This is something everyone will tell you, and you’ll think you have it down: how you’re going to spend your time… you look at your class schedule like I did and think, “Wow, I have a lot of time off,” but you’ll learn after about two weeks, you really don’t. I’m not just talking about studying, although that will take up a lot of your time. They say in college 20% of learning is done in class, the other 80% is done on your own. And although that sounds like a long time spent studying, it’s not all that will eat up your schedule.
Depending on how outgoing you are, you’ve probably considered sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities at your future college. If not, you probably will, after seeing all your college offers. I had planned to join a single club my first year, but I made the mistake of going to the extracurricular fair my college holds. That day I signed up for a dozen other clubs and teams. Obviously I had no time for all these, but I was optimistic that I could somehow make it work. Needless to say, I couldn’t. Typically you’ll end up keeping one or two of those activities and the rest will haunt you until the year’s end (just kidding). However, if you want to keep just those few activities, time management is key.
First semester I made a schedule detailing how I was going to spend every hour outside of class, it included how long I was going to spend studying and when I had activities I wanted to go to. I thought I was set, but after classes set in, I realized it was going to be more complicated than I had anticipated. Within the first week I realized I couldn’t follow this routine everyday or I would wipe myself out. I learned I had to take college a week at a time; take into account everything I needed to accomplish that week and schedule time each day towards those things (homework assignments, upcoming tests, projects, etc.). After falling into this rhythm I could then schedule clubs, social events, and most importantly, rest, around my schoolwork.
I can tell you, this is definitely the way to go. I didn’t fall into this rhythm until second semester; so first semester was a nightmare as I tried to do everything with a superhuman ability I didn’t possess. First, I suggest figure out what you’re capable of handling (this usually varies by week) and then prioritize, always prioritize. College is great but it is hard work and I really think the ones who are most successful learn how to prioritize their time. The nice thing is that they are your goals and you are in charge. So work hard but enjoy it too. Good Luck New Graduates!
About Michelle: Michelle just finished her freshman year at Clemson University in South Carolina. She grew up in Glenview and is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in Computer Science. She is also on the Clemson Formula SAE team and plans to later get her masters in Automotive Engineering.