Balancing Act: Tips on How to Budget Your Time

Reilly Van DykeStaff Writer

Learning to manage your time is one of the most important parts of college. Between classes, clubs and spending time with friends, it can be surprising how quickly your schedule fills up.
You won’t always have time to do everything you want to; sometimes a reading assignment for class won’t get finished, or you just won’t make it to that campus event you wanted to go to. Maybe you’ll decide to stay in and study, instead of hanging out with your friends or you’ll decide to put off that essay and go to a party.
Finding a healthy balance between schoolwork and your social life can be difficult but the right way to go. By knowing how to manage your time, you can still keep your GPA up and have fun at college.
A good way to budget your time is to make a schedule at the beginning of each semester. Include your classes, club meetings, times you want to study each week and any other extracurricular or work related activities you’re involved in. You can create a chart and hang it up on your wall, write it out on a white board or keep it in a planner. Doing this allows you to see what every week is going to look like, making it easier to plan ahead and prioritize.
One of the most important parts of learning to manage college life is making sure you take care of yourself; this includes getting enough sleep every night, eating healthy, exercising and just taking time for yourself. By doing this, college won’t seem so stressful and when a problem comes up, you’ll be able to handle it.
Author and Stanford University health psychologist,  Kelly McGonigal, gave a talk at Google headquarters as part of a series of lectures in 2012. Discussing issues of willpower from a book she published, McGonigal explained how people who get seven to eight hours of sleep at night have a greater amount of willpower and tend to experience significantly less stress than those who get five to six hours of sleep a night.
Choosing to get involved on campus is a really good way to meet new people and have fun. Choose a club, organization or job on campus that interests you, is related to your major and career goals, or try something new that gets you out of your comfort zone. Picking one or two extracurricular activities is a good way to start. By doing this, you’re not overloading yourself and you will still have time for the things that really need to get done, like homework and studying. If after taking the time to get used to campus life you feel like you can handle more, maybe sign up for another club, get a job on campus or take a leadership role in an organization. With so many clubs, organizations, Greek  life and job and internship opportunities, there’s something here for everyone.
Being away from home can be a little daunting and stressful, whether you’re just starting out as a freshman or have been here for a few years. So do what works best for you and base your decisions  on what interests you and makes you happy– not what everyone else is doing. Making your own decisions, managing your time well and making an effort to get involved on campus will make your college experience fun and worthwhile.

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