by Molly Scott
Even though we’re already more than a week into classes, many Barnard students are probably not in their “groove” yet and are striving to get back to a routine. A lot of students are also worried about their time management skills since most of us are heavily involved in organizations on campus and in the community. Because our brains may still be in summer mode, I’ve compiled some ideas for how to get back into Barnard mode and get this year off to a great start.
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Create a strategy. It’s really difficult to go from having no schoolwork to having a workload of five classes to deal with. My advice is to start off slowly and plan wisely. Don’t procrastinate (I know it’s hard) and leave six hours of reading for the night before it’s due. Break up the reading into sections and read it over a period of time. You’ll absorb the information better this way too. It’s also important to take a breather and think about what you really have to do for each class before you dive right in and do it. This will save you from unnecessary busy work and help you get the important work done sooner and faster.
Invest in a planner. Once your class schedule is ironed out, it’s a good idea to write down what will be due for each class per week (readings, papers, exams, etc.), your commitments to clubs and activities, and other responsibilities. This will help organize your week and visually see what needs to happen and when. Writing all this down will give you a sense of control over your time and will help you to be more productive with it.
Take breaks. Since we’re all just getting the hang of things again, give yourself breaks while studying, reading, and writing papers. This will keep your brain from becoming overloaded and will help you do well on whatever you’re working on. Having a cup of tea or coffee, listening to music while browsing Facebook, or watching a clip on YouTube are all good ways to take short breaks from studying. This rule doesn’t just apply for getting back into the swing of things, either. Taking breaks throughout the semester is vital for your academic success and mental well-being.
Don’t be afraid to say no. Barnard students are really great about getting involved while also taking challenging and interesting classes. It’s important, though, to know when enough is enough and to realize what you as an individual can reasonably handle. Don’t worry about offending people if you say no to signing up for that fifth club at the activities fair or telling your supervisor that you can’t work extra hours on Fridays. Think about what you can realistically manage while still doing well in school, without going insane.
Molly is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.
Image courtesy of Garage Sale Academy.