University life is a good one for many students, with more independence and flexibility than they’ve had the chance to play with before, and all the tools needed for teenagers to build themselves into young adults. It does come with a downside, however: it’s just possible there’s simply too much of it. Finding time for all of the possibilities student life offers, from staging plays and playing on sports teams, getting involved with politics or simply staging elaborate parties can conflict with the necessary, if duller work your degree requires.
Today we’re having a look at how you can effectively schedule your student life to meet the demands of your tutors as well as living to the full and enjoying the full spread of experience on offer. Whether you’re living among the dreaming spires of Oxford or in the student housing Huddersfield offers, this is a skill worth picking up.
Timing is Everything
Before you can begin to schedule, you need to know how long the most important tasks take. As with creating a budget, you need to know exactly what your outgoings are.
If you’ve been a student at university for a year or more already, you probably have a reasonable idea of how long an essay takes to write, but don’t coast on this knowledge. It’s all too easy for the time an essay takes to write to balloon from sheer procrastination, or contract because you don’t factor in the time to do the necessary reading or write a plan.
Check your expectations by timing yourself over the course of a week or two. Try to avoid five minute study breaks that turn into whole afternoons: give your time and energy honestly to completing the task and you’ll have an honest assessment of how long your routine reading and writing takes that you can use.
Don’t consider everything outside your studies to be innately disposable. If you’re trying to schedule more effectively and simply dump everything you consider fun, you’ll be miserable and a potential victim of burnout.
Instead, try to quantify how much time it takes it, as with your academic work. If your student theatre group meets for two hours every Monday, factor this in.
Once you can quantify how much time all your pursuits take up, you can start to see where you can schedule more efficiently, and what needs to go to build a more balanced routine. It also gives you incentives to use for yourself: you can run your schedule so that if you complete an essay within the time you know you can without procrastinating, you get to go on to meet friends. If you don’t, you lose the carrot of fun social time, and have to endure the stick of longer hours in the library, which will soon hone better habits!