College can be an exciting time in your life. You get to meet new people, experience new things and prepare yourself for the real world. However, it can also be stressful – especially if you work. Here are some tips to help you navigate the challenges and stay motivated to finish your degree.
An organized planning system can help you prepare for tests and assignments, while also setting aside time for other things. You can use a paper or digital planner. Some people are successful with a hybrid system by putting everything in their paper planner and then set reminders on their phones for important events and assignments.
It can help to set multiple reminders via email and notifications on your phone even several days in advance. When you get your syllabus, put every assignment and test in your planner so you know exactly when every assignment is due. If you are doing online learning, you may be able to look ahead at future topics and themes.
Time blocking is a method of organizing your time into blocks. In each block, you focus on one subject or set of related tasks. Spending deep, focused time on each task allows you to manage your energy well and give each task the attention it deserves.
You should also schedule sleep, working out, relaxation, and fun. Put your schedule into your planner and color in each block to represent each class, work, chores, and relaxation time. Once you have a schedule each week, you can see exactly what to do each day and have enough time to still have fun.
Instead of worrying about everything at once, thinking about resetting each day and week can help you mentally prepare for the challenges that come your way. You can spend this time evaluating your productivity and planning for the week ahead.
On Sunday, or whichever day feels like the end of the week for you, go through your planner and block the next week. Make note of any big assignments or tests and make sure you have enough time to prepare. Ask yourself what you did well that week and what you can improve for the next week.
You can also reset each evening by checking your planner so you know what your schedule will be like the next day. Set out the clothes you will need for school and work. If you are not on a meal plan, set up your coffee maker the night before and pack a healthy lunch with snacks. You could even make some overnight oats or a smoothie for a healthy breakfast that gives you a few more minutes of rest in the morning.
Surviving college while working can be a challenge. It can be difficult to balance school with work and other commitments. Make sure you provide yourself with as much support and planning as you need to give yourself enough energy to work, study, rest, and enjoy yourself.