How to manage your new uni schedule without losing your sanity

March 02, 2016
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University is the time for learning and growing, and part of that is managing (or mismanaging) your time. We’ve all seen those memes that tell us you can have two of three things in life:

Social life + good grades = no sleep

Sleep + social life = bad grades

Good grades + sleep = no social life

The trick to managing your time at university is knowing how to balance everything in your life as best you can. It’s not unusual to prioritise work and study - trying to get money and grades is what that student life is all about - but you’re likely to find yourself ripping out your hair and crying. Trust me, there’ll be a lot of crying if you don’t find time for a bit of rest and relaxation. Here are six things to keep in mind when working out how to manage your timetable.

What kind of student you are

So you’ve come to uni to get yourself one of those fancy degrees. But while we all end up crossing the finish line, we don’t all run the same race. You’ll work out pretty quickly what kind of student you are: whether you’ll attend every single lecture and tute, or whether you’re a little more selective about which classes you attend. Factor that into your schedule. Don’t pretend you’re going to attend a two-hour lecture if you know you won’t. Use that time for something more productive: do your readings, get some sleep, or grab a coffee with a friend.

How much you work

The next step is to schedule in your work roster. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a consistent roster that’ll make weekly planning a lot easier. If you’re on more of a casual roster, you’ll need to keep that in mind when making plans.

Don’t overcommit. Similar to your social life, it’s easy to say yes, but keep in mind that while you might need that money, you might also need that time for something else – like that whopping 60 per cent assignment.

Getting some shuteye

This one’s easy: don’t underestimate how much sleep you’ll need. Unless you’re a machine (and hey, we’re not judging) you’re going to need to catch up on the sleep you lost from that all-nighter you pulled.

Don’t forget leg day

It’s important to fit exercise into your schedule where you can. Not only is it good for you physically, but it can also help with your mental health - something to keep in mind when your workload goes from manageable to unbearable.

The best tip is to find out what time of day works best for you. Some people like to work out first thing in the morning, others prefer the dead of night. Don’t try and force yourself to wake up at 6am to go for a run if that’s just not you.

It’s OK to binge-watch an entire season of Jessica Jones

Binge-watching any kind of TV show is not exactly something you plan for. It kind of just happens when you’ve got four assignments due. Let it happen, and don’t hate yourself too much - we all do it.

Your social calendar

One of the best things about the internet is that it allows you to chitchat with anyone at any time without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Of course, the internet doesn’t really replace sitting at the pub downing a pint and burger, so it’s understandable that you want to get out of the dorm room. I mean, that’s half the reason you go to uni, right? To meet new people and get mind-bogglingly drunk with them?

Like binge-watching, certain social events are hard to plan for, because some of the best nights out are the spontaneous ones. The thing to remember is to not overdo it.

No one can tell you how to plan your life, and chances are it’s probably not something you’re going to perfect while you’re at uni. These are just some things to keep in mind when managing the tangled web that is your new university lifestyle.

Peta Short

Peta Short is currently completing a Master of Communication at RMIT University.