Alexis Marchitte—Every semester is a different story when it comes to classes and your workload. My freshman year consisted of just general education classes, which to be honest felt like another year of high school. I was taking a wide range of science, history and art classes and the workload was very similar to high school. During the spring semester of my freshman year and the fall semester of my sophomore year, I started taking prerequisites for my major. They started to require more work and they eased me into the information that my major is all about. Now that I am done with my prereqs and I am into the first semester of the Athletic Training program, classes are a whole new ball game. My classes are hard and all the information is starting to intertwine with other classes and I’m starting to actually learn about what I’m going to use for the rest of my life. I love doing what I do, but this semester has been quite the shock for me, and my usual time management skills went out the drain.
I am taking 17 credits this semester, which is the average, but 2 of those credits are my clinical experience which takes up anywhere from 2-4 hours of my day M-F and sometimes Saturday. My athletic training classes are difficult and the tests cover several chapters of the textbook. I am taking chemistry as well, and science is not a strength of mine. I had all winter to prepare myself for this semester, but I was overestimating how much free time I would have. I thought I would be able to easily juggle classes, homework, studying, working at the SERC, working out, and hanging out with friends. I was wrong. I gave up working out because it takes up a few hours of my day that I don’t have. I shouldn’t have, because it helps relieve stress and it keeps me healthy. I haven’t been seeing my friends like I usually do. I, mostly, was shocked with how I decreased my working hours from 20 hours a week to 8 hours if I’m lucky. We only have 6 weeks of the semester left and I still haven’t figured out how to manage my time. Currently I have classes all day Mondays and Tuesdays; the rest of the weekdays I don’t get out of class until 6, and I’m way too exhausted to do anything besides homework before bed.
It’s important to manage your time to keep up with your work, and having everything planned out really reduces your stress. I remember freshman year I was sitting next to one of my fellow classmates when she pulled out her daily planner and she had time slots for everything. From when her classes were to when she would eat, study, work out, shower and sleep. I laughed at how ridiculous that was — how busy can one person be that they have to pencil in when they’re going to sleep? Then I got to this spring semester and I realized, me! I should be the one scheduling in when I’m going to sleep and eat. Here are several time management tips to remember before you come back to school for next semester, or as a freshman so your first semester doesn’t overwhelm you.
- Keep a daily planner
- write down your homework due dates, test dates, your work schedule, appointments, etc.
- color coordinate it!
- Sleep at least 7 hours a night
- Learn to say NO!
- sometimes you have to say no to hanging out or going out
- remember you’re here to get a degree
- Get an early start
- It sucks but if you don’t have class until 11am or later, get up early to do work or get in a morning workout!
- Give yourself a time limit to finish tasks
- Exercise and eat healthy
- you’d be surprised how energized you’ll feel and you’ll avoid sicknesses that can hold you back
- Utilize weekends
- I’ll be the first person to tell you that weekends are needed for relaxing and de-stressing, but even if it’s for a couple hours, get ahead on your work!
- Take advantage of down time between classes
- This time is usually for scrolling through Twitter and grabbing some food, but if you take just 15 minutes to make a few flashcards or study, you’ll be ahead when you do homework later!
Don’t wait until it’s too late to manage your time!