College puts you on a completely different schedule. Rather than staying in one building for seven hours a day, you have your own unique schedule that could potentially fill up your entire time. During my first semester of college, I was shocked by how much free time I found myself to have. It was kind of a culture shock. But I quickly learned how to fill in my gaps and maximize my productivity.
1. Short breaks.
An hour break is not quite enough time to go back to your room and take a nap, but it's plenty of time to get some stuff done. For my short breaks, I like to get some personal things done. I make my advisement appointments, send out any important emails, stop by the bursar's office, or any other quick thing that I need to do.
If I finish my to-do list, I like to sit down and quickly review my notes or flash cards. And if you just need a minute to forget about school, you can always grab a cup of coffee and meet up with a friend.
2. Long breaks.
Some students find themselves having an 8:00 am class and a 2:30 class. If you were up studying all night, this would be the ideal time to take a nap. But I learned that hitting the gym makes me feel much more productive. Working out is an essential part to staying happy and healthy in college, and it's a lot easier to get your workout done during the day than at night!!
If you have a project due, this is also a great time to hit the library and grind it out. People are usually more productive during the day than at night.
3. Learn the bus routes.
At the very least, learn how to use your school's bus app. Sometimes your classes are on complete opposite sides of campus, so taking the bus will prevent you from wasting time walking. It can also help you sleep in an extra 10 minutes if need be. Because let's face it... those 10 minutes make a HUGE difference.
4. Utilize your Sunday's.
Sundays became my designated catch-up day in college. I honestly started looking forward to them. On Sundays, I liked to take my homework down to the laundry room and catch up on all of my assignments for the week. Not many things are happening on Sundays, so I also spent time cleaning my room.
5. Schedule smartly.
Each person likes to make their schedule differently, but personally, I like to schedule my classes back to back in the morning. This will allow you to finish your day early and leave you free to do whatever you want with it. It makes it easier for a work schedule, run errands, go to the gym, and get work done.
This can also work the other way around. If you'd rather sleep in or work in the morning, you can schedule your classes back to back in the afternoon.
Some classes are only offered at a certain time, and some classes get full, but if possible, I suggest scheduling your classes to avoid as many breaks as possible.
High school puts you in the mindset where you spend your entire day at school and then do your homework at night. In college, there are club meetings, social events, and sporting events that happen in the evening. That's why you have to learn to utilize all the time you are given in order to maximize your college experience!