Thursday, September 26, 2013

Paul's Tip of the Week: Time Management Skills

So you come to UMass as a freshman and you are amazed at the flexibility and free time your schedule allows.  You are in class way less than you were in high school and you don't always have several homework assignments due the very next day. It's a change. However,  with this change comes new responsibilities and a need to adapt to your new circumstances. Here're some tips on how to manage your schedule at UMass to keep ahead and succeed:

Do the Amount of Work your Professor Expects: The way college classes differ from high school is that you are generally in class less time but are expected to do several hours of work outside of the classroom. Many students don't realize the extent to which they should be doing work outside the classroom. It's important to do all of the readings for all your classes even if you do not have a test or essay immediately on the information.

Plan Ahead: A huge problem I faced my freshman year is that one week I would have a really relaxed week with little homework then the very next week, I would have essays and tests going on in almost every class. I went from calm and cool to frantically stressed out. This is because of my failure to plan ahead. Just because you don't have anything due immediately, does not mean it is time to take a vacation. Try to get homework assignments done ahead of time and stay on top of your work. Having an academic planner makes all of this a whole lot easier.  (If you don't have one, check with the Academic Advising Link, Sun-Thurs, 4-8:00pm in the Learning Commons of the DuBois Library  - they might have one for you!) 

Take Constructive Breaks/Stay Healthy: While a lot of what I have been writing has been focused on work, work, work, it's important to take care of yourself and not to get stressed out. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a constructive break. A great example of this would be going to the gym, taking a walk, or meditation.

These outlets provide a great opportunity to help clear your mind, focus better, and relieve some of that pent up stress. Reward yourself with getting a paper done with taking a break and eating with friends at a Dining Common or getting some late-night dessert somewhere. Basically, practice self-care and prioritize both getting all your work done along with your personal health. 

Stop Checking Your Facebook: Here's probably one of my most important tips I could possibly give to all students managing their time (especially when you are studying): get off of social media. A "constructive break" does not including refreshing your Facebook newsfeed every 5 minutes, tweeting, updating your Tumblr, snapchatting your friends, or taking a "selfie" of you "studying" and putting it on Instagram. Social media is great and there definitely is a time and place to use it but whatever you do: avoid using it as a procrastination tool. I personally love social media but I try not to let it take over my life nor all my time. 

So remember take care of yourself, your work, and your time. Learning healthy and successful time management skills is one of the most important skills you can get while at college. 

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