When it comes to managing time and balancing coursework, different things work for different people. The members of your Student Advisory Board would like to share some tips and ideas that work for us, and we hope it will spark some ideas for you!
Get Started on the Right Foot
- Set yourself up for success by ordering textbooks in advance, printing the course calendar, and reading the syllabus. It also helps to review each course's "Home" section in Canvas from top to bottom.
- During preview week, compile all readings and due dates into one chart for the semester. Not only can the visual representation help pace out the workload, but this familiarizes you with the expectations of each course in its entirety. This is especially helpful when taking more than one class.
- Set realistic goals for completing coursework and work to meet those goals. Develop a plan for which assignments to complete prior to the due date to avoid waiting until the last minute.
Make a Plan
- Planners and to-do lists can help keep track of and manage assignments that are pending, in progress, or complete. Find a system that works for you, whether it's a calendar on your phone, a written calendar, a to-do list app like Microsoft To-Do (available through your campus email), or a combination of these tools. To-do list apps allow you to create recurring items for repeating tasks, like weekly assignments or regular study sessions.
- Customize your schedule and lists to include things outside of coursework such as work duties, home tasks, kids' school and appointments, your significant others' work schedule, etc.
Schedule Study Sessions
- Look at your schedule a week in advance and plan out time for studying. Plan days into multiple study sessions with breaks in between.
- Share your study schedule with others in your household so they can give you alone time to focus.
- If you have children at home, plan your study sessions in conjunction with their schedules. For younger kids, plan to study when they are napping or in bed. For older kids, plan group study sessions where you all work on schoolwork at the same time.
Prepare for Projects
- Give yourself time to revise and make corrections to assignments. This is extremely advantageous if you are working ahead and want to revisit submissions prior to the due date.
- If there is a final project, start outlining it at the beginning of the semester. Integrate what you're learning into the project along the way. Then, the last few weeks before the due date can be for editing and refining. Using this approach can help with the feeling of both learning more and producing better projects while being less stressed.
Lean on the People Around You
- Reach out to classmates or professors with questions around course topics.
- Ask for help or clarification before submitting work.
- If there's something going on in your personal life that may affect your coursework, let your instructor know early. They won't know unless you say something.
- Utilize your advisor as a time management coach – they're available to help you figure out what works best for you.
Take Time for Yourself
- Carve out time in your schedule to relax, even when life is busy. This could be meditating, running, or whatever else helps manage feelings of stress.
- Plan the semester in advance to balance time for other priorities, such as being fully present with loved ones on weekends or special occasions.
- Don't be afraid to say no. It's important to set boundaries so you can take care of yourself and your priorities.