College is all about mastering the art of balance. Between work, school and friends, college students have very little time for much else. Because of the demand on students to succeed in all facets, it is crucial that they learn to prioritize their lives, starting with the most important and working their way back. It is important to note that just because you choose to organize and prioritize your life, it does not mean you cannot have fun. In fact, students who plan their schedules tend to have more time available for socializing because they waste less time procrastinating or trying to figure out what to do next.
The main purpose of attending college is to earn an education. In order to earn the degree, you MUST devote yourself to your studies. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your part time job or your social life. What it does mean is that you must learn to budget your time. It would serve most students well to think of school as a full time job and grades as the paycheck. Suffice to say, the harder you work, the higher your “payload” in grades. General rule of thumb suggests that each hour in the classroom requires approximately two hours of homework. So, grab a good daily planner and a pen and do the math. Start by choosing your least favorite subjects first and working your way back to most favorite. Figure out how many hours you have to dedicate to class and studies alone.
Once you know how many hours you have to dedicate to school, add that number to the number of hours you need to sleep each night. If you have to attend class for two hours per day and study for four hours, that is six hours time dedicated to school. If you then sleep for eight hours per night, that leaves ten hours of time per day in which you can socialize and maintain a part time job.
Because college tends to be an expensive endeavor, many students choose to hold jobs. Having a part time job has been shown to actually increase productivity in students who tend to have a difficult time focusing because it limits the time available for goofing around. Once school schedules have been set, pick two or three days of the week when you would be willing to dedicate a few hours to work. For those students employed in the food service industry, consider sacrificing Friday and/or Saturday night socializing for fast-paced shifts, as weekends tend to bring in more patrons, which in turn puts more money in your pocket. Working weekends also frees up most weekday evenings, which can then be devoted to socializing and relaxing with your peers and friends.
Because college is often the very first place students learn to support themselves, it is crucial that they be provided with useful tips for organizing their already hectic lives. By prioritizing schedules and planning EVERYTHING they do, students become more efficient and are ultimately better equipped for life outside of college. Adjusting to adulthood is a difficult task in and of itself, so organization and prioritizing their time will only increase the success of college students everywhere.