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By Amanda Ferrara, Alumna of NYU
I recently graduated from college in a big city, and trust me, balancing school work, friends and fun was certainly a challenge.
There were so many things I wanted to do, so many people I wanted to spend time with and so much school work that had to be done, but it is possible to have a balanced college life!
Here are some tips I acquired during my years at school. Follow them, and you are sure to make the most out of your collegiate years!
Take some time in the beginning of each semester to get used to your classes, the workload and what the professors expect from you. Each class you take in college will be different, so it might take you a week or two to understand how fast you can do certain assignments and how much time per week you need to spend studying and doing homework for every class. Once you get acclimated, it will be easier to plan ahead and know what your priorities will be in terms of when to start each task.
Get a Planner
A planner is your most essential tool when it comes to time management! I learned early on in college that a planner is not just for writing down when assignments are due like it was in high school. Instead, get into the habit of writing down when you are going to do everything. Write down when all of your classes are, when you want to work on certain assignments, when you will study and when you are going to socialize.
Want to set aside a fun lunch date with your roommate? You better make sure you work on your essay from 10 to 11:30 first. I also suggest leaving enough space for some personal downtime. Errands, shopping, Netflix binging … allotting personal time ahead of schedule will give you something to look forward to when you’re stressed or super busy.
Mix Friends With Schoolwork
One of my best friends in college turned out to be the best study buddy I ever had. If you find someone you not only have fun with, but who you study well with too, definitely invite them to do homework with you and cram for tests! Your study sessions will be productive yet will make studying not seem like studying at all.
Set Goals and Use Fun as Motivation
Many students use their fun time as an incentive to getting their work done. Tell yourself that you won’t be allowed to go to a party on Saturday night unless you wake up early to finish a certain amount of your homework on Friday. Once you miss a few fun nights (or have to cram all day on Sunday a few times), you’ll find yourself getting into the habit of getting your work done so you can have fun later.
If you know a fun and crazy weekend is coming up and you do not want to miss it (like Halloween, for example), work a little bit more early on in October or skip a weekend of partying to get work done early. It might be hard at first, but telling yourself that you have to miss out on one weekend to have a carefree night out the next will be worth it.
On the other hand, be flexible. Remember: This is college. If you know your capabilities and keep on top of your work, there is no reason why you should miss out on a Sunday brunch for a few hours with your friends just because you have a test the next day.
Most importantly, understand that college is about mixing all three of these things. While getting good grades is a priority for most, making friends and having great experiences should be just as important. As long as you plan ahead, get your work done and understand that sometimes you have to put your fun on hold in order to have a great time a few days later, you will definitely have an awesome and full college experience!