Ah, time management. The single most difficult aspect for college students to master in order to be successful. How we manage our time is a huge adjustment from high school, as our days then were practically planned for us (to some extent). Now, in college, the responsibility lies all on us. Time management in and of itself is not an easy thing to do; but what is it about time management that is so difficult? In my opinion, the difficulty of time management is summed up in a single word: prioritizing.
Personally, I always considered myself as someone who managed my time wisely. However, prioritizing is an aspect of time management that I never truly experienced to the extent that I do as a college student. Exams, papers, homework, and other assignments all overlap in the course of the week, and their due dates lie eerily close to one another. Often, when assignments are given, I try to stay on top of them all at once. This seems feasible, until suddenly your head spins with the amount of work that lies ahead of you.
This is why prioritizing is essential. You cannot possibly accomplish everything all at once to the best of your abilities. If there are two exams within a few days of each other, for example, it is unwise to study both at the same time and cram the same amount of material from both subjects. Instead, prioritize the material - focus on the content for the closest exam first, and once that exam passes, all your attention can be turned to the next subject. Trust yourself and your abilities, and try not to be stressed out - it will only make things worse!
Prioritizing doesn't only come into play with studying for exams - it's an important aspect of time management throughout our day-to-day activities as well. Between classes, clubs, sports, and other hobbies and activities, it can be difficult to balance everything. It's obviously essential to focus on your academic success - however, in devoting all of our time to studying, we forget the importance of our other interests, and we begin to wear out. It's just as important to prioritize our interests as well as our academics.
In prioritizing, what really is sought is a balance of everything we need to accomplish and everything we like to do. For me, this means to not only focus on my academic success, of course, however also to once again make my other passions a part of my priorities. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take the time to do what I love - such as playing guitar and piano. I prioritize music, which in turn does not hurt my academics or other areas of my life because it is more of a benefit; it helps me to de-stress and enjoy myself, which in turn should make workload more manageable and elevate my personal well being.
In all honestly, I'm obviously no expert - I'm still perfecting my time management skills every day. What I really find most important about the act of prioritizing, is its ability to make life easier. Knowing where your priorities lie is not only important in academics, or in scheduling clubs; it's essential in being able to make the decisions that will make you the most happy. It's not easy - nothing in college (or in life) is - but in practicing it you will hopefully find that things can become easier and therefore make you happier. It's all a part of the experience in college, and I hope it can help you in some way and in some aspect of your college life, as I hope it can in my own.