Work, College, and Life: How to Do it All and Stay Sane!

About this article
Effective time management skills are particularly important for college students, whose life is filled with work, classes, study sessions and more. This article provides tips for balancing everything without completely losing your mind!
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You know the drill. You head straight from class to a five-hour shift working in a local restaurant or store. You get home and shower with just enough time to study for tomorrow's huge history exam, when your roommate swings by to invite you to what's sure to be the best party of the year. You're in a bind. You need sleep, but it's so tempting.

College is a balancing act. It provides students with the opportunity to learn in academic, professional and social realms. Maybe you need to pick up extra shifts to pay for school or you're taking an extra large course load this semester or quarter. Maybe your friendships are just as important to you and you really don't want to blow off your friends. You can, however, make sure that you are spending your time as best you can under the given circumstances. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Write everything down in a planner

Assignments, work schedules and parties - everything. You don't want to bomb your Calc quiz because you forgot, do you?

2. Set priorities

Most students attend college to improve their career or earning potential down the line. Others, however, go for the whole social college student experience. Don't live in the now - set up a five year plan. Once you know where you want to go, it's easier to decide what you have to do now to make that happen. Knowing you'll improve your chances of becoming the doctor or engineer you always wanted to be may be more important than the so-called 'Party of the Year.'

3. All work and no play

Whatever cheesy cliche works best for you, the message is the same. Too much of anything is never good. Schedule some personal time into your planner. Catch up on sleep, read a book or visit your family. Even a few short hours a week can make a tremendous impact on your overall disposition and will make buckling down during crucial social or academic periods much easier.

4. Be organized

Remember that planner from step one? You can only benefit from it if you know where it is. And if school is your priority, studying will be near impossible if you lose your textbooks. Keep everything organized - your room, your car, your book bag...everything.

5. Be healthy

Eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly can relieve much of the stress your hectic schedule causes. It also prevents you from getting sick, and most students will tell you that missing a few classes or work shifts due to illness can be difficult to recover from. Take care of yourself, no matter how busy you are.

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