Now that syllabus week has passed, your professors are ready to make it rain… in assignments. And due dates. And discussion boards. The struggle is now very real. As a college student, you have a huge responsibility. You are out here on your own, navigating the boundaries of a term called "time management."
Have you heard of it? It can do you wonders. As you sink deeper into the semester it is so essential to figure out your balance of school, work, friends, and all other involvements by yourself.
As the semester drags on, you will find yourself deciding if a class is more important than sleeping a few more hours because of that hungover or it's raining. Or seeing that an assignment worth fewer points won't totally bring your grade down, so you just don't do it because what is the harm in losing x amount of points?
Or maybe if you should skip your night class because all your friends are hitting happy hour. You know someone in class so if you miss something they can fill you in, right?
These situations make it so easy for a student to decide that school can go to the back burner. If you find yourself making these choices, I hope your conscious sends out a red flag, because it is a very slippery slope. You miss one class and face no consequences, so you think why not miss a few more?
Until eventually, you are only showing up on test/quiz days, averaging a C+, and realizing you'll need 130% on the next test to pull it back together. Yet, the FOMO (fear of missing out) always seems to override the fear of going down a letter grade.
As a student who personally experienced the downfall of failing to manage school, I am here to tell you to get over yourself. You think you can make it all work out by the end of the semester and you can't. You think you have the power to pick and choose what you want to complete and still pass, and you don't.
You WILL NOT succeed if you make the decisions that your social life and sleep schedule trump coursework. I put school on the back burner and it ended up adding an extra year to the whole college process.
It took me a while to realize that all I needed was a little more organization and a lot more self-discipline. Being mature enough to say, "Sorry friends, I can't join you tonight I need to get this done."
Being smart enough to think ahead and see that if you finish this now then later you can have more time for that. Actually showing up to class even when it's raining because it's just a ridiculously idiotic an excuse for missing.
Stop rationalizing with yourself that you just need a C or better. Stop waiting until 11:00 p.m. Sunday night to work on your assignment due at midnight. Stop telling yourself 10 points doesn't really matter. Stop deciding a party is better than going to night class. Get a calendar and fill in long-term due dates for the entire semester.
Get a planner and make sure each week you have mapped out when and where you will be and what will be getting done. Get a whiteboard and fill it up with reminders.
If getting yourself organized with school stresses you out majorly, good. It damn well should and it shows your passion. Addressing that stress head on and making use of planning and time management from the very get-go is the key to getting and keeping your s**** together for the semester.
If you've read through this and you're thinking "This girl must just suck. I can still do what I want and be successful." Maybe you're right. But just in case you aren't as invincible as you feel, here are some tips for being successful in school and maintaining a social life:
Can't give up the late night partying? Fine. Then don't schedule any morning classes that you know you won't go to.
Don't want to give up going to happy hour or college night specials? Okay, then don't sign up for a night class.
Can't keep track of online classes and assignments? Well, common sense would say only sign up for seated courses then.
Keep forgetting about little assignments? USE A PLANNER. Every Sunday map out your week. Plan ahead. Have a visual reminder of what you still need to be done.
Be straightforward with your professors. Stop sending them bullcrap lies and excuses about why you weren't in class and own up to your mistakes. You don't have to tell them you skipped class because you wanted to sleep, but you can apologize for being absent and ask for missed notes. Show them you can be a little responsible.
When it reaches the end of the semester and you're desperately emailing your professor to round up just a measly 0.02 points, they're going to think back to how you've acted throughout their course. Trust me when I say if you've sent them any type of nonsense excuse throughout the semester, you won't be getting any benefit of the doubt.
College is an amazing experience, but don't ruin it for yourself. You are not invincible, just like everyone else your s*** can hit the fan too. You are not a genius, despite what your parents or high school teachers made you think. Most importantly, you are not missed by a party you didn't get to go to. Sorry not sorry, it is the truth. Do your work. Go to class. Participate in discussions. Study for the test. Don't cost yourself a couple extra thousand dollars in student loans just because you want to have a good time.