College is a balancing act. It is the first time that many young adults have to plan their own activities and manage their own time. Such responsibility can be daunting.
As a first year, the biggest worries are how to leave enough time to hang with friends and maybe go to a few parties while still getting all of your work done, knowing what has to be done for which classes and for when, where to write those assignments down, and planning activities and classes so that they don't overlap. The first of these four is balancing work and play. Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Well, maybe not quite. Making an educated guess about how long work for a certain class will take can be hard, especially when there's something else you'd rather be doing. The danger in this is leaving too little time to do the work, and so you lose sleep because you're in the library until it closed. The second is knowing what has to be done and for when. This ties into the third, writing down assignments, and, to a certain extent the last, planning activities, because they all can involve one thing: a planner. For me, it's nice to have a couple places where my assignments and activities are written down so that I don't accidentally forget to do my homework or promise to meet someone for dinner at the same time there's a study group, for instance. If you have one place where everything is written down and consolidated, then keeping it all straight in your head becomes a lot easier. Suddenly, you know what you have in each class right next to when jiu jitsu is and just above a note about meeting someone for breakfast the next morning. Keeping everything in one place reduces the chance of, a best, an embarrassing mishap or, at worst, a late assignment.
Some first year students adjust just fine. They quickly learn how to keep up with their courses while still having fun on the weekends and leaving time to regroup and check in with themselves. They figure out the best way to keep track of what work they have to do in which classes and when best to do it. Some don't figure this out until later.
Learning how to "adult" early in college is good because as you go up in seniority, your responsibilities increase. As you're weaned off of the meal plan, you have to remember to set aside time to go into town and buy groceries, but you also have to keep in mind how much money you have to spend every week or every month. So, if you're trying to still set the foundations of good habits as a junior, as a senior when you have a final thesis due soon, you're going to have problems balancing your time and ensuring that everything gets done, including sleep and friends. You might end up having to ask underclassmen friends to steal food from the dining hall for you because you don't have time to go into town and buy ingredients, or you might have to give up going to something you had been looking forward to either because you can't afford it or because you didn't realize you had a big paper due the next day.
But everyone figures it out at their own pace, and I just hope that I do so sooner rather than later.