own,” Ma said. “That works.”
Ma’s grade-point average in his first semester ended up at 3.65.
Asked for advice for freshmen, Walker said that before figuring out what you want to do most, “don’t try to jump into every single thing.”
Ma’s experience illustrates Walker’s advice.