While it’s probably true that you spend less time in classrooms while in college than you did in high school, the amount of time most college students devote to coursework can be double or even triple that of high school. For every hour you spend in class, you are likely to need two more to keep up with the demands laid out in your syllabus. This is especially difficult if you are working your way through school on top of your studies.
If you are starting out as a freshman or are finding the pace of college academics to be more overwhelming over time, this message today is for you. It is possible, with a little determination, to maintain the work/life balance necessary to succeed. You can hold a job and get good grades. All it takes is a little prior planning.
Managing Study and Work
There are some things you can do to improve your grades while writing essays, and still make the money you need to survive on campus. Here are a few useful tips to help you get there.
#1 – Manage Your Time Wisely
Separate your time into three categories: academic, professional, and personal. If you already have a set work schedule, you already know how much of your time needs to be allocated as professional. If you don’t, speak with your employer and see if he or she will meet you halfway and provide you with a little predictability in scheduling.
Your syllabi are your best tools for managing academic time. They outline when every assignment is due, leaving you with ample time to plan and prepare. If you map out your academic schedule early in the semester, deadlines won’t sneak up on you. Know what’s due when and have a plan in place for how you are going to get things done.
Last, but not least, is personal time. Unfortunately, this is the area that takes the biggest hit, but sometimes it’s plain necessary to skip that party in favor of your grades and your future. Learn to make mature decisions in this area now. That skill will serve you well later. All of that said, you still need to allocate some time to cut loose and enjoy time with friends. Again, it’s all about finding balance.
#2 – Adhere to A Regular Sleep Schedule
This one follows on the heels of time management, but it has its specific purpose. Sleep is vital for excellent academic and workplace performance. Try to avoid taking classes that will leave you with fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night. Eight is even better. Commit to being in bed at your determined bedtime and get up with your alarm without too much protest. If you are getting enough sleep, this shouldn’t be all that difficult.
#3 – Use Your Phone
Any study aids you have that are web-based or submitted in PDF form can be easily transferred to your phone for easy access. Utilize break time at work to quiz yourself on relevant course details and ask if you can do the same during periods of downtime at work.
Some workplaces ban the use of cell phones. You should thoroughly vet any company with which you intend to apply and determine if working for them will ultimately be a help or hindrance to your academic goals. Every minute you can manage to make money and study at the same time is time well-spent.
#4 – Seek Help When You Need It
If you are falling behind in one or more of your classes, arrange meetings with your professors to come up with a personalized success strategy. They will almost always admire your initiative and do something to help you out. There are also numerous online resources that can help with everything from sourcing material for papers to even write drafts that you can edit and change to suit the requirements of the assignment.
Keep in mind that you have more control over your time than you think you do. Taking the time to assess how your time is being spent will reveal enough about your habits to liberate a substantial amount of time for both study and work.