This article was originally written for FirstGenerationStudent.com, now a part of ImFirst.org.
Are You a Mr. or Mrs. Do-Everything?
Chances are, you’re a thriving first-generation student who, like me, has had problems with trying to do everything or, more specifically, learning not to do everything. One of the biggest problems I had when I began attending Wabash is that I wanted to do everything, from attending talks and presentations by visiting speakers and professors to writing for three publications (campus newspaper, magazine and blog), and on top of all that I was a soccer and track athlete … Whew!
Take a Deep Breath
You can’t accomplish anything you want in college by trying to do it all at once, you’ll only end up wearing yourself out and stretching yourself too thin.
A big help to me was using my Outlook account (since I have to use it anyway for college) to organize my day. Once I saw my schedule diagrammed clearly, I realized how crazy it was that I thought I could do it all.
Set Clear Goals
Being a good college student means that you have to do just that: be a good student. The problem with being involved in so many extracurricular activities was that I wasn’t able to focus enough time and energy on what’s most important, getting a good education! So, I actually scheduled times for study in my day. By blocking off two or three hours for studying in between classes, I did a better job of sitting down and getting my work done.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Choosing not to sleep in can be a great way to get ahead. Getting up early to start on homework that I had difficulty with the previous night has really helped get me focused for the day.
There are few things that feel better than completing an assignment, eating a good breakfast and even reading the morning paper, all by 8 a.m.! Learning to use my mornings well has given me a real leg up, but for me to get the most benefit I have to get to sleep the night before!!
Make Good Friends
You know the difference between the students who waste your time and the students who are good time managers. Sometimes getting better at managing your time comes down to the individuals you choose as your friends. Think about it: if your friends like to sleep in and play video games all the time, chances are, you will too! Find people who will challenge you to take your studies and your future seriously, and you will find that you’re that guy that other people want to be friends with when they are trying to make better decisions regarding their time.