When college students say their schedule is tough, they have a good reason. While a full-time student is considered full-time at 12 credits, equaling roughly 52 hours per week, a full-time worker is considered full-time at 30 hours per week. If they’re working a job on top of being a full-time student, it may total 72 hours a week. Athletes who don’t work are adding several hours of practice a week to their schedules.
A combination of school and/or work often seems an impossible task, but many students and professors take on these heavy workload responsibilities; they have to. The successful ones have tools to help them.
Sometimes students who have several hours of work, school, sports and more, feel alone because of how busy they are, but many professors want to help.
Time management lists and routines can help people stay on task, complete tasks before their deadlines and help people to navigate full schedules.
Professors who have already experienced the rigors of heavy school and schedules have tips and tricks for managing their time wisely.
Christina Ballard, professor of Communication Studies, says, “I have a bunch of routines I do every day. In the morning I have my breakfast, read emails and play a couple of word games.” Ballard uses the beginning of her morning to set herself up for the day, avoiding her phones due to distractions.
“For my bedtime routine, my Google assistant turns my TV off at 8:45 p.m. whether I am ready for that or not; some days it turns off in the middle of my show and I just have to be okay with that,” Ballard says. “Then I lay out my clothes for the next day, have some tea, journal, watch funny videos on TikTok (I have a setting in my phone that only allows so many minutes per day) read for 30 minutes and go to sleep. The most important part about managing my time is making sure I get enough sleep. Without that, you’re not going to be able to fully be yourself in anything.”
Time management and study tools go hand in hand, even if it doesn’t seem like it. In order to utilize study tools such as tutoring and study groups, students must actively fit sessions into their day, meaning they must manage their time.
UCC offers students study tools from TRIO and TOP tutors. TRIO offers students a variety of other help as well, customized to their specific needs. In addition, tutors are in the library on the right side.
Many UCC professors advise their students to form study groups. Study groups give the potential for students to learn from and teach their peers, offering help in different areas. Students can ask their instructors to assist them with setting up study groups for their course, or they can simply ask other struggling students to assist them. Some professors have permanent study groups that their students can join.
Professors also set up office hours for any additional help students need.
Ballard uses positive affirmations to carry with her throughout the day. “I have a couple of places where I get those from, and I pick one that feels right for the specific day. I carry them with me and read them a couple of times, when I sit down to have lunch, I read them.
According to WebMD, positive affirmations offer a form of self-help to overcome negative thoughts. It is really about affirming yourself into a positive head space. Research shows that daily affirmations cause a decrease in stress, an increase in overall well-being, an improvement in academic performance, and a more open behavior change.
Ballard utilized study groups during her time in college. “I definitely interacted with other people; we’d talk about the material and about ideas we had,” Ballard says.
In addition to using her peers herself, Ballard also encourages students to participate in discussions as a way of learning from each other. “As I teach, if there is a discussion forum and students are doing the bare minimum, just stating ‘I agree,’ that’s not really serving the purpose,” Ballard says. “If you were having a conversation face to face and someone just says, ‘Oh I agree,’ and that’s the end of the conversation, that’s upsetting.”
While time management and study tools are important, students and professors will still have to deal with falling in a funk and not wanting to do their work. “If I were to put my favorite TV show on, I’d never get back to what I was supposed to. So, I find an alternative; I go for a walk or swim, which is really good for you, then I come back to what I need to do,” Ballard says.
Being self-aware of habits is also a good practice. “I will purposely not do things that are habits,” Ballard says. She doesn’t want to keep her students waiting on her to grade their assignments just because she doesn’t feel like doing it, so she keeps herself aware of this.
While professors can give students advice all day, sometimes students need to hear it from their peers. Read our story from the previous issue to hear what other students’ advice is.
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