Managing your time is one of the key parts of college

One universal truth about college is that you’re provided with a multitude of options for what to do with your time.

You have to choose how you want to divide it up between school, work, leisure, campus involvement and other activities.

In the past, my biggest problem has always been overcommitment mixed with poor time management skills. I always want to be involved and doing as much as I can, but sometimes my grades can suffer for it.

This semester I have three jobs, I am going to class full time, and I am the president of a student organization. If ever there was a semester that I might have overcommitted, it could be this one.

However, I started making some changes in how I divided up my time.

One of the first articles I wrote for this paper was about how to properly budget your money, and while that is certainly is an important skill for college students to learn, students should also learn how to budget their time.

Time is a finite resource, just like money. But if you are wasteful with your money, you can always get more. You can never get more time, once you spend it; it’s gone, and you can’t get more.

When I talked about controlling how you spend your money, I said you need to prioritize what you need versus what you want. The same thing is true for choosing how you spend your time.

You need to prioritize which things deserve more of your precious time.

School should be on the top of that list (a lesson I had to learn the hard way). School is the entire reason you are at this campus in the first place, yet if the only time you give it is the time to go to the classes you are missing out.

And yes some people even skip class. I certainly have been guilty of this, despite knowing exactly why it’s a terrible idea.

In college you pay (or somebody pays for you) a truly outrageous amount of money to go here and take these classes. To pay all that money and not go to them or not put in the time necessary to do well in them, is the equivalent of going to fancy restaurant buying the most expensive item on the menu and then immediately throwing it on the floor.

It’s not enough to just say that school is your top priority. Your actions must reflect it. You must make a plan and set goals, once again just like a monetary budget.

I know it’s not easy sometimes. Maybe you think the class is boring, maybe you accidentally overcommitted and now your obligations are overlapping, maybe you just overslept.

But making school the priority is the first step to actually succeeding in college.

In my article on budgeting I also mentioned how it was important to budget for more leisurely things, and the same is true for your time. You cannot simply work all the time. You need to be able to relax, recharge, and reorganize yourself. Whatever it is you do for fun, whether it’s watching tv, being outdoors, or reading, it’s important that you make time for that as well.

In my article on budgeting I said that it is important to learn how to say no to yourself when it comes to buying things you don’t need, however, it is also important to say no to other people when they request more of your time then you have to offer.

For example, I always used to be that guy who would always take someone’s shift if they asked. I just always wanted to help people out. But it was only once I started learning how to say no to people every once in a while that I was actually able to find time for myself.

Time management isn’t easy for some people and I am one of those people. Yet, even if you struggle with this, you can still set goals and improve.

I am by no means perfect with time management, it’s a learning process. Sometimes, I know the right to do since it’s obvious, yet I just don’t do it.

If you have a habit of consistently poorly managing your time, it’s not something that can be magically fixed overnight.

But it is something that can be worked on and can be improved. It’s hard work, but once you make it through an extremely productive day, it will all be worth it.

Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].