How to be a Jedi: Time Edition

A long time ago, in a high school far, far away…

It was easy to get away with looking over your notes for a minute, and then acing the test. It started to get a little harder when we got to AP classes, but college classes are in their own league. “Okay, so I’ll just spend a little more time studying – no biggie!” Ummm, wrong! On top of studying, now you need to handle taking care of yourself too. That means laundry, cooking, cleaning, exercising. Let’s not forget you have clubs, jobs, leadership positions, etc. Finally, last but not least, you need to maintain a social presence and sleep at least 8 hours a day. Now we’re in quite a pickle.

You might say you have a choice: zombie, bum, or nerd. Lucky for you, we’re going to teach you how to time manage like a jedi. Here are some tips from someone who (kinda) made it through their first year of college.

Scheduling Is Key

Remember that agenda they used to give you? Yeah, you might wanna pull it out for more than doodling now. Your agenda is like your light sabre! Teachers won’t always put their homework online, so it is critical to write everything down. Time blocking everything out is also useful. Once you know everything you’re supposed to get done, estimate the time you’ll need for each task. This way you can keep yourself on schedule. It might feel a little monotonous, but part of the problem is that sometimes we don’t know how to police ourselves and stay organized. This is meant to help with that.

Libraries are your Best Friends

As comfy comfy and relaxing as being in your room can be, it can leave you susceptible to non-productivity. You’re around your comfy bed and your food and your friends…which is nice, but it doesn’t push you to study. Libraries are quiet and solemn. They can give you clarity of mind and make you feel less alone in getting your work done.

Study with your Friends

Multi-tasking is a great idea in this sense. As long as you’re not chatting up your friends, you can maintain some kind of social life while still getting your work done. Same goes for eating, exercising, and going to clubs. If you do things with your friends, you won’t feel alone or as if you’re doing work at all.

Take Smart Breaks

You obviously can’t study 24/7. Know when you’re taking too much on for you, or when you’re working too hard. Just because your friend is in 50 different clubs, doesn’t mean you should do that too. Everyone has their own level of work they can handle, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Do what’s good for you! The last thing you need is to feel overwhelmed and too stressed out. If you have nothing big coming up, go ahead and take a walk, or go out with your friends. There’s no use in running yourself dry! Treat yourself!

Know When to Stop

If you’re partying every weekend, that’s too much. It’s healthy to go out, for sure, but if you’re doing it at the expense of your responsibilities, or even worse, your sleep, it’s not a good idea. A fun night does not have to involve a late night party, especially with final exams looming near. Sometimes getting your work done and then just enjoying a movie night with your roommate is all that you need. That way you’ve finished all your work during the weekend and your week won’t be so backed up. The more you put off homework at Carolina, the more it builds up. Built up work is the Darth Vader of college.

Don’t Procrastinate

Yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard it. But it actually is important. When I took Econ 101, I was surprised by how many people bombed all of the exams. Alternatively, I didn’t think it was so bad and did fairly well. What was the difference between us? The difference was that I kept up with my studying every day. I never procrastinated for more than a day. That way, when it came time to study for an exam, I didn’t have to cover as much material as other people. They weren’t able to “relearn” it all in time (it was a lot!) and didn’t do well on the test. On the other hand, I didn’t keep up that well for my accounting class and it was not so fun studying for 24 hours straight when I could have studied for one hour every day for 24 days. Trust me, there are better ways of doing things. Use the force! The force of your will that is.

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Like all things, time management is a fine skill that takes practice. If you fail a couple of times, don’t worry about it. It’s only a blimp in the past. But if you learn how to hone these skills, the better life can be, and the more you can get out of it. Just remember to put your physical, mental, and spiritual health first! If you don’t have these, you have nothing!

Happy time-crunching friends!

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