Auburn Family

College Students On: Balance and Time Management

When it comes to college and living on your own, time management becomes a priority in itself. Finding time for everything in a typical college student life is not always easy, but it is still possible.


As time goes by and the workload of your classes piles on, it may seem as if there are zero minutes left on the clock. So how do college students do it? How do they manage their time with all that they have to do and balance each activity so that they don’t get behind?


Here are a few Auburn students’ experiences with how they balance time in their busy, everyday lives.


“When it comes to balancing school, social life, sleep, mental health, working out, eating, etc. I find myself making an hour fit into 20 minutes. Truly, I do. I usually have about four to eight things going on simultaneously, and I just have to make the most of all of them. A good example is probably doing homework at meetings, emailing while on the bike at the gym, eating dinner while on a conference call, or even studying in the car on the way somewhere.” Do’Nyal Webb, junior, said.


It can be surprising to realize how much time there actually is when you try to use up every second and not take it for granted. It is also interesting to see how and when college students multitask when they have multiple activities going on. Just as Webb said, studying may even occur at dinner while on a conference call.


“I've also learned that I just have to set earlier deadlines for myself to stay on top of things. It's easy for me to forget, so I prefer to get it done as soon as possible and then do revisions and edits near the last minute.” Webb stated.


Learning to accommodate and adapt to different strategies for time management and balance is a lesson many students will learn throughout their college career. Setting an earlier deadline, like Webb is one tactic that will help students excel in time management.


“I recently started keeping a planner with all the events that I have planned in my life whether it’s school related, or just everyday things.  It makes it easy to keep things straight and helps me remember everything.  Also, when I wake up I plan my day while I’m feeling lazy and don't want to get out of bed yet.  I find that this helps me plan and think of things that I need to get done that day, and it lets me stay in bed a little longer while still being productive!” Matt Trushaw, sophomore, said.


Having a planner is a must-have in order to stay on track for college. It will only do more good than harm to have a planner.


“I get by in most of my classes by working super hard. I always start my day with a good podcast, scalding coffee, and sugary cereal! I try to pray when I can. I try my best every day and do all I can to put a smile on someone’s face because I know they must be going through the same thing.” Joseph Naro, sophomore, said.


Public relations professor Terri Knight stated, “Students, especially freshmen, have a hard time with time management.  Most are used to having their parents around reminding them of things they need to do and telling them to do their homework.  When they get to college they no longer have that and it can often be overwhelming.”


Now here some advice to keep in mind to help you stay on track and a peace of mind as you are going through a busy day.


Professor Knight recommends, “The first thing I would tell a student is at the beginning of each semester write down all of the commitments they have (I mean everything). Make a list of your work commitments, the number of classes, organizations and any other obligations you have for the semester. 

Then take a look at all of those and see if it is realistic for you to be able to handle all of those.   Second, if you don’t have a planner invest in one and use it.  At the beginning of each semester, put in all assignment and test dates. 

Each Sunday plan out your week by putting down what you plan on working on each day. Then highlight or mark off each completed task.  If you do something that wasn’t on your list, add it to it afterward and cross it off. I get pure joy seeing all my tasks highlighted at day’s end. If you didn’t get to something, mark it off and add it to the next day and so on.  Of course, use your phone as a backup for reminders too.”


It’s very important to make a habit of writing things down. Just a few seconds of jotting an important note down can save you more time and stress later on.


“One thing I would say to freshmen in particular as well is that it’s great to be involved, but don’t jump in the water with both feet too fast. Join one organization your first semester so you can see your time commitment before joining another. If you are a student that struggled with time management in high school then you might want to wait until after your first semester to join a sorority or fraternity both of which are huge time commitments. Just because all your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you have to. Wait until spring semester so you can maneuver through fall semester easier. Or don’t do it at all,” said Knight.


Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s better to put a lot of effort into one thing you can call your own, than to minimal effort into a bunch of things.


Finally, professor Knight stated, “If you do see yourself having a hard time keeping up then ask for help. Go to your professors early on and see how you can work to get back on track.  Ask your boss to cut your hours.  Talk to your organization about your obligations.”


Webb said, “I think the biggest piece of advice that I carry with me that helps to balance everything is that it is OK to fail, it is OK to say no, and it is OK to break!”


For every student, balancing and time management is different, but college is a big learning experience that everyone goes through in order to find their way through life. Students will struggle with time management and balance at one point in their life, but don’t forget that you need some time for yourself in order to focus better on other times.

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